Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Al Iaquinta Set as New Main Event at UFC 223

The UFC has inked a late replacement main event as Khabib Nurmagomedov will now face Al Iaquina in a five round main event in Brooklyn

The UFC has managed to pull together a last minute main event for UFC 223

Top ranked contender Khabib Nurmagomedov will now face off with Al Iaquinta in a five round bout on Saturday night in Brooklyn with the lightweight title on the line for one of the fighters.

Because Iaquinta came in at 155.2 pounds, he will not be eligible to win the title should he be victorious in the main event fight. Nurmagomedov would be able to win the lightweight title if he gets past Iaquinta in this new bout that will headline the UFC card in Brooklyn.

It’s been a tumultuous few days for the UFC after Tony Ferguson suffered an unfortunate injury in the days leading up to the card and he was ruled out of the main event.

Featherweight champion Max Holloway was then called into save the day but he was later ruled out of the fight due to concerns from the New York State Athletic Commission over the severity of his weight cut.

A deal was nearly struck to put former champion Anthony Pettis in the main event, but apparently the two sides could not come to an agreement. As for Paul Felder, who was Iaquinta’s original opponent on Saturday, he was deemed ineligible by the commission because he isn’t currently ranked as a top 15 fighter by the UFC.

As bizarre as it sounds, that’s how everything unfolded leading up to the new main event that will see Iaquinta take on Nurmagomedov at UFC 223.

Iaquinta is riding a five fight win streak going into the main event, although he has been at odds with the UFC quite a bit over the past couple of years regarding fighter pay and sanctions levied against him by the promotion.

Still it appears the two sides were able to come to an agreement and now Iaquinta is expected to square off with Nurmagomedov in a five round main event fight at UFC 223.


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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.