USA fighter Iaquinta to challenge Russia's Nurmagomedov for UFC lightweight belt

Tony Ferguson

Chiesa, who was to fight Pettis, was cut in the face and deemed unfit to fight by the New York State Athletic Commission and the UFC medical team. But Iaquinta weighed in 0.2 of a pound over the 155-pound limit, which may be clouding things.

Al Iaquinta went from nearly out of the UFC, to the fighter without a name plate at media day, to the main event of UFC 223 in a matter of days. Iaquinta has also won his last five fights in a row and he's now ranked in the top 15 in the lightweight division.

The 30-year-old, who holds a 13-3-1 record, has only fought once in the past three years, finishing Diego Sanchez in April of last year.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been dealt a bad hand.

The original card had shaped up as the best of the year and White said it was trending toward the best pay-per-view buy rate since McGregor's last fight at UFC 205.

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MMA is absolutely ridiculous at times but, credit to the UFC's matchmakers, they were able to find yet another late replacement for Nurmagomedov while Friday's official weigh-in ceremony was ongoing but it was a very long wait before confirmation arrived.

Khabib Nurmagomedov has been reported to be the intended target of Conor McGregor and his entourage yesterday after they attacked the fighter bus he was in as it attempted to leave the barclays Center following a UFC 223 media day yesterday. Lobov was also removed from his fight and two others from their fights after sustaining injuries after McGregor threw a dolly through the bus window.

The changes could mean that the main event of UFC 223 will feature two completely new fighters. McGregor remained in police custody as of Friday morning. As a result, it appears UFC 223 will move forward with nine fights. If Pettis is indeed Nurmagomedov's opponent, Helwani says it would be a three-round bout.

The event now featured nine fights in all, including a strawweight championship rematch between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

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