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.
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
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.
Al Iaquinta will step back in the octagon July 15th, next on the list tough light weight competitor Bobby Green. UFC Fight Night 71 will take place in San Diego at the Valley View Casino Center. The fight will appear live on Fox Sports 1. Another big fight for Iaquinta who is currently ranked #13 in the power rankings, fighting Green who is currently ranked #11. The winner would likely break there way into the top 10 in the division.
Iaquinta enters the contest following a split decision win over Jorge Masvidal. Raging Al (12-3-1) enters the fight on a four fight win streak, three of which by knock out. Iaquinta received more attention after a hard fought victory agaisnt Masvidal for his comments following the fight in Fairfax Virginia. Fans booed the decision and Iaquinta was, well let’s just say less then thrilled with the reception. This will be his next opportunity for Al to fight in front of a big crowd since that occurred. Continue Reading
“I don’t lose in the late rounds. The third round belongs to me.” That’s a statement that came from light weight Al Iaquinta a few years ago, and one that stood true yesterday. It’s not only describes the Serra Longo fighters conditioning, but his determination and will power. He showed that yesterday against Jorge Masvidal.
Iaquinta and Masvidal squared off in the Co Main event at UFC Fight Night 63 where it was Iaquinta winning a tight, hard fought split decision over Masvidal. Iaquinta got after Masvidal early who kept his defense tight avoiding any major damage. Masvidal was able to keep his distance with his long reach, keeping both fighters working on their feet. Late in the round after a tough exchange between the two Iaquinta attempted a heel hook to avoid what could have been more damage. In the next exchange Masvidal was able to drop Al and cut him under his right eye. Continue Reading