Artem Lobov is planning to drop down to bantamweight when he makes his long-awaited and eagerly anticipated return to MMA.

‘The Russian Hammer’ hasn’t competed in the sport since suffering a unanimous decision defeat to Michael Johnson at featherweight in October 2018.

Since then, the 35-year-old has been making a name for himself in bare-knuckle boxing. Lobov has enjoyed an incredible two-fight series with Jason Knight and also picked up a win over former world champion boxer, Paulie Malignaggi.

On Saturday, he’ll drop down to his lowest ever weight (140lbs) to take on the Olympic silver medallist and undefeated boxing prospect, Denys Berinchyk (15-0) in bare-knuckle on Mathach FC’s pay-per-view event.

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In an interview with LowKickMMA, Lobov spoke about his preparations for the bout and what lies ahead on fight week.

“Everything’s going according to plan, you know, the training is already finished now it’s about making weight,” Lobov said. “This fight is at 64 kilos, 140lbs, which is my first fight at this weight. Everything is going well now, and I look forward to the fight now.

Despite the fact he is yet to make 140lbs, Lobov seemed extremely confident that he could drop even more weight for his MMA return, claiming he will be competing at bantamweight.

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“I feel comfortable enough to say that I think after this one, there is a place for me at 135. Definitely in MMA. If it’s boxing or a striking match I don’t mind the weight difference as much, but in MMA, I feel that 135 would be the way to go from me. I look forward to see how guys feel to me at that weight,” Lobov said.  

“Obviously, wrestling has always been my downfall and, you know, size difference plays the biggest part when you’re wrestling somebody. So, to me, anytime I spar 135’ers in the gym, you know, when it comes to wrestling, they just bounce off of me. So, I look forward to having a few fights at that weight and see what happens.”

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Do you think Artem Lobov would be successful at bantamweight in MMA?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.