MMA Odds and Ends for Thursday: Al Iaquinta Pulls Out of Justin Gaethje Fight, James Vick in
There's some bad news to report in today's MMA odds and ends with a fight cancellation of an upcoming notable fight that fans were looking forward too. You can read more about that below.
Al Iaquinta vs. Justin Gaethje Cancelled, James Vick In
A main event lightweight bout between top contenders Al Iaquinta and Justin Gaethje that was set for UFC Fight Night 135, which goes down Saturday, August 25 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, has been cancelled.
ESPN.com's Ariel Helwani was the first to report that Iaquinta pulled out of the fight due to personal reasons. Iaquinta has not explicitly stated why he pulled out of the fight, but hinted on Twitter that it was money-related. At the last second, the UFC pulled James Vick from his fight with Paul Felder to take on Gaethje in the main event. That new main event is official.
Gaethje (18-2) is just 2-1 in the UFC, but all three of his bouts have won "Fight of the Night" including his win over Michael Johnson and his losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. He is still one of the top lightweights in the sport despite his current two-fight losing skid, and is someone other fighters do not want to fight on short notice.
According to Helwani, Kevin Lee was offered the fight against Gaethje but has turned it down, and the UFC gave Vick the fight instead. Vick (13-1) is a pristine 9-1 in the Octagon and has been clamoring for a top-10 opponent for a few years now.
Just looking at the UFC's official lightweight rankings and who was available, I felt like the perfect replacement fight for Gaethje would have been a bout against Edson Barboza, though Barboza likely wanted more time off after getting stomped by Lee in April. The Vick vs. Gaethje fight is still a lot of fun, though you have to feel bad for Felder for once again getting his fight pulled at the last second.
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Mixed martial arts journalist. Lead writer for MMAOddsbreaker.com and also featured at @MMARatingsNet, @mmanews_com and @fightodds_io.
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