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UFC's Artem Lobov gives details on fellow Russian fighter's assassination attempt

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Karim Zidan spoke to Artem Lobov, who explained how an argument about Khabib vs. McGregor led to a fellow Russian fighter’s assault.

On New Year’s Eve, renowned Russian MMA fighter Rasul Mirzaev was assaulted in his home by three unknown assailants who proceeded to shoot, batter and strangle him prior to fleeing the scene of the crime. While the fighter survived the attack and has since been hospitalized, new details have emerged on one of the attackers, as well as the reasons why they pursued Mirzaev, the latter of which involves UFC fighter Artem Lobov.

According to reports from MK’s Alexey Safonov, who spoke to members of Mirzaev’s family as well as his manager Kamil Gadzhiev, the incident began in December shortly after Lobov visited Moscow to attend the Fight Nights 57 tournament. Fellow UFC fighter Ali Bagautinov, who was the recipient of Lobov’s hospitality in Belfast the previous month, wanted to repay the favor by showing the fighter a good time while he was in Russia.

Following a late meal at a restaurant, Bagautinov, Lobov and Mirzaev proceeded towards the ‘Garage’ nightclub where their group expanded significantly. According to the report, drunk Dagestanis aware of Lobov’s friendship with Conor McGregor approached him and began to complain about the Irishman’s lack of interest in a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov. While the discussion died down relatively quickly, a fight broke out between Mirzaev and the Dagestanis who confronted Lobov. While security eventually intervened, the wheels had already been set in motion. Within a matter of days, Mirzaev was beaten within an inch of his life in his own apartment.

Shortly following the attack, Mirzaev was rushed to hospital, where he underwent surgery to remove the bullets from his body. He was declared in stable condition thereafter and remains in hospital. Leaked video footage also confirmed that the assailants robbed Mirzaev’s apartment and stole jewelry and cash before fleeing the premise.

BloodyElbow reached out to Lobov, who updated his initial statement by email:

“On 16th of December Rasul [Mirzaev] and Ali [Bagautinov] took me and Peter to a night club in Moscow. There I was approached by a few Dagestani males, they were quite friendly towards me and just wanted to say that they respect the fact that I support Conor as we came up together, despite the fact that Khabib is Russian. While we were talking, one of Rasul’s friends and one of the Dagestani males started to get verbally aggressive with each other (not really sure what the reason was), however nothing really happened there as myself and Rasul very quickly stopped the incident from escalating and we all got on with our night. As far as I was concerned nothing else happened and I didn’t even pay much attention to this incident as it was very minor and that is why I gave you my initial statement.

However I was later informed that at some point later that night Rasul was going to the bathroom and one of those Dagestani males punched him in the back of the head, Rasul started defending himself but everything was broken up by security. When I asked why no one said anything to me about this, I was told that the guys wanted me to enjoy our night and didnt say anything as anyway it wasnt that serious. This is what led to the attack on Rasul at the end of the year.”

According to reports, one of the assailants involved in the attack has since been identified as Kamil Allahverdiyev from Dagestan. Mirzaev identified the suspect himself by pointing at his picture while in hospital.

This is far from Mirzaev’s first nightclub incident. Back in 2011, the MMA fighter got into a fight outside the Garage nightclub and struck 19-year-old student Ivan Agafonov with a single blow that killed him. Mirzaev was convicted for manslaughter after the court officially recognized that Agafonov died several days later in the hospital due to concussion caused by the base of his neck hitting the pavement immediately following the blow. He was released in2012 after serving 15 months in detention.