After a whirl wind of a day, the UFC have finally confirmed that Al Iaquinta will face Khabib Nurmagomedov, replacing Max Holloway in the main event at UFC 223 taking place this weekend at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn.
UFC 223 first got into trouble when Nurmagomedov’s original opponent Tony Ferguson tripped and injured himself when on set for a media obligation. He was then replaced by UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway who took the fight on six days notice. The card then lost three fights when Conor McGregor stormed into the UFC 223 media day and attacked a bus full of fighters in retaliation to an incident that happened between Khabib Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s team mate Artem Lobov. Artem Lobov was removed from the card due to his involvement in the incident leaving his opponent Alex Caceres without a fight. Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg were also both removed from the card due to sustained injuries from glass that smashed during the bus attack.
Max Holloway was then deemed medically unfit to compete by the Athletic commission due to his weight cut leaving the main event and whole event in jeopardy. Anthony Pettis and Paul Felder were two names in discussion to step in to replace Holloway but the decision was made to go ahead with Al Iaquinta who was originally due to face Michael Chiesa.
The main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Al Iaquinta will be five rounds. Khabib Nurmagomedov will be eligible to win the UFC lightweight title with a win this Saturday however according to the Athletic commission, Al Iaquinta will not as he did not make championship weight and weighed in at 155.2lbs. But UFC President Dana White said during the 25th Anniversary press conference that if Al Iaquinta does win then he will be the champion and they will find away around the situation.
The event will continue with nine bouts.
Picture courtesy of the UFC.