In life we all set goals for ourselves. We set them high, work hard, and do everything in our power to be successful. Sometimes that success comes with great sacrifice. It may mean a dramatic change in your life. It could mean taking time away from friends, family, and loved ones to work on accomplishing those goals. Unfortunately sometimes life can be tough and you can get thrown a curveball. Sometimes as hard as you work things just don’t always go according to plan. It’s frustrating, it’s unfair, and sometimes it’s heart breaking. What we all have to remember is achieving a goal isn’t always easy. We all get knocked down sometimes. The most important thing is getting back up, and continuing to embark on that journey, following your heart, and continuing to strive to accomplish all those goals. Yes, Friday night Al Iaquinta got knocked down, but believe me when I tell you he’ll be right back up, working even harder. Al Iaquinta isn’t going anywhere, he’s going to be in this business for a long time.
Iaquinta’s run on this season of TUF Live was an impressive one. He was tested before entering the house against Jon Tuck, battled through a tough three round fight against Myles Jury, and beat two equally tough opponents in Andy Ogle and Vinc Pichel. Those fights earned him $50,000 in awards for best fight against Jury, and best knock out against Andy Ogle. The awards don’t do Iaquinta any justice in describing how impressive his hard work and success has been throughout this season. Day after day Iaquinta was the hardest working fighter on the show. In fights he was constantly tested, and each time he continued to come out on top. It was impossible to not be impressed with the heart and determination that Al displayed each week. Unfortunately in his third fight in three weeks(something tough to ask of any fighter) Iaquinta came up just a bit short.
Iaquinta looked sharp early on. He looked smooth on his feet, and was able to tag Chiesa with a few big shots early. Al was able to catch Chiesa’s leg, but as the two fought for position Chiesa used his size advantage and was able to take Al’s back and sink both his hooks in. Iaquinta fought off any choke attempt from Chiesa, but found himself in a difficult spot. Chiesa was able to sink his arm under Al’s chin and lock in a choke. Al did his best to fight Chiesa off, a hard task to ask from anyone in that position. Before he could, Chiesa choked Al out, who with his never quit attitude never tapped. A tough loss to swallow, but something that could have happened to any fighter.
For Iaquinta although his TUF Live run ends there, his career which will be a bright and successful one is only getting started. He’s shown throughout this experience that he has all the tools mentally and physically to be an accomplished fighter in the UFC. The mixed martial arts business has a star on their hands. You’ll all be hearing about Al Iaquinta for a long time. I’ve talked about what a pleasure and honor it’s been for me to work on this blog and cover Al throughout all of this. This has been the most difficult article for me to write. I know it’s important to be “biased” when writing or reporting on something but in my case it’s difficult not to be. This isn’t just someone I’m writing about, it’s one of my best friends. I sympathize for how he’s feeling right now because I feel the same way. It’s tough, really tough. For Al he knows he isn’t alone. He has all of his family, friends, and Iaquinta Nation right behind him. He has training partners and coaches right here with him to pick him back up, shake all this off and get ready for the next fight.
As for now it’s time for Al to be back home, get settled in New York and just relax and enjoy life after this entire experience. I think it’s really important for him to know how proud everyone is of him. He’s impressed everyone with his hard work, his accomplishments, and how he conducted himself with class and professionalism. He’s a hero to everyone around here, and a role model to a lot of people trying to make it in this business. To Al, congratulations again on all your success this year. You’re a true warrior. Be happy with how great you did throughout all of this. It’s been a pleasure to watch. To all of Iaquinta Nation this is only the beginning for Al Iaquinta, just a small bump in the road. There’s no doubt that Al will be back, more motivated and better then ever.