A pair of lightweight contenders in need of a win are set to square off in the UFC Fight Night 135 main event — that’s unless you ask one of the two men involved.
Justin Gaethje vs. Al Iaquinta has been discussed for the better part of the past month, but just earlier this week, UFC president Dana White said on the promotion’s podcast that the fight would not be happening. White cited Iaquinta wanting a better contract as the reason it would not be going forward as planned.
Things have apparently quickly changed, however. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported that the 155-pound clash will take place Aug. 25 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
UFC officials have yet to confirm the matchup.
Iaquinta, however, hinted on Twitter Thursday morning that perhaps the Gaethje fight wasn’t actually official:
“#fakenews,” the former title challenger wrote.
Gaethje (18-2) started out his UFC career last July in impressive fashion, stopping Michael Johnson in the second round of their The Ultimate Fighter 25 main event, which many consider 2017’s Fight of the Year. But since then, the former WSOF champion has lost two straight to former champ Eddie Alvarez and top contender Dustin Poirier.
In his most recent fight, Iaquinta (13-4-1) fell to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a vacant lightweight title fight in the UFC 223 main event last April. “The Eagle” beat Iaquinta in a one-sided decision. The New York native stepped up on a day’s notice against the unbeaten Nurmagomedov, who was expected to face featherweight titleholder Max Holloway until weigh-in day.
Iaquinta was initially booked to face Paul Felder in the pay-per-view opener. The loss snapped a five-fight winning streak dating back to 2014, which included a knockout of Diego Sanchez and a controversial decision over Jorge Masvidal.