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Dana White says Al Iaquinta's eligible for lightweight title at UFC 223

07 April 2018, 09:57 | Stacy Ballard

GETTYConor Mc Gregor hasn't graced the Octagon in over 16 months

Conor McGregor

With Max Holloway out of the UFC 223 main event, Khabib Nurmagomedov will now face "Ragin' Al" Al Iaquinta. MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani also reports that Al Iaquinta has offered to fight Nurmagomedov for the title instead of Paul Felder, his scheduled foe at UFC 223.

The lightweight championship belt, however, will be on the line only for the latter, as his American opponent could not reach the weight limit of 155 pounds, which is the mandatory for the title fight. As for Paul Felder, who was Iaquinta's original opponent on Saturday, he was deemed ineligible by the commission because he isn't now ranked as a top 15 fighter by the UFC. Despite being on a three-fight win streak, all of which coming via KO, Felder was deemed unable to fight for the title due to being unranked by the UFC's ranking system. Pettis' fight with Michael Chiesa was canceled yesterday after Chiesa sustained multiple cuts during Conor McGregor's attack on a bus.

Nurmagomedov made weight Friday.

UFC has a main event for its NY return.

Iaquinta has agreed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight bout at Barclays Center, steadying a promotion thrown into upheaval following criminal charges against star Conor McGregor. Pettis weighed in at 155.2 pounds, which would put him slightly over for a championship fight.

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He argued that his guilty plea has been punishment enough because it will prohibit him from practicing law in the U.K. The Department of Justice is now working with the Russian government to extradite the 13 Russian nationals.

"Dana White now says at press conference Al Iaquinta WILL be the lightweight champion if he wins".

Artem Lobov, a close friend of McGregor's, was pulled from the card for his involvement.

Holloway was a replacement after Tony Ferguson suffered an injury six days ago. Holloway's nutritionist George Lockhart was confident that the featherweight champion would be able to make weight but ultimately doctors were concerned about his health and well being and wouldn't allow him to continue.

The Ferguson-Nurmagomedov and then Holloway-Nurmagomedov bouts were an attempt by UFC to declare an official lightweight champion.

However, at this time its looking increasingly unlikely that either fight will happen, with Felder already revealing that he's out of the picture, stating, "I tried to get it".

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