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25 Jul, 2021 11:48

Bloodied Russian MMA star Lobov set to retire after brutal bare-knuckle loss to Ukrainian in scrap surrounded by sandbags (VIDEO)

Bloodied Russian MMA star Lobov set to retire after brutal bare-knuckle loss to Ukrainian in scrap surrounded by sandbags (VIDEO)

Conor McGregor training partner and ex-UFC star Artem Lobov admitted that he does not have "fire in the heart" after losing his latest bare-knuckle bout, falling to Denys Berinchyk in a scrap caged by sandbags on a card in Kiev.

Notoriously durable Lobov survived two standing counts in the Mahatch FC brawl, when he bravely took on unbeaten professional boxer, 2012 Olympic Games light-heavyweight silver medalist and former World University Boxing Championships king Berinchyk, ending with his face covered in blood.

Following a third successive defeat of his two-and-a-half year UFC spell in 2018, Lobov had earned wins over Paulie Malignaggi and Jason Knight in a bare-knuckle career that was as entertaining as his 30-fight MMA campaign.

The 34-year-old yet again showed his willingness to take on the toughest of opponents in Berinchyk, and had been backed by McGregor ahead of the showdown.

"I knew that Denys is a high-class fighter," 'The Russian Hammer' acknowledged after the scrap was called off between the fourth and fifth rounds.

"So I wanted to fight him. Why go out [against who] knows who? If I go out, then I try against the strongest and aim for the stars. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll be close to the moon.

"Congratulations, Denys – it was a great honor for me to perform here. Most likely, I will [retire]. There is no fire in the heart that there used to be.

"I just went out here to see how and what [I was capable of]. Thanks to everyone – and, especially, to my team. "

WBO International lightweight title holder Berinchyk praised Lobov and said his first fight in the discipline had been positive. "Thank you for agreeing to fight an undefeated boxer," he said.

"Respect to my opponent. My debut was a success. I liked to fight with [bare] fists. I think this is not the end, but only the beginning."

Berinchyk was not Lobov's only admirer in what may have been his final fight. "Artem, you made a lot of fans proud as always," said one supporter on social media.

"Even in times of a loss, Artem never disappoints the fans. There's not one boring Artem Lobov fight – they don't exist.

"You made your fans proud last night and you're never afraid of a good fight, no matter the opponent."

Also on rt.com UFC’s McGregor sups whiskey with pop star Bieber in the sun as he backs Russian training partner Artem Lobov in bare-knuckle bout