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Why UFC 223 Still Matters

When Tony Ferguson began to call Conor McGregor “McNugget” it was comical but also prophetic. The man who loomed so large over today’s most popular combat sports organization, the UFC, might have finally been humbled with the bracelets placed on him by the NYPD.

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Conor McGregor getting escorted out of the police station in handcuffs. https://t.co/YEsf2s112c

UFC 223 looked to be a big card Saturday night, but between McGregor’s wild actions and then officials prohibiting Max Holloway from fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0) in the main event, the weekend appeared to be on the brink of collapse in the eyes of some. 

UFC 223 Embedded: Vlog Series – Episode 5

On Episode 5 of UFC 223 Embedded, lightweight champion Conor McGregor unexpectedly arrives, causing a disruption on the loading dock. Dana White checks in with athletes affected by the incident and addresses the situation. The UFC celebrates its 25th anniversary by visiting the New York Stock Exchange.

Instead, Long Island-based Team Serra-Longo fighter Al Iaquinta (13-3-1) agreed to abandon his original fight against Paul Felder to take on Khabib and the chance at becoming a UFC champion. According to Dana White, Iaquinta who weighed-in at 155.2lbs with his underwear, was allowed to fight after the NSAC weighed his underwear and it weighed .2lbs exactly. However, the commission does not deem this a title fight due to a clause which states that a fighter must be exactly on weight to have it designated as a title fight.

But Dana White says he will work it out if Iaquinta wins. And if Khabib wins, he is automatically the champion since he made the contracted weight requirement. Despite the hype kill from the commission’s decision against Holloway, the fight is nowhere near boring as Iaquinta is a beast in his own right and will be fighting in front of hometown crowd. Iaquinta is currently riding a 5-fight win streak that includes a who’s who of top lightweight competition like Diego Sanchez, Joe Lauzon, Ross Pearson, and Jorge Masvidal. With all of the positive steam surrounding Khabib Nurmagomedov, the challenge will be for Iaquinta to derail the bad vibes created by McGregor and the Holloway decision and reinvigorate a card which still features some baaaad fighters.

Khabib vs Al Iaquinta Press Conference UFC 223

Press conference for Khabib vs Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 If you enjoyed this video please give it a like, and subscribe for more MMA + Boxing related content.

Ironically, eleven years ago today Iaquinta’s mentor and gym owner, Matt Serra, shocked the world when he knocked out Georges St. Pierre in the first round in Montreal at UFC 69 to become the UFC welterweight champion. The win forever cemented the likeability of Serra as the unlikeliest of champions; a modern day David that defeated the Goliath in GSP. Iaquinta shrugged that fact off during the UFC 25th Anniversary press conference yesterday at the Barclays Center but the kinetic hope that this creates would lend anyone to believe that lightning could strike twice, especially after all the craziness that occurred.

Girl Power

Fans, don not let two bad events prevent you from watching two amazing athletes in what should be an exciting rematch. 

When UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas (7-3) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1) enter the cage Saturday night, it could very well have been the match of the night even before the incidents involving McGregor and Holloway. As the most dominant strawweight, and one of the most dominant women’s mixed martial artists in history, Jedrzejczyk is out for revenge and with the fight returning to NYC, the pressure is on. Joanna is a boss and her ego was bruised from the knock loss to Namajunas. She blamed the loss on a botched weight cut conducted by her former nutritionist and this time she took everything into her own hands, including her diet. This take no prisoners attitude is what propelled her to the top before the fame and she seems ready to remind the world who she is.

UFC 223: Rose Namajunas – This Fight Will be the Same, But Different

UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas prepares for her first title defense in a rematch with former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk this Saturday, April 7 on Pay-Per-View. Subscribe to get all the latest UFC content: http://bit.ly/2uJRzRR Experience UFC live with UFC FIGHT PASS, the digital subscription service of the UFC.

Namajunas has kept her serenity throughout the process. She is nowhere near as intense as Jedrzejczyk yet her confidence was stronger than ever. Even as a victim of the McGregor bus-gate incident, she seems to have brushed it off in search of a finality to her rivalry with Jedrzejczyk. 

UFC 223: Joanna Jedrzejczyk – I’m Going to be Champion Again

Hear from the former strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk before she gets the rematch she has been waiting for at UFC 223. Subscribe to get all the latest UFC content: http://bit.ly/2uJRzRR Experience UFC live with UFC FIGHT PASS, the digital subscription service of the UFC.

This could be one of the most epic fights in women’s MMA history and definitely one in which fireworks are expected in as these two talented fighters are looking to knock the chip off the other’s shoulder and solidify their names in the world of MMA.

Tonight should be an epic mess of unlikely circumstances, and with McGregor out on bail, anything is still possible. Yet between the new pressures and opportunities that await the victors, this fight card still has more sordid history to create. 

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