The UFC’s first visit to the Canadian province of New Brunswick has a new fight for the co-main event.
Because Zubaira Tukhugov (18-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is under investigation for his part in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl between teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov’s camp and Conor McGregor’s team, he officially is out of a planned featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night 138 against Artem Lobov (13-14-1 MMA, 2-4 UFC). Stepping in for Tukhugov will be Michael Johnson (18-13 MMA, 10-9 UFC).
UFC officials announced the new booking today; ESPN.com‘s Ariel Helwani first made mention of the proposed matchup earlier this week.
The UFC issued a statement about the decision to replace Tukhugov, as well: “Featherweight athlete Michael Johnson will be replacing Zubaira Tukhugov in the scheduled bout against Artem Lobov at UFC Fight Night: Volkan vs. Smith, due to an ongoing investigation by the Nevada Athletic Commission.”
UFC Fight Night 138 takes place next Saturday, Oct. 27, at SMG Moncton in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
Johnson got back in the win column in August after a three-fight skid and losses in five of six fights. He took a split decision from Andre Fili in Nebraska. Over the course of his rough run, his only other win was a bonus-winning knockout of Dustin Poirier in September 2016 in his first UFC main event. The win over Fili was his first at featherweight after moving down from lightweight.
Johnson’s losses have been against some of the best competition in the UFC, including Nate Diaz, Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje at lightweight and Darren Elkins at featherweight.
Lobov a training partner of McGregor at SBG Ireland in Dublin, is coming off a two-fight losing skid and was supposed to fight at UFC 223 in April before he was pulled for being involved in the infamous incident in which McGregor attacked a bus that contained Nurmagomedov. The booking against Tukhugov once again was going to pit Team McGregor against Team Nurmagomedov.
Tukhugov was supposed to return to competition after more than two years. He had a nine-fight winning steak snapped at UFC 198 in May 2016 and hasn’t fought since due to a suspension for a failed drug test. After UFC 229’s brawl, UFC President Dana White said Tukhugov would be kicked out of the UFC for his role. Nurmagomedov countered and said if his teammate is fired, he’ll go with him.
With the change, UFC Fight Night 138 now includes:
MAIN CARD (FS1, 10 p.m. ET)
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Anthony Smith
Michael Johnson vs. Artem Lobov
Misha Cirkunov vs. Patrick Cummins
Jonathan Martinez vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Ed Herman vs. Gian Villante
Alex Garcia vs. Court McGeev
PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)
Sean Strickland vs. Nordine Taleb
Thibault Gouti vs. Nasrat Haqparast
Chris Fishgold vs. Calvin Kattar
Talita Bernardo vs. Sarah Moras
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m.)
Te Edwards vs. Don Madge
Arjan Bhullar vs. Marcelo Golm
Jessin Ayari vs. Stevie Ray
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Michael Johnson in for Zubaira Tukhugov, meets Artem Lobov at UFC Moncton