Many have questioned how Artem Lobov can still be a part of the UFC roster despite his 2-5 record in the promotion.
With his only non-exhibition UFC wins coming against Teruto Ishihara and Chris Avila, Lobov’s latest defeat to Michael Johnson would have spelled the end of many a fighter’s UFC tenure.
But while his close proximity to the influential Conor McGregor is certainly a factor in remaining a UFC fighter, his fan-friendly style is something that has always enthused matchmakers and even UFC president Dana White.
Also in his favour is a willingness to fight anyone at anytime, the latest example of which was seen on Twitter today.
UFC 231 takes place in just over a week’s time, and dangerous featherweight Renato Moicano has had to contend with his opponent, Mirsad Bektic, withdrawing due to injury. His response was to make himself available as an alternate for the main event, which sees 145lb. champion Max Holloway defend his belt against Brian Ortega.
Having lost just last month, the SBG product is now willing to fight, on short notice, a man who has seen off the likes of Jeremy Stephens and Cub Swanson in recent outings.
Los Angeles – It’s been a decade since Valentina Shevchenko got ready to fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but she hasn’t forgotten their history.
Ten years ago, they were competitors trying to win the same kickboxing title. And in the small world of professional muay Thai, they kept running into each other.
Three consecutive years, Shevchenko and Jedrzejczyk faced each other in the IMFA (International Federation of Muaythai Amateur) tournament in Thailand. The second time, in 2007, they trained at the same gym for two months and then drew each other in a lottery to determine quarterfinal matchups.
They were never enemies, Shevchenko said, and they never sparred against each other in the gym. They were about as friendly as two competitors fighting for the same goal can be.
Shevchenko fought her way to the top of the women’s bantamweight class, losing a bitter decision to current champ Amanda Nunes. Jedrzejczyk dominated the strawweight division before a pair of setbacks to champ Rose Namajunas. They’ve made their names as mixed martial artists.
But as much as they’ve grown, Shevchenko said, the fact is that she’s come out ahead every time they’ve met.
“She can say that it’s not affecting her, but yes, it’s affecting her,” Shevchenko said. “Fighters can say whatever, but what they are feeling inside, it’s totally different.
“Of course, it was years ago, and she improved as a fighter, same as me. I’m a mixed martial arts fighter. But at the end of the day, all experience will help. And experience I got from that fight, it will help me to win this fight.”
Jedrzejczyk might be more motivated to prove herself by conquering those demons, but Shevchenko said a different ruleset hasn’t changed the way she approaches her opponents.
“I don’t have to have an extra motivation,” Shevchenko said. “By myself, I have so much motivation to fight. Not just it’s just my obsession with the idea of getting the belt. I’m a mixed martial artist. To fight and show the best part of me, it’s my nature.
“I’m not just there just for participation, to show, hello fans, I’m here. For me, (I want the best) performance I can, and of course, the victory is most important to me.”
And that’s why Shevchenko promises history will repeat itself in their fourth meeting.