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work of art; ufc fight night belfast nov 19 Lobov: We've done the graft, now to land the victories.

Byline: peter carroll

ARTEM LOBOV says sparring with Conor McGregor has set him up perfectly for his November 19 clash with Japanese knockout artist Teruto Ishihara in Belfast.

Lobov, McGregor's chief training partner, is also adamant 'The Notorious' will get the job done this weekend and become the UFC's first double-weight world champion at New York's Madison Square Garden when he faces Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight championship.

Lobov said: "I know the work has been done. Conor and I have been sparring a lot for this camp.

"The kinds of opponents we are matched with made it perfect.

"The guy I'm fighting is a southpaw and the guy Conor (below) is fighting is my height and he's orthodox. It couldn't have been better."

Ishihara has a reputation for heavy hands, but Lobov is confident he will have too much for the Team Alpha Male fighter in two week's time.

He said: "I can see he's a natural counter puncher, but it seems pretty clear to me that he's only learning the craft at the moment.

"He's a young guy, he doesn't really know about a lot of things that I have experienced during my career.

"I think that's something that I can use to my advantage in Belfast.

"He's never been put under pressure, especially not the pressure the Siberian Express is going to put on him."

Although Lobov has spent 15 years living in Dublin, he underlined why he feels that Belfast will be hometown fight for him.

He said: "I definitely feel like it's a hometown fight. The thing is, when Dublin guys meet people from Cork, up North, Galway or whatever, there is always some slagging, that's part of the fun.

"If an outsider comes over and tries to take on anyone from any other county, we all become one.

You know, this is Ireland and you don't f**k with us, that's how I feel the fans will act in Belfast."

Lobov is hoping that fighting on home soil will provide him with a similar launchpad that was enjoyed by Paddy Holohan, Cathal Pendred and Neil Seery in 2014, and Aisling Daly in 2015.

He admitted: "The Ultimate Fighter has allowed a lot of people to get to know me, but I still think it's a huge honour for me to fight at home. I'm expecting huge support.

"I'm expecting the crowd to be loud. I can't wait to experience that because I got a feel for it when I cornered Conor in Dublin."

tough as old boots 'Siberian Express' Artem Lobov says he will prove his mettle in Belfast

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 8, 2016
Words:435
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