Conor McGregor wasn’t hard to find during SBG Ireland teammate Artem Lobov’s bout at UFC Fight Night 118 on Saturday, but his presence might have actually been more beneficial to Lobov’s opponent.
While McGregor paced back-and-forth around the Octagon yelling out instructions to his training partner, Andre Fili earned a unanimous verdict over Lobov in their featherweight bout. According to the Team Alpha Male product, McGregor only served to fuel his fire.
“I feed off the kind of stuff that happened tonight. I saw Conor in the crowd and I got 10 times more excited. He was getting all hyped up, and I got even more hyped up. I feed off that. I love confrontation,” Fili said. “The only thing better than beating Artem right now is beating Artem and seeing McGregor right there talking s—t.”
Fili’s victory was highlighted by a head kick knockdown in the first frame and four takedowns in the third round, as he swept the scorecards by identical 30-27 counts despite a game effort from Lobov.
“I knew he was a tough opponent, and I knew I was probably going to drop him,” Fili said. “I wanted to keep hitting him. I wanted to finish the fight when he was on the ground but I kind of expected that he was going to pop back up at some point.”
Meanwhile, referee Marc Goddard restored order to proceedings when he ordered an animated McGregor to move away from the Octagon. Lobov already had three cornermen for the bout, and the UFC lightweight champion was not one of them. In the end, though, Fili said he has no ill will toward the SBG Ireland camp.
“It’s all respect though, you know. After the fight I shook Artem’s hand, I shook his corners’ hands and I gave McGregor my respect. It’s all professional. The whole point of this is to put on a show and I think we did that tonight.”