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Al Iaquinta

31-Year-Old     UFC     Lightweight     13-3-1

STATUS:  Out   INJURY:  Undisclosed    EST. RETURN:  8/1/2018
Birthdate:  April 30, 1987     Height:   5'9    

July 2, 2018    Al Iaquinta News

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RotoWire Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta said that he withdrew from his upcoming fight against Justin Gaethje in August due to an injury, Aaron Bronsteter of TSN Sports reports.

Iaquinta added that he was feeling rushed to get back into shape and his injuries just weren't going away. The 31-year-old previously informed the UFC that he would be dropping out of the fight but didn't disclose the reasoning. In his place, James Vick will be taking on Gaethje.

Al Iaquinta: Past News Updates   ( ▲ View most recent update )

Iaquinta is dropping out of his fight with Justin Gaethje due to undisclosed reasons, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta and Gaethje were set to square off in the main event on August 25, however Iaquinta has informed the UFC that he will no longer be fighting on that card. The UFC is currently searching for a replacement for Gaethje. It's unsure when Iaquinta will fight next with the circumstances behind his absence unknown at the time.
Iaquinta told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that he has one fight remaining on his UFC contract following his upcoming bout against Justin Gaethje.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta has been one of the more outspoken fighters with respect to his contract situation, but gained some bargaining power by accepting a fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov on just a day's notice at UFC 223. Though the undefeated Nurmagomedov was a bit too much for him to handle, Iaquinta remains an in-demand fighter that the fans want to see, especially against an opponent as electrifying as Gaethje. Iaquinta acknowledged that he's now been given a small pay raise, and that one fight has been dropped from his much-discussed UFC contract. What he chooses to do after his final two fights is anyone's guess.
Iaquinta will take on Justin Gaethje in a lightweight matchup in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card in Lincoln, Nebraska on Aug. 25, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta took lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov five rounds in a title fight back in April after accepting the bout on short notice -- a feat that shouldn't be taken lightly. Though he absorbed 134 significant strikes and was taken down six times, that is hardly reflective of the fighter Iaquinta has been throughout his career. The Serra-Longo product had won his previous five fights dating back to 2014, sports a positive striking differential (even after the Khabib fight) and defends takedowns at a rate of 77 percent. Iaquinta may not have the pure athleticism to throw the type of volume Gaethje will come at him with, but he's the smarter, veteran fighter. This one projects as an incredibly close matchup.
Iaquinta lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-43, 50-43) at UFC 223 on Saturday in New York City.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta took this fight on short notice. He struggled throughout the contest, but in some ways he exceeded expectations. After the first two rounds, he defended multiple takedowns and made the final bell. However, he ended up getting outlanded on the feet against a fighter known mostly for his wrestling. Iaquinta did the UFC a favor, and he will be around for a long time. This fight did not do very much to change his status with the company.
UFC President Dana White confirmed in an interview following Friday's live weigh-in that Iaquinta can win the UFC Lightweight Championship if he defeats Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 on Saturday.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta, a last-minute replacement for Max Holloway, weighed in at 155.2 pounds Friday, which is 0.2 pounds above the limit in title fights. However, after determining the underwear he was wearing weighed exactly 0.2 pounds, Iaquinta will be allowed to fight for the belt after all. In the eyes of the New York State Athletic Commission, Iaquinta would not be champion in that scenario, but the UFC has the final say in the belts the promotion hands out. At the very least, this adds some additional intrigue to Saturday's bout, as the No. 11-ranked lightweight could be crowned champion if he pulls off the dramatic upset.
Iaquinta will now face Khabib Nurmagomedov in a five-round main event at UFC 223 on Saturday in Brooklyn, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta had originally been scheduled to face Paul Felder on the pay-per-view portion of the card, but will be called upon on short notice for the main event matchup. Iaquinta weighed in at 155.2 pounds for his original matchup, missing the lightweight title maximum by 0.2 pounds, so he will not be fighting for the belt. Nonetheless, he'll get a big pay day and the opportunity to fight for glory as a massive underdog in front of his hometown crowd.
In advance of his upcoming matchup against Paul Felder on April 7, Iaquinta has been given a new, four-fight contract with the UFC, ESPN's Brett Okamoto reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta has been vocally opposed to what he perceived as an unfair deal in his prior UFC contract, and apparently had been willing to walk away from the sport before fighting again at that level of pay. Rarely, if ever, does a fighter get to restructure a deal with just two fights in their current contract, but "Ragin' Al" achieved just that, and it could lead to other fighters attempting to follow suit. Few have the leverage of Iaquinta, however, who has won five consecutive fights despite dealing with injuries for much of the last two years. Now healthy, Iaquinta will look to begin a new ascent up the ladders of the deep lightweight division. His first roadblock will be the 32-year-old Felder, who is riding a three-fight winning streak of his own.
Iaquinta (knee) will fight Paul Felder on April 7 at UFC 223, Peter Carroll of MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta was originally supposed to do battle with Felder at UFC 218, but wasn't able to recover from PCL and MCL injuries in time for the fight. The New York native has a 13-3-1 career record, and it'll be intriguing to see if Iaquinta's injuries will slow him down against Felder, as he looks to extend his win streak to six fights.
Iaquinta (knee) will no longer face Paul Felder at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 due to an injury, Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta suffered a torn PCL and sprained MCL back in September, and while he was hoping to be ready in time for his upcoming lightweight bout, it appears that won't be the case as he's still working his way back to full strength. Felder is expected to stay on the card, though a replacement hasn't been announced yet. Charles Oliveira appears to be the frontrunner to take Iaquinta's spot.
Iaquinta (knee) verbally agreed to fight Paul Felder at UFC 218 on Dec. 2, Dave Doyle of MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta is on the mend from a torn PCL and sprained MCL in his left knee, but he will enter the octagon on Dec. 2 nonetheless. He's set to square off against a worthy opponent in Paul Felder, who has won two straight fights via decision and holds an overall record of 14-3.
Iaquinta told Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com last week that he's recovering from a torn PCL and sprained MCL in his left knee and is attempting to forego surgery.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta previously tore up his right knee two years ago, but it's the other knee that's presenting problems this time around. The lightweight fighter said that he hopes the knee will heal through physical therapy and allow him to resume fighting in a few months, but acknowledged that he would be willing to reenter the cage at less than 100 percent if it meant getting a chance to face rival Kajan Johnson. That may have just been posturing on Iaquinta's part, but it's clear the 30-year-old intends to fight again despite the prospect of rehabbing from another major knee injury. Iaquinta is riding a five-match winning streak, with his latest victory coming in April against Diego Sanchez, who he knocked out in the first round.
Iaquinta defeated Diego Sanchez via KO (punches) at 1:38 of Round 1 at UFC 108 in Nashville on Saturday.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta did a good job of navigating his way through Sanchez's power shots early before timing a counter with his right hand that put the 35-year-old down. Sanchez tried to continue, but quickly ate another counter shot, which sent him to the canvas for the final time. A knee injury and a contract dispute kept Iaquinta away from the cage for more than two years, but he showed the UFC his worth by dominating a tough opponent. Iaquinta is now riding a five-fight winning streak, having notched four stoppages over that span. Despite a step in the right direction, Iaquinta remains vocally upset about his current UFC pay, as well as the promotion's decision to not award him a post-fight bonus, so it remains to be seen if or when Raging Al will set foot into the octagon once again.
Iaquinta will face Diego Sanchez at a UFC Fight Night event in Nashville on April 22.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta spent nearly a year-and-a-half on the shelf due to a knee injury, and had verbally agreed to a return fight at UFC 205 against Thiago Alves. Competing in his native New York should have had plenty of appeal, but after taking a closer look at the bout agreement, he decided that his compensation was not sufficient. He has been highly vocal about his displeasure with his current UFC contract, but nonetheless agreed to take this bout. Iaquinta should draw plenty of viewers for this fight, as Sanchez has strong name recognition, mostly due to his grit, determination and long tenure with the promotion. Although Sanchez is on the tail end of his career, Iaquinta's layoff of nearly two years will make this fight incredibly difficult to predict.
Iaquinta (knee) will return to the Octagon to face Thiago Alves at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 in New York, Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta hasn't had a UFC fight since April of 2015, as he's had bouts against Bobby Green, Gilbert Melendez and Beneil Dariush cancelled. The latter two were due to knee problems, and Iaquinta eventually elected to have surgery last November to address the issue. That surgery came with a 6-to-8 month timetable, putting him right in line to fight in front of a home crowd at Madison Square Garden. Prior to the injury, Iaquinta had accumulated four quality wins, defeating the likes of Jorge Masvidal, Joe Lauzon, Ross Pearson and Rodrigo Damm. Any momentum built during that stretch has likely faded, however, as it will be a year-and-a-half out of the octagon when he enters the cage. His opponent has been dealing with an undisclosed injury of his own, as Alves hasn't fought since a loss to Carlos Condit in May of 2015, which should negate the rust factor when analyzing this bout.
Iaquinta will have knee surgery that will force him out of action for 6-8 months, according to Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta originally wanted to avoid surgery, and had hopes of fighting Beneil Dariush in January. Those plans will be put on hold, however, as the 28-year-old will hope to correct the nagging ailment moving forward. Iaquinta will risk losing the momentum he's built up in the lightweight division, as he's won four straight fights in the UFC, three of which have been by knockout.
Iaquinta (knee) does not need surgery and is hoping to fight Beneil Dariush in January, MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani reports.

Fantasy Analysis

It was reported early last month that Iaquinta needed surgery, but that apparently won't be the case. According to Helwani's report, Dariush is also interested in the potential matchup. It makes sense rankings wise and it wouldn't be a shock to see the fight agreed upon in the coming weeks.
Iaquinta will need surgery on his right knee, according to Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta was originally scheduled to face Gilbert Melendez at UFC Fight Night on July 15, but after Melendez was suspended for a failed drug test, he decided not to fight and to instead correct a knee issue. According to his doctor, Iaquinta has very little cartilage left in the knee, so the procedure was likely overdue. He'll likely be on the shelf for several months.
With his scheduled fight against Gilbert Melendez cancelled, Iaquinta has decided not to fight at UFC Fight Night on July 15 in San Diego and get a knee issue fixed instead, MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani reports.

Fantasy Analysis

The UFC was trying to find Iaquinta a new opponent, but he decided against fighting and he will instead have a previous knee injury fixed. No word yet on how long Iaquinta will be sidelined with the injury. Considering he was planning on fighting next week, it can't be too serious.
Iaquinta will no longer face Gilbert Melendez at UFC Fight Night on July 15 in San Diego due to Melendez being suspended for a failed drug test, UFC.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

The UFC is hoping to keep Iaquinta on the card and they are currently searching for a potential replacement. Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com spoke with Iaquinta shortly after the news broke, and to no one's surprise, "Raging Al" wasn't particularly happy with the news. Iaquinta was originally due to face Bobby Green in San Diego, but he was forced to drop out due to an injury. Melendez had agreed to replace Green on short notice.
Iaquinta will now face Gilbert Melendez at UFC Fight Night on July 15 in San Diego, MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Iaquinta mentioned Melendez as a possible replacement for the injured Bobby Green and he got his wish. It will be by far the biggest challenge of his career. Iaquinta, who has won four in a row and seven of eight, is coming off a split decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in April.
Iaquinta's bout against Bobby Green at UFC Fight Night on July 15 has been scrapped due to Green suffering an undisclosed injury, MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

There's no word yet if Iaquinta will remain on the card against a different opponent. When reached for comment, "Raging Al" suggested Gilbert Melendez, Dustin Poirier or Efrain Escudero as possible replacements. It remains to be seen if any of those guys would be willing to take the fight on less than a month's notice.