Tukhugov (18-4) is a teammate of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He was involved in the postfight skirmish involving Conor McGregor at UFC 229 on Oct. 6 in Las Vegas. Lobov (13-14-1), McGregor's teammate, was not involved in the latest incident, but was with McGregor during an infamous bus attack in April in Brooklyn.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission is in the process of filing formal complaints regarding the Las Vegas matter, which is why Tukhugov has been removed from the upcoming event.
"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," the UFC said in a news release.
Shortly after UFC 229, Tukhugov posted a video to social media saying he slapped McGregor in the cage "as promised," according to a translation by BloodyElbow.com.
Nurmagomedov, of Dagestan, has warned the UFC that if it cut Tukhugov for his role in the UFC 229 postfight melee, he intends to leave the promotion. The UFC has not taken any hard stance on the status of Tukhugov's contract. However, UFC president Dana White told TMZ on Tuesday the promotion and Nurmagomedov are "good."
Johnson (18-13) is coming off a split-decision win against Andre Fili in August. The 145-pound contest is scheduled to serve as the co-main event inside Moncton Events Centre.