Al Iaquinta steps in to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 on short notice
The main event for UFC 223 has been finalized and New York’s own native son, Al Iaquinta, will step in on less than a day’s notice to face off with Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title.
A last-minute replacement was required after NYSAC officials ruled that Max Holloway was medically ineligible to compete after a grueling weight cut.
Holloway himself took the bout on six days’ notice after Interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson was pulled from the fight after suffering a severe injury doing promotional duties for the event.
Iaquinta is not eligible to claim the lightweight title with a victory, but Nurmagomedov will become the undisputed champion if he goes on to claim the victory.
Conor McGregor will be stripped of his championship as soon as the bell rings in Saturday’s main event after his involvement in an altercation at the UFC media day event Thursday at the Barclay’s Center.
Anthony Pettis was offered the fight with Nurmagomedov, but the UFC balked when he demanded a higher purse to take the fight.
The UFC then turned to another lightweight competing on the card, Paul Felder, but NYSAC officials would not allow that fight because Felder was not ranked in the top 15 of the UFC’s rankings.
Iaquinta (13-3-1) is coming into the fight on a five-fight winning streak and was originally supposed to face off against Felder.
Both Pettis and Felder will not be competing on the card after all and will have replacement bouts booked soon according to UFC officials.
McGregor was awaiting sentencing at a local courthouse after turning himself in to authorities for his role in the Barclay’s melee.
Iaquinta is not eligible to win the championship because he weighed over the 155-pound limit at Friday morning’s weigh-in.
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