Artem Lobov, who was originally scheduled to face Zubaira Tukhugov later this month at UFC Moncton, may have a new opponent in Michael Johnson. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani announced the pending matchup on Sunday, but noted that Johnson had not yet signed the bout agreement.
Tukhugov was removed from the bout for his involvement in the post-fight brawl at UFC 229, where he was captured on camera entering the Octagon and attacking McGregor. Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White stated in the immediate aftermath of the brawl that any UFC roster fighters who were found to have entered the Octagon would be cut.
The UFC’s action spurred Tukhugov’s teammate, Khabib Nurmagomedov, to threaten to walk out on his UFC contract, pointing out the apparent double standard of the UFC’s lenient stance on McGregor and Lobov when the Irishman attacked the bus Nurmagomedov was on back in April ahead of his fight at UFC 223.
Johnson broke a three-fight losing streak in August when he beat Andre Fili via split decision. “The Menace” will certainly provide a stern test for Lobov, as he has victories over three current top-10 lightweights including Dustin Poirier and Edson Barboza and is the only fighter to have beaten Tony Ferguson inside the Octagon.
Lobov has lost two straight, most recently a unanimous decision to Fili back in October 2017. “The Greatest of All-Time” had been scheduled to face Alex Caceres at UFC 223 in April, but that fight was pulled due to Lobov’s involvement in the bus attack.
Lobov versus Johnson will be the co-main event in Moncton on Oct.27 as part of UFC Fight Night 138 which will be headlined by light heavyweight contenders Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith.