After dropping a disappointing decision loss to UFC newcomer Calvin Kattar this past July, rising featherweight contender Andre Fili is hoping to get back on track tomorrow (Sat., Oct. 21, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 118 live on Fight Pass from inside Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, when he takes on proven brawler Artem Lobov.
It’s an extremely important contest for “Touchy,” who has failed to win back-to-back fights since entering the promotion back in 2013. In order to regain momentum at 145 pounds, Fili will have to get past the hard-hitting Lobov.
“He doesn’t have the best record, but he’s fought some of the best guys in the world,” Fili said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting.
“I think most of the people who talk about him not deserving to be in the UFC are guys who have never been in a cage and have fought for a living.
“This is no disrespect to fans, but it’s hard for me to take things into consideration when the people that are saying he doesn’t deserve to be in there have never fought before.”
Lobov, 31, has compiled a record of 2-3 since making his Octagon debut nearly two years ago, including a Fight of the Night performance opposite veteran Cub Swanson. Even though many fight fans believe “Russian Hammer” is in UFC because he trains alongside promotional superstar Conor McGregor, Fili doesn’t share the same outlook.
“Most people wouldn’t get locked in a cage with a guy that wants to hurt them, knowing that their only option is to hurt him first,” Fili continued. “People can go live their whole lives avoiding a situation like that.
“For me, if you’ve never been in a situation like that, you have no right to tell someone whether a fighter is deserving of it or not when it’s what they do for a living every day.”
Based on Lobov’s efforts against Swanson this past April, he most certainly belongs in UFC. The Straight Blast Gym brawler has likely received more of a push than most up-and-coming prospects due to his close relationship with McGregor, and UFC president Dana White for that matter, but he’s as game as any fighter at 145 pounds.
Needless to say, “Russian Hammer” is a menace inside of the Octagon and a guy more than capable of defeating Fili this weekend in Poland. That’s why “Touchy” has to approach their featherweight matchup with caution and block out the haters.
“Fighting brings out the best and worst in people,” Fili explained. “I feel it brings the best out of the people that actually fight and it can bring the worst out in some people who watch the fights.
“The Internet is a f*ckin’ crazy place.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 118 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. ET, followed by the main card start time of 3 p.m. ET, also on Fight Pass.