Although last night the focus was in Brooklyn for UFC 208, there was breaking news announced during the card for one of New York’s fan favorites. Serra Longo’s Al Iaquinta will make his return to the octagon at UFC Fight Night Swanson vs. Lobov. The fight will take place April 22nd Live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Tennessee. Iaquinta will take on veteran and Ultimate Fighter Season 1 alumni Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez.
To see one of UFC’s top Lightweight contenders, in the prime of his career on the side line for almost two years is an absolute shame. It’s also something new UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby will look to correct. Shelby went to Twitter last night posting a picture with Iaquinta along side coaches Matt Serra and Ray Longo. “Look for Al Iaquinta soon in an octagon near you.” Continue Reading
Back in July the UFC sold for an astronomical 4 billion dollars. Yet despite that, and with the new Reebok sponsorship deal in place, fighters aren’t seeing changes financially. One of those fighters happens to be ranked 13th in the lightweight division. Al Iaquinta has taken a stand, one that may help other martial artists fighting for the promotion put things into perspective. That these athletes putting their bodies on the line through training, and on fight night, are not being properly compensated or represented.
Today, Iaquinta made his decision well known. He would currently remain off the UFC 205 card in a contract dispute. UFC 205 is the first in New York, at the Worlds most Famous Arena Madison Square Garden. A card that just about every New York fighter is scratching and clawing to become a part of. For Iaquinta it’s become much more. It’s become making a long term life decision, and a moral decision. Over fighting in an arena he’s dreamt about fighting in since entering the sport. With the current deal in place if Iaquinta were to lose the fight, it would be “like fighting at MSG for free” He explained. Continue Reading
On Monday, Al Iaquinta under went successful knee surgery to repair the damaged cartilage in his knee. After a stem cell and plasma injection didn’t prove to be as effective as hoped for, doctors as well as Iaquinta thought this would be the best course of action. With rehab starting next week Iaquinta will look to make his return mid summer.
Looking back to April all of this seemed to be an after thought. Although the knee issue lingered Iaquinta was on a tear through the light weight division. Raging Al recorded knock out victories over Rodrigo Damm, Ross Pearson, and Joe Lauzon respectfully, as well as a split decision victory over Jorge Masvidal. Al looked to make it five in a row against veteran light weight Gilbert Melendez. Once Melendez tested positive for testosterone metabolites, Iaquinta opted to take care of the injury and get back to 100%.
“I’m feeling good man” Iaquinta commented last night. “They said everything wen’t well, I’ll start physical therapy next week.” A return for Iaquinta can’t come soon enough. He went on to say, “I’m just relieved it’s done with. One step closer to getting back in there.”
Iaquinta has gained a reputation for not only being quite the competitor, but even more respected for his work ethic. It’s that same work ethic that will get him back in the octagon in no time. Expect an even stronger Iaquinta to come back in 2016 and continue to make a statement in the light weight division. Continue to check here for updates, interviews, and much more.
It appears fight fans and Iaquinta Nation may get to see Al Iaquinta back in the octagon sooner than expected. After a second opinion on his injured knee, the 155 pound stand out will avoid going under the knife to fix the damaged cartilage. Instead Iaquinta will undergo stem cell injections and plasma therapy. This will keep Iaquinta out for a significantly shorter amount of time, lining him up for a return at the new year. Continue Reading
Tonight I had planned to post a preview to what had the makings to be an incredible fight between Al Iaquinta and Gilbert Melendez. Unfortunately news broke late this afternoon that that exciting light weight bout wasn’t going to happen. Gilbert Melendez has tested positive for testosterone metabolites, present from an outside source. Melendez failed a urine test following his UFC 188 loss to Eddie Alvarez. The light weight has come clean admitting to his use of a banned substance, apologizing to fans and the UFC today. Melendez will be suspended for one year. Continue Reading
A lot can change in 24 hours. Yesterday it was announced that Al Iaquinta’s opponent Bobby Green would be forced to pull out of the July 15th fight in San Diego. Just a day later Iaquinta has a new opponent in Gilbert Melendez. Melendez will step back into the octagon after a quick turn around, coming off a loss to Eddie Alvarez this past weekend.
Fight fans were looking forward to the match up between Green and Iaquinta after several words had been exchanged between both fighters. For now that will have to be put on hold as Iaquinta will refocus for Gilbert Melendez. Another solid match up for the Serra Longo based fighter. The gritty Melendez is currently ranked 5th in the lightweight division where Iaquinta is respectfully ranked 13th. A win here would undoubtedly move Iaquinta into the top 10 in the division.
Iaquinta is riding a four fight win streak most recently defeating Jorge Masvidal via split decision. Leading up to that fight Iaquinta scored knock out wins over Rodrigo Damm, Ross Pearson and Joe Lauzon. Melendez only has a handful of fights in the UFC but has recorded victories over Diego Sanchez, Josh Thomson, Clay Guida, and Iaquinta’s last opponent Jorge Masvidal in Strikeforce where most of his bouts took place. Interestedly enough he’s fought and lost to both former UFC Lightweight champions Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis.
UFC Fight Night 71 will take place on July 15th Live from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Iaquinta and Melendez will be the Co Main Event which will be headlined by Frank Mir vs. Todd Duffee.