Khabib Nurmagomedov’s New UFC 223 Opponent Officially Finalized

Khabib Nurmagomedov will still fight in the main event at UFC 223 and have a shot at the UFC lightweight belt.

Tony Ferguson pulled out of the UFC lightweight title fight against the Russian due to injury, and Max Holloway was deemed medically unfit to fight due to weight cut issues. As such, the UFC will pit No. 11-ranked lightweight Al Iaquinta to face off against Nurmagomedov Saturday night at Barclays Center.

The caveat?

Only Nurmagodeov is eligible for the belt.

If Iaquinta wins, he doesn’t get a belt because he weighed in at 155.2 pounds during Friday morning’s weigh-ins — 0.2 pounds above the 155-pound limit for a New York State Athletic Commission sanctioned lightweight MMA fight.

Iaquinta originally was scheduled to fight on the main card against Paul Felder, who reportedly was in play along with Anthony Pettis to replace Holloway in the main event. Iaquinta is ranked higher than Felder and Pettis in the UFC’s official lightweight rankings.

This was just one of many headaches for UFC president Dana White in the last 24 hours, as Conor McGregor’s violent incident during media day directly resulted in three fights on the UFC 223 card to get canceled.

Also, due to the shakeup in the main event, Pettis and Felder, who are teammates, will not fight on the card.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez

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