Yesterday on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show Al Iaquinta said he had been assured by UFC his next fight would be a “big one”. Twenty four hours later it would appear that to be true. News broke Tuesday afternoon that Iaquinta (14-4-1 MMA, 9-3 UFC) had agreed to fight Donald Cerrone (35-11 MMA, 22-8 UFC). The fight will take place May 4th at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The fight will be live on ESPN +. Both sides have verbally agreed to what would be the main event on the card.
“Raging” Al Iaquinta comes off a strong five round unanimous decision win over Kevin Lee, which moved him further up the lightweight rankings. Most recently, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone returned to lightweight for the first time since 2015 recording at TKO win over Alexander Hernandez.
It’s no secret the lightweight division has several question marks centered around the suspensions of Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as well as former champion Connor McGregor. Both Iaquinta and Cerrone had lobbied for a matchup with Connor McGregor. Yet with a potential fight between McGregor and Cerrone, as well as a fight between Iaquinta and Tony Ferguson both falling apart it would leave the “Brooklyn Gangster” Iaquinta to take on “Cowboy” Cerrone.
The fight has the makings to be an exciting one. Cowboy currently ranked #9 recently said he wanted someone in the top 5 of the division. He gets just that in Iaquinta currently ranked #4. For Iaquinta an opportunity to record a win over a big name and veteran in the sport as both fighters look to continue to climb the ranks, working towards UFC gold.
When the rankings came out on Tuesday The UFC lightweight division would see a few changes. Iaquinta moves to 4th, breaking into the Top 5 for the first time in his career. Raging Al recorded a unanimous decision win over Kevin Lee Saturday night, now winning six of his last seven. The win would jump Iaquinta in the rankings from 8th to 4th. Outside of the move in the rankings the hard fought win over Lee continued to open up eyes in the mixed martial arts world. The misconception of real estate agent/part time fighter has faded away. Not only has the narrative changed but it’s Iaquinta who’s in the conversation to potentially challenge for the lightweight belt once again. Continue Reading
At the end of Round 5 an intense Iaquinta was right in the face of Kevin Lee and only had one thing to say. “Same Al, Same Al.” Iaquinta was referring to Lee’s comments earlier in the week. “I’m not the same man from four years ago, I look into his eyes I see the same man.” That’s just fine by Iaquinta who went the distance with Lee scoring a unanimous decision Saturday night. Iaquinta stood tall while a broken down Kevin Lee was left close to speechless in the octagon. “Devastating, embarrassed, I couldn’t feel lower than I do right now” Lee said. It was a rematch that didn’t disappoint on FOX’s final UFC. “That was sick” Iaquinta said. “That was a lot of fun.”
Iaquinta controlled much of the first round, landing solid shots throughout the round including an impressive spinning back fist early on. Although Lee landed shots of his own, it was Iaquinta who impressed in the early going. In round 2 Kevin Lee showcased his strength taking Iaquinta down and taking his back. Iaquinta would take shots from Lee from that position, but eventually would work his way back up. Once back on their feet Iaquinta was able to land some other tough shots on Lee with his jab, potentially securing that round for the New Yorker.
Iaquinta continued to push the pace in the 3rd round. Lee seemed to constantly have his back against thecage. The strong grappler Lee would eventually be able to take Iaquinta down once again. Raging Al fought off his back shutting down any rear naked choke attempts from Kevin Lee. In round 4 Iaquinta began to really turn it on. “I know Kevin Lee will never beat me in the 4th and 5th round” Iaquinta said following the fight. He continued to dominate the standup battle. Iaquinta impressed with crisp shots and constant head movement throughout the final round. He stalked Lee throughout the cage landing shots what seemed like at will. Iaquinta blasted Lee with punches at the end of the 5th cementing what was not only a dominant round, but an all around dominant fight for Iaquinta.
Iaquinta was asked back stage his thoughts on Kevin Lee dancing and singing prior to entering the cage. “Look at me” Iaquinta said. “This is how it’s done, I do this thing right.” Perhaps that served as motivation for the Serra Longo based fighter as he put on what could be one of the best performances of his career. “You can prepare, you can train, but there’s something you can’t put in somebody. It’s this.” Iaquinta said as he pounded his chest and pointed to his heart. “You can give me millions of dollars but you’re not getting me out of there. You’re going to have to kill me.”
Iaquinta would continue speaking with reporters back stage. “He’s too slow, he’s plotting. He’s strong, but he’s never going to beat me.” When asked if he thought Kevin Lee did in fact look “slower” in there “Of course Kevin Lee looked slower. Khabib, Masvidal, there’s a reason all these guys looked slower, or weren’t at their best. They feel something in there with me. They know I’m not going anywhere.” Yes indeed. With a dominant five round win Iaquinta will undoubtably continue to climb the Lightweight ranks. Who he’ll fight next will remain to be seen yet one thing is for sure. Al Iaquinta is the fighter UFC lightweights need to watch out for.
Once again Iaquinta Nation it’s Fight Night. Tonight from Milwaukee Wisconsin and LIVE on FOX it will be “Raging” Al Iaquinta taking on Kevin “The Motown Phenom” Lee in the main event of UFC Fight Night. The history between these two has been discussed in depth throughout the week. That history starts with Iaquinta recording a unanimous decision victory over Lee four years ago. A loss that has remained on the mind of Kevin Lee throughout the years. Neither competitor has been shy in voicing their opinions of one another. Where both have evolved into two of the top lightweights in the division, one important aspect hasn’t changed. These two men have a very legitimate hatred for one another. Where a mutual respect exists from both professionally, personally is a much different story. This bad blood will come to a head once and for all tonight in Milwaukee. Continue Reading
It was a fight that Al Iaquinta thought would never happen after beating Kevin Lee back in 2014. Although than newcomer Kevin Lee started talking rematch almost immediately, it was a fight that to Iaquinta didn’t make sense. Until now. Truth be told although it always appeared to be in the back of Kevin Lee’s mind, it’s a fight that was eventually off of his radar as well. Now the fight makes perfect sense. Lee has climbed his way up the lightweight ranks above Iaquinta ranked 4th to Iaquinta ranked 8th respectively. This creates the perfect opportunity for Iaquinta to climb into the Top 5 in the division. Outside of avenging his first UFC loss, Lee now see’s value in fighting Iaquinta once again. A valiant five round effort against Khabib Nurmagomedov raised Iaquinta’s stock up about as much as one can after a loss. In Lee’s mind if he can beat the guy in Iaquinta who went five rounds with the best in the world that would put him even closer to a title shot of his own. “It was bound to happen” Iaquinta told FOX. “He’s been calling me out for a long time. I think I’ve always been on his mind.” Continue Reading
This Saturday UFC’s final card on FOX is set to go out with a bang. “Raging” Al Iaquinta (13-4-1, 8-3 UFC) will take on Kevin “The Motown Phenom” Lee (17-3, 10-3 UFC) in the main event LIVE from The Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. This will be the second matchup between Iaquinta and Lee who squared off back in 2014. Both fighters have evolved and shown improvement in different aspects of their fight games. Although matured, both a bit more established, polished and higher ranked, one thing hasn’t changed. Iaquinta and Lee very simply do not like each other. Expect to see the intensity that fuels off of that in the octagon on Saturday. Continue Reading
It’s a rematch that’s been some time in the making. On December 15th Al Iaquinta will take on Kevin Lee in the main event at The Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The two fought for the first time at UFC 169 back in 2014 ending in a unanimous decision win for “Raging” Al.
There is no love loss between these two fighters. Many words have been exchanged back and fourth through Twitter as well as comments about the other during interviews. Neither have been shy in regards to their feelings for the other. Both have called for this fight to happen for a second time at certain points, now both will get their wish. Continue Reading
It was tough, it was gritty, it was exactly the performance you expected from Al Iaquinta on Saturday night. Even more impressive considering as late as Friday afternoon Iaquinta had been training to fight a different opponent for a three round fight. Yet there was Iaquinta, in Round Five of a Championship fight still standing toe to toe with the top fighter in the division in Khabib Nurmagomedov. Continue Reading
Once again Iaquinta Nation it’s Fight Night! After a hectic 24 hours it will be Al Iaquinta taking on Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC Lightweight Title at UFC 223 in Brooklyn. A “home game” if you will as The New Yorker Iaquinta will fight in his home state for the first time. In a few days that has seen nothing but mishaps, injuries, and fighters missing weight the dust has settled. Now it’s all about Iaquinta and Khabib with UFC gold on the line.
Both Iaquinta and Khabib have seen ups and downs when it comes to injures over the past few years. Those injuries turned into missed fights, missed time, perhaps missed opportunities for both competitors. Yet now what lies in front of both fighters is the biggest opportunity of all. Fight on the big stage with a title on the line. Continue Reading
Like the old saying goes what a difference a day makes. Yesterday Al Iaquinta was set to take on Paul Felder, kicking off the main card at UFC 223. Now 24 hours later he’s set to fight in the main event against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Oh, and they’ll be fighting for the Lightweight Title. Quite the turn of events. With that change comes an extraordinary opportunity for Iaquinta, one he’s been working for his entire career. Continue Reading