Yes you read this correctly. No this is not an error, and no this is not a late April Fools joke. Your main event tomorrow night at UFC 223 will now be New York’s own Al Iaquinta vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov. How did we get here and what does it all mean?
After a bizarre Thursday evening that saw Connor McGregor and his entourage attacking a bus of UFC’s fighters, it had seemed like Friday morning the dust had finally settled. That was only for about a minute. News broke that Max Holloway, who had taken the fight on six days notice would be unable to make weight. The loss of Holloway would have put a bigger hole in a card that had all ready taken a hit following the McGregor bus may lay. Many thought it could be former champ Anthony Pettis stepping in, while others lobbied for Iaquinta’s current opponent Paul Felder. For various reasons both choices were denied. Than, there was Raging Al.
After hours of back and fourth it would eventually become official. The new main event would be Al Iaquinta taking on Khabib Nurmagomedov. Per the UFC “Due to Iaquinta not making the 155-pound championship limit, the UFC lightweight title will only be eligible to be won by Nurmagomedov. Should Iaquinta win, he will not be awarded the title, but if Nurmagomedov wins, he will be crowned the undisputed champion.”
I know what you’re thinking. “What the hell??” Unfortunately for a title fight you need to be “championship weight”, meaning 155 pounds on the dot. Iaquinta weighed in this morning at 155.2 Seem a bit ridiculous? Perhaps, but this was UFC’s final decision. Never the less tomorrow night it’ll be Iaquinta vs. Khabib, five rounds in the main event. Check back later for more information leading up to the fight.
Update- 7:00 PM EST – Per UFC President Dana White “If Raging Al wins this fight, he’s the champ. If you beat the man, you are the man. All technicalities we’ll figure out after the fight.” The fight is not recognized as a title fight by the NYS Athletic commission.