If you’re Al Iaquinta you couldn’t have drawn it up any better. Come back after two years and knock out a legend in the sport. Iaquinta knocked out Diego Sanchez just 98 seconds into the first round. The fifth win in a row for Iaquinta bringing his record to 13-3-1 (8-2 UFC). The win adds yet another highlight reel knockout to his resume. The loss brings Sanchez to 27-10 (16-10 UFC).
There were two big questions going into last nights Co Main event between Iaquinta and Sanchez. Would “Raging” Al have any ring rust after a two year lay off, and would he veer from the game plan and enter into a slug fest with Sanchez. Iaquinta answered both questions rather quickly.
Sanchez was able to tag Iaquinta with a right hand early on. The shot didn’t faze Iaquinta who was quickly able to find his range. It was a right hand that dropped Diego but in classic Diego Sanchez fashion he was right back up looking to exchange. Iaquinta remained patient looking for his next opening. A second right hand to the jaw dropped Sanchez again this time leaving him out cold. Referee John McCarthy jumped in to stop the fight before Iaquinta could land another shot.
An ecstatic Iaquinta jumped the cage, celebrating with media and fans sitting cage side. “This is a dream come true” Iaquinta said. “Couldn’t have went any better.” As far as his his next fight or his future in the UFC, that remains to be seen. “I don’t need to fight now. I have my real estate career. I’m set with that. If I want to fight, I’ll fight. I love to fight. That’s where I’m at right now.” Iaquinta went on to say “I don’t know if it’s worth it. I don’t know if the money’s worth everything I go through to do this. It worked out tonight, but it’s not going to be that easy.
What came as a bigger surprise was Iaquinta yet again being snubbed for a Finish Bonus. Many felt a Knock Out of the Night bonus would have been warranted following the brutal KO of Sanchez. This undoubtedly added fuel to the fire for Iaquinta who’s been clear in expressing his frustration for not receiving proper compensation.
Regardless there’s no denying the significance of Iaquinta’s win last night. The knock out of Sanchez should open up the eyes of UFC Management. This is a fighter that should be taking on opponents in the Top 10 of the division. In that it also means Top 10 type money for Iaquinta as well. The UFC needs to learn to reward those who are deserving, not fighters who simply put on a show. “UFC, the sooner you realize I’m the man, the better off we’ll both be,” Iaquinta said.
An outstanding performance for Iaquinta in his return. Although the next step may be unclear my guess would be this won’t be the last time you see Iaquinta inside the octagon. UFC will make it’s return to New York at The Nassau Coliseum in July. A card Iaquinta would love to be a part of but it will have to be for the right price. While Iaquinta will continue on with his Real Estate career last night was just a reminder, he’s pretty damn good at this fighting thing too.