After Artem Lobov was left without an opponent due to Zubaira Tukhugov’s role in the UFC 229 brawl, Michael Johnson has been reported as the frontrunner to fill-in at UFC Moncton.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani first reported the change to the UFC Moncton co-main event.
While Artem Lobov pushed for Zubaira Tukhugov to stay on the card to not allow the Russian to “escape his punishment,” the UFC does not seem interested in keeping Tukhugov in the promotion, let alone the card. Michael Johnson will have two weeks to cut down to featherweight for just the third time in a row.
Michael Johnson is 1-1 at featherweight since moving down a weight class. “The Menace” lost to Darren Elkins in his 145-pound debut despite having Elkins on the ropes for the majority of the first round. Johnson won last time out, but it was a controversial split decision over Andre Fili back in August. The former Ultimate Fighter competitor was 9-8 at lightweight in the Octagon, moving down after falling to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
Artem Lobov has a less than stellar 13-14 career record and is 2-4 in the Octagon. However, he is incredibly close with Conor McGregor, giving him a free pass to stay in the world’s biggest promotion. A pair of consecutive (and impressive) victories led to Lobov getting higher-profile bouts with Cub Swanson and Andre Fili, both of which he lost. “The Russian Hammer” was scheduled to fight Alex Caceres earlier this year, but his involvement in the McGregor bus incident removed him from the card.
UFC Moncton will take place on October 27 in New Brunswick, Canada, inside the Avenir Centre. The main event features Volkan Oezdemir taking on Anthony Smith for a top spot in the light heavyweight division. Misha Cirkunov will also be looking for his first victory since returning to the Octagon last year when he takes on Patrick Cummins.