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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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Lobov to face Michael Johnson after Khabib's team-mate is pulled over Nevada investigation
The Dubliner has a new opponent for UFC Moncton.

Teruto Ishihara in action with Artem Lobov Presseye / Matt Mackey/INPHO Dublin-based featherweight Artem Lobov returns action on 27 October. Presseye / Matt Mackey/INPHO / Matt Mackey/INPHO

ARTEM LOBOV WILL be fighting next weekend at UFC Fight Night 138, but the Straight Blast Gym featherweight has officially been given a new opponent.

Lobov (13-14-1) will share the octagon with former Ultimate Fighter runner-up Michael Johnson (18-13) on Saturday week in Moncton, Canada. The fight will serve as the co-main event on a card that will be headlined by the meeting of Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith.

Zubaira Tukhugov was originally scheduled to be Lobov’s opponent. However, the UFC have confirmed that Tukhugov has been removed from the booking as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

It relates to the brawl that marred Khabib Nurmagomedov’s recent victory over Conor McGregor in Las Vegas. In the midst of the chaos, footage appeared to show Tukhugov — a team-mate of Nurmagomedov’s — climbing into the octagon before striking McGregor.

Tukhugov later took to social media to boast about the incident. He said: “I slapped him [McGregor] as promised. I promised to make him answer for his words and I did.”

The controversy has now cost Tukhugov his first fight since May 2016. The 27-year-old Chechen recently completed a two-year suspension which was handed down by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after he tested positive for the banned substance ostarine.

MMA 2016 - UFC 205 - New York Jason Silva Michael Johnson (right) on the attack against Khabib Nurmagomedov in their November 2016 bout. Jason Silva

Nurmagomedov threatened to quit the UFC if Tukhugov was subjected to punishment for his involvement in the post-fight mayhem at UFC 229. However, Dana White, the organisation’s president, played down that prospect this week.

Lobov, a training partner of Conor McGregor’s at SBG in Dublin, will be fighting for the seventh time under the UFC banner. He’ll seek to avoid a third consecutive loss.

After back-to-back lightweight defeats to current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje, Johnson made his featherweight debut in January but suffered a second-round submission defeat to Darren Elkins.

He rebounded in August with a split-decision victory over Andre Fili. Lobov’s most recent outing — in October of last year — was also against Fili, but the Russian-born 32-year-old came up short on the scorecards.

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Johnson has recorded several significant victories during his time with the UFC, overcoming the likes of Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza and leading lightweight contender Tony Ferguson since making his debut in 2010.

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