Al Iaquinta Set For New UFC 223 Main Event Opposite Khabib Nurmagomedov

Posted April 07, 2018

Ironically, Iaquinta was the only fighter at media day Thursday to not have a sign with his name on it provided by the UFC.

CBS Sports will be live in Brooklyn, New York, all week bring you everything you need to know ahead of the fight as well as during the action and after everything wraps up at Barclays Center. After that, there was talk of a fight against former Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis, but according to Khabib, Pettis wanted a million dollars for the fight.

In the fall of 2016, Nurmagomedov accepted an opportunity to meet Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title at UFC 205, but the UFC brass wasn't convinced that the fight would draw big pay-per-view numbers and later chose to replace the Russian with Conor McGregor. He has been replaced by American Al Iaquinta.

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The episode also offers firsthand glimpses into the collateral damage caused to other fighters on the UFC 223 card and UFC staff members.

By the time Russia's Nurmagomedov and Iaquinta face off across the Octagon in Brooklyn, 511 days will have passed since McGregor won the title from Eddie Alvarez across the bridge at the Madison Square Garden in Manhattan in November 2016. And now thanks to his underwear weight, he'll be fighting for a UFC title.

"Next week I'm going to go home and figure out how this whole thing plays out", he added. Nurmagomedov was originally slated to face the promotion's interim champion, Tony Ferguson, but Ferguson was forced out due to injury during fight week.

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With his ability to smother opponents with his powerful wrestling, Nurmagomedov is now the promotion's rising star, but Iaquinta is an excellent grappler and will provide a tough test.

As Iaquinta came in slightly over the weight, only Nurmagomedov can win the belt.

In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas puts her strawweight title on the line against the woman she took the belt from, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

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