When Michael Johnson fights, you know what you’re going to get: A fighter who will live and die with how well he can implement his game plan of darting in, landing combos in close, and getting out of the way.
Artem Lobov, meanwhile, might not have the best won/loss record in the sport of MMA, but the fighter best known as Conor McGregor’s buddy has proven plenty tough and durable.
Those two factors played out in the veteran Johnson’s favor on Saturday night at UFC Moncton, as he did his thing against an opponent who was able to stand there and take everything his opponent could hand out.
Johnson took the catchweight (147 pounds) co-feature bout at Avenir Centre in New Brunswick via unanimous decision, getting a pair of 29-28s and a 30-27.
“He trains day in and day out with one of the best lightweight/featherweights in the world,” Johnson said after his second consecutive victory. “He’s very tough, I’m glad he accepted the fight.”
It was a rinse-and-repeat performance for 15 minutes by Johnson, who dictated the tempo from the outset. Lobov got in his fair share of shots over the course of the bout, but he simply couldn’t match his foe’s technical ability and speed. In case there was any doubt left in about which Johnson won by one round on two cards, a takedown late in the third round sealed things.
Lobov was initially scheduled to fight Chechnya’s Zubaira Tukhugov, but the latter was pulled from the fight due to his role in the Khabib Nurmagomedov post-fight brawl in Las Vegas following his bout against Conor McGregor. Johnson took the bout on short notice, and after he missed weight on Friday, Lobov, in appreciation for Johnson accepting the fight, promised to return Johnson’s fine of 20 percent of his purse.
“Yeah it’s been a crazy long week,” Johnson (19-13) said. “I had 30 pounds to cut, I came as close as I could.”
Lobov (13-15-1, 1 NC) lost his third straight bout. Twelve of his 15 career losses are via decision.