There’s been a change to the upcoming UFC Moncton card in the wake of the Khabib Nurmagomedov camp vs. Conor McGregor camp melee at UFC 229, and I’ll give my thoughts on the switcheroo in today’s MMA odds and ends.
Michael Johnson vs. Artem Lobov, UFC Fight Night 138
A featherweight bout between Michael Johnson and Artem Lobov will take place at UFC Fight Night 138, which is set for Saturday, October 27 at Moncton Events Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Ariel Helwani of ESPN broke the news. Johnson is of course filling in on very short notice for Zubaira Tukhugov, who was removed from the card after his sucker punch on McGregor after UFC 229.
Johnson (18-3) dropped down to 145lbs after back-to-back losses to Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor but did not fare well in his debut at featherweight as he was choked out by Darren Elkins. But he bounced back nicely with a split decision win over Andre Fili in his last fight. Johnson has an overall 10-9 record in the UFC but he has fought a high level of competition and even has key wins in the lightweight division over Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier. The cut to 145lbs on short notice is something to keep in mind for Johnson, but he wouldn’t have taken this short-notice fight if he wasn’t confident he could make weight. Lobov (13-14-1, 1 NC) is just 2-4 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back decision losses to Cub Swanson and the aforementioned Fili. Lobov has shown he is a tough fighter as he hasn’t been knocked out in seven years but he has not shown he is anything more than a gatekeeper in the UFC and some have suggested he’s only in the UFC due to his affiliation to McGregor.
Even with the short notice it’s hard not to really like Johnson in this fight. This is a fight that is likely to take place primairly in the standup, and on the feet there’s no question Johnson is the faster, more puncher puncher with the more varied attack. Lobov has a good chin and can hang in the pocket with the best of them, but I see him eating a lot of punches in this one. I just think Johnson is the better athlete and I believe he wins this fight, either by decision or TKO. I’m expecting Johnson to be the favorite in this one, though I’m remaining optimistic we get a good line on him.
Speaking of UFC Moncton odds, the main card outs are out already at the online sportsbooks so take a look at them and try to get some studying in before the event next Saturday. The main event of the card is an exciting light heavyweight bout between Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith which could prove to be an important fight in the 205lbs division. This is the only other UFC card of the month other than UFC 229, but get ready for November as we’ll have five cards to look forward to.