When Artem Lobov heard that his former opponent Saul Rogers had become a member of SBG Manchester’s ranks, he thought he would never get a chance to avenge one of the losses on his record.
It just so happened that their stints on The Ultimate Fighter would gift ‘The Russian Hammer’ with a unique opportunity to rematch his former foe as both he and Rogers made their way to the finale of the tournament. However, three weeks out from their December 11 date, Lobov would find out that jiu-jitsu supremo Ryan Hall would be stepping in to take the Englishman’s place.
The SBG Ireland fighter explained why he is adamant that the TUF Finale was the only way he and Rogers “could ever be matched.”
“I found out about three weeks before the fight, but to be honest, the change of opponent really didn’t matter,” explained the TUF finalist. “I really did want that fight with Saul because that was the only way we could have been matched. This was the finale, they just didn’t match us up to fight out of the blue, we both came through the tournament and made it to the final.
“Saul trains in SBG Manchester and I obviously train at SBG Ireland, so it would be difficult to arrange that fight outside of those circumstances. At SBG, we rarely fight our teammates. Really, that was the only way I could’ve got a rematch with him.
“I was really looking forward to it because it had been so many years since we had fought, and to be honest, as soon as he joined SBG Manchester I said goodbye the idea of us fighting again. It felt like it was destiny for us to actually have that rematch based on how well we both did in the house.
“I was disappointed with it in that sense, but then again, what can you do? He has some visa issues and he couldn’t be there. I really hope he gets it sorted and he gets into the UFC. He definitely deserves it, he is a very good fighter.”
Like Lobov alluded to, he has no personal issues with Rogers at all. In fact, the Dubliner claimed that he and his stable mate got on “really well” during their time in the house. Lobov once again highlighted his disappointment that they didn’t get to meet again and he also explained how he believes that his finale fight with Hall was so bad that it was historic.
He said: “I really got on well with Saul in the house. We all had some great craic in there, but Saul was probably one of the guys that I got on with really well with. Obviously, we had fought before and I’ve known him for a long time as a member of the SBG team. Saul is a real fighter, I’m sure he would have had no problem with facing me. We would have put on a good show and it’s a shame that it didn’t happen.
“Another thing that was a shame was making history for being in the most boring finale of The Ultimate Fighter ever. Honestly, it was the most boring fight I have ever seen. I think some people thought I was in a gay porn movie or something. I just had a guy riding my back for 15 minutes.
“There was only one good thing about that whole experience and that was the one girl who came up to me after the fight and asked, ‘can you do to me what Ryan Hall did to you?’”
Lobov told SevereMMA.com that he has already had some positive talks with top brass with regard to his UFC future. Considering his next potential promotional outing, ‘The Russian Hammer’ insisted a fight on the upcoming London card be “absolutely amazing.”
“The London show for my full UFC debut would be absolutely amazing, I’d love to get a chance to fight in London again. I probably took one of the biggest wins of my career over there. My old fight name ‘The Prospect Killer’ was born in that city when I beat Dave Hill.
“I have fought many, many times all over England so I think it would be good. Another good thing is that it won’t be too far for the Irish fans to travel. I think that there would be some great support for me if I was on that card.
“I definitely would like to be on that card. I was looking at the card today and there are a lot of featherweight and lightweight matches on it already, so even if I’m not on the card I will certainly be staying in shape and I’ll be ready to jump in at the last minute like I have done many times before.”
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