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US fighter Iaquinta to challenge Russia’s Nurmagomedov for UFC lightweight belt

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s opponent was jeopardized multiple times, particularly after a bus assault by Conor McGregor
Khabib Nurmagomedov AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Khabib Nurmagomedov
© AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NEW YORK, April 6. /TASS/. US mixed martial arts fighter Al Iaquinta has been selected as the opponent of Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) lightweight championship belt bout in New York, the MMAFighting news web portal announced.

"After an astonishing turn of events on Friday, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Al Iaquinta is the new main event of the UFC," according to the web portal.

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s opponent was jeopardized multiple times, particularly after a bus assault by Ireland’s Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor.

World’s well-known mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor, 29, attacked a bus filled with fighters as it was leaving after a press conference on Thursday night from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Using a metal barricade and other objects, McGregor and his accomplices smashed the windows of the bus injuring some of the passengers inside.

"The bout will be a five-round fight. If Nurmagomedov wins, he becomes UFC lightweight champion," the MMAFighting web source said. "If Iaquinta wins, he will not become champion, as he weighed in at 155.2 (pounds), two-tenths of a pound over the championship weight limit."

Russia’s Nurmagomedov was initially scheduled to fight Max Holloway for the title of the UFC lightweight champion in New York, but Holloway did not pass the weighing procedure and doctors ordered him against the fight.

During McGregor’s attack on the bus on Thursday, US mixed martial arts fighter Michael Chiesa, who was scheduled for a bout against his fellow American fighter Anthony Pettis, sustained cuts on his face and doctors ordered him to skip the tournament.

The UFC press service informed TASS earlier that US fighter Pettis was the replacement for Holloway in the title fight against Nurmagomedov, but then added that he also failed to pass the weighing procedure.

"Pettis decided against the second weighing procedure," a source in the UFC told TASS. "It is highly possible that another opponent would be chosen for Nurmagomedov."

McGregor was detained was not even on the list of the tournament’s fighters in New York and after his assault on the bus after Thursday night’s news conference he was detained by police and later charged in court on several accounts of assault.

According to western media reports, a court in New York set McGregor’s bail at $50,000 and did not offer to enter a plea.

Last time McGregor fought in the UFC was in November 2016, when he defeated Eddie Alvarez to become the UFC Lightweight Champion. McGregor has a record of 16 knockouts, one submission win and 12 first-round finishes in the UFC.

However, he never attempted to defeat the title for the period of two years and the bout for the new UFC champion in lightweight category was scheduled in New York this weekend between Russia’s Habib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway of the United States.