Category Archives: Al Iaquinta

UFC globetrotter Paul Felder wants U.S. fight (and Kevin Lee or Al Iaquinta would do fine)

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UFC lightweight Paul Felder’s most recent octagon outings involved trips to Brazil, Canada and Scotland. They also involved, respectively, meeting a Brazilian, a Canadian and a Scotsman.

With that in mind, one can see where Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC)  is coming from with this simple request for his next fight.

“I would like to fight in the United States, and there are quite a few cards coming up,” Felder told MMAjunkie Radio. “These Japan cards and all – they’re a little soon. As cool as that would be – I’d go there as a guest fighter. But right now I want to fight on my own country.”

In fairness, Felder should have a few goodwill chips stored with the promotion at this point. Not only is he coming off big back-to-back wins – both involving first-round elbow brutality – but he’s also proven to be valuable outside of the cage, with his current role as an analyst for Dana White’s Contender Series.

Fresh off his “Performance of the Night” knockout of Stevie Ray at last month’s UFC Fight Night 113 event, Felder said he’s healthy and somewhat ready to go. The only thing, he says, is the weight – which the lightweight estimates currently sits at around 190 pounds.

With that in mind, he’s eyeing a return between October and December – though, in his typical company man fashion, he could find a way to be ready before should an opportunity arise. And he’s not even making too many demands when it comes to that.

“I’d love a top-15 guy, but I’m not pushing that so much as I just want another exciting fight and another win,” Felder said. “I’m nearing the end of this contract, so a good win puts me in good standing with the UFC to get another big contract coming out and keep going.”

As far as those possible opponents go, Felder is not going around issuing callouts. Mostly, he’s interested in fighters who, like him, have a penchant for exciting striking battles. While he would love to acquiesce to some fan requests, like a meeting with lightweight contender Kevin Lee, he’s also realistic.

“Knowing rankings – I’m not even in the top 15 yet to be getting a shot with a guy like Lee would be – I’d take it, but it would be crazy,” Felder said.

He does have one stylistic dream fight, though. And, should it somehow materialize at UFC 217, set for Nov. 4 in New York City, “The Irish Dragon” probably wouldn’t be mad.

“That fight alone is a fight that I would love to have, with (Al Iaquinta),” Felder said. “Most of the time, any time I’m matched up people are like, ‘This going to be fight of the night.’

“Can you imagine if me and him got matched up at Madison Square Garden? Listen up, UFC. Let’s do it.”

Another scenario that Felder is very comfortable with is UFC 218, which takes place Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. That would fit well within his desire to get a fight near his Philadelphia home grounds.

But ultimately, when it comes to Felder, it seems like there’s very little that can’t be negotiated.

“If they gave me like a co-main event, main event overseas, I’m all about it,” Felder said. “I want to be kind of putting my name out there and taking these big spots. I’ll take a main event. I’d love a five-round fight with somebody. I don’t care if it’s literally in their kitchen. I’ll take it. I want to fight five rounds for the UFC before I retire.”

To hear more from Felder, check out the video above.

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Justin Gaethje and TUF 25 Finale's other winning fighters?

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Former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje put on another masterpiece of violence on Friday at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, living up to the hype in every way imaginable in his main event bout with Michael Johnson.

Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) delivered arguably the most memorable performance of his career when he stopped Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC) with strikes in the second round of the lightweight bout, which aired on FS1 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Early prelims streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Although Gaethje’s victory was the most significant on the card, several others earned important wins, as well, including new “TUF 25: Redemption” champ Jesse Taylor (31-15 MMA, 1-1 UFC), who closed the door on the latest season of the reality series with a submission finish in the co-headliner.

Also on the main card, Drakkar Klose (8-0-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Jared Cannonier (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC), Brad Tavares (15-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and Jordan Johnson (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) added another tally to their win columns.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Jordan Johnson

Darren Stewart

Should fight: Darren Stewart
Why they should fight: Some intriguing new blood has revealed itself in the UFC lightweight heavyweight in recent months, and Johnson is certainly part of that group after his unanimous decision win over Marcel Fortuna.

Johnson admitted his performance lacked in significant action, but considering his inexperience in the sport, 15 minutes of hard-fought time in the octagon can’t hurt his development. Johnson brings a solid wrestling pedigree and a growing striking game into his fights, and if he keeps adding to his skillset, there’s a promising future ahead.

The undefeated 28-year-old needs several more fights against a somewhat even level of competition before he gains consideration for a truly noteworthy matchup, and with same number of pro fights, Stewart (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) would be a fair booking for both.

Brad Tavares

Sam Alvey

Should fight: Winner of Sam Alvey vs. Rashad Evans at UFC Fight Night 114
Why they should fight: More than seven years after making his UFC debut, Tavares added a 10th octagon victory to his resume when he defeated fan-favorite Elias Theodorou by unanimous decision.

Tavares was just a step ahead of “The Ultimate Fighter: Nations” winner Theodorou throughout the middleweight bout, and it led to his third victory in his past four fights. The Hawaiian has only lost to notable names throughout his UFC tenure, and even then, he makes his opponents work hard for it.

Still just 29, Tavares has potential to make noise at 185 pounds and has once again put himself in position to do just that. The winner of the UFC Fight Night 114 bout between Alvey (30-9 MMA, 7-4 UFC) and Evans (19-6-1 MMA, 14-6-1 UFC) on Aug. 5 isn’t ranked or on a big winning streak, but he will carry name value, which could help an underrated fighter like Tavares get more attention.

Jared Cannonier

Gokhan Saki

Should fight: Gokhan Saki
Why they should fight: Cannonier did what he was supposed to against an opponent who stepped in as an injury replacement on just three days’ notice when he defeated UFC newcomer Nick Roehrick by third-round TKO.

Cannonier’s vast striking arsenal was way too much for Roehrick to handle with essentially no preparation time. It was an important, confidence-building performance after Cannonier was blown out of the water against Glover Teixeira in his biggest fight to date at UFC 208 in February.

To make things even better, Cannonier came to his post-fight interview with a plan in mind. In an outside-the-box callout, he offered to welcome world renowned kickboxing champion Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who signed with the promotion earlier this year.

The callout was met with instant excitement, and despite the fact Saki has essentially no MMA experience, he said he wants tough fights right away. Cannonier will oblige in exactly the type of fight the Dutch striker wants, and there’s no doubt it would be a fan-pleasing affair. Moreover, Saki said he’s interested.

Drakkar Klose

Alan Patrick

Should fight: Alan Patrick
Why they should fight: The most heated grudge match on the card went in favor of Klose when he surprised highly touted prospect Marc Diakiese with a split-decision win.

There was a ton of tension and trash talk between the competitors prior to their encounter. Most expected it to be another showcase fight for Diakiese, but Klose had other plans and put in a superior work rate to hand the Brit his first career loss.

Klose’s confidence and relentless style will likely aid him to a successful UFC career, and while it’s not to discredit his performance, one of the primary narratives coming out of the fight is whether there was too much hype behind Diakiese.

He should get a chance to prove that’s not the case, though, and in the loaded 155-pound division, there’s no shortage of fighters capable revealing how good Klose really is. Patrick (14-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is coming off consecutive wins and has been tested over his multiple years as a UFC fighter. His mix of his experience and skillset would help further reveal Klose’s ceiling.

Jesse Taylor

Belal Muhammad

Should fight: Belal Muhammad
Why they should fight: Taylor completed the ultimate redemption story when he captured “The Ultimate Fighter 25” crown with a second-round submission of Dhiego Lima to claim a $290,000 prize.

Taylor’s journey from getting kicked off Season 7 of “TUF” just before the finals due to some careless antics to winning Season 25 is well documented, and his journey is nothing short of impressive.

“JT-Money” wants to make his mark on the UFC roster, but in a deep welterweight division it’s not going to be easy. Muhammad (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) scored a quality decision win over Jordan Mein at UFC 213 the night after Taylor’s performance, and his game would be an interesting test for the latest “TUF” winner.

Justin Gaethje

Should fight: Al Iaquinta
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Gaethje should fight Iaquinta (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Al Iaquinta gives Conor McGregor chance vs. Floyd Mayweather: 'I hope he shocks the world'

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Not too many people are giving UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor a chance against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in their recently announced Aug. 26 encounter.

But the Irishman has found some perhaps surprising support in fellow UFC 155-pounder and resident truth-teller Al Iaquinta. While Iaquinta (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) does agree with the popular opinion that Mayweather (49-0 boxing) will most likely keep his record unblemished, he’s not counting McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) out.

“(McGregor)’s got the ability to surprise a lot of people,” Iaquinta told MMAjunkie Radio. “He’s been doing it since Day 1. I don’t think anyone’s in the position to doubt the guy.

“On the other hand, he’s fighting Floyd, who’s the best of the best. So, defensively, I think (Mayweather) can slow that fight down. He can make it a decision, doesn’t get hit, makes it look easy – doesn’t even really break a sweat kind of thing. I think that’s probably how it goes.”

One of the arguments made in favor of McGregor’s actual shot at winning the match is that Mayweather has a harder time dealing with southpaws – which is McGregor’s case. Iaquinta, however, was there in person to see Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao, also a southpaw, in their 2015 “Fight of the Century.”

So why does Iaquinta think McGregor has a chance?

“The reason I’m giving McGregor a chance is because he’s defied the odds – he’s backed up everything he says,” Iaquinta said. “The first time, you doubt him. The second time, you doubt him. The third time, you know, wherever we’re at right now, he’s talked a lot of (expletive) and he’s backed it up. Honestly, I hope he goes out there and I hope he shocks the world. I hope he does. I think it will be a great story.

“And Floyd Mayweather owes me a couple of grand from that (expletive) ticket I bought. It was the worst fight ever.”

The match between McGregor and Mayweather was announced and detailed this past week, putting an end to months of growing speculation. The two will meet at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, under boxing rules, in a 12-round, 154-pound (super welterweight) affair.

After all the cash that went into a ticket to the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao affair, would Iaquinta be willing to do the same to see McGregor try his luck? The answer is no, but he did go from a categorical “not a shot” to a tamer answer upon further reflection.

“I don’t know, though, there’s the shot that McGregor does something big,” Iaquinta said. “You know how crazy that’s going to be? That’s going to be insane. But I’m not going to buy a ticket, no.”

While he’s pulling for his fellow MMA fighter, Iaquinta also knows that Mayweather is the favorite. And he expects this favoritism to grow the further the fight progresses, making McGregor’s chances bigger within the first 15 minutes.

“I think (McGregor)’s got to hit him with a hard left hand pretty early,” Iaquinta said.

But, whatever happens, one thing’s for sure.

“I’m keeping it real,” Iaquinta said. “I think if it goes the way it’s supposed to go, it’s going to be 12 rounds. And who knows if Conor can even go 12 rounds with the guy. He gets a little tired later, gets a little sloppy. But Floyd’s getting up there. He’s never been really a finisher. I don’t know.

“I’ll tell you one thing: I’ll be watching. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be a spectacle.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go towww.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2470 with Al Iaquinta, Evelyn Rodrigues

Stream or download Friday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Al Iaquinta and Evelyn Rodrigues.

Iaquinta said he’d back Conor McGregor in his boxing match vs. Floyd Mayweather as a way to support MMA. Brazilian MMA journalist Rodrigues talked about how combat sports fans in her home country have also gotten excited about the Mayweather-McGregor fight.

You can listen below or download the episode from SoundCloud.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Al Iaquinta and Evelyn Rodrigues

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MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Al Iaquinta and Evelyn Rodrigues.

Outspoken UFC lightweight Iaquinta recently picked up a knockout win over Diego Sanchez. Rodrigues, a Brazilian MMA journalist for Combate, is our in-studio guest host.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

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Source: MMA Junkie

After surviving 'steamroll ball of (expletive),' Vinc Pichel wants Al Iaquinta rematch

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand – More than just a third straight win on his UFC record, Saturday represented some cathartic relief for Vinc Pichel after some rough times.

Pichel (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) put an end to a three-year layoff by flattening Damien Brown (16-10 MMA, 2-2 UFC) in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 110 lightweight scrap. Speaking to reporters after the win, Pichel got (very) candid about just how meaningful it was after a series of physical and emotional blows.

“It’s the best thing in the world right now,” Pichel said. “I’ve been through so much in the past few years. I’ve been through injuries – things that were going to put me out in retirement. I went through a tough breakup with my fiancee a month before I was supposed to get married. I was having a lot of problems, mainly with my injuries and life. I just basically had to start life over. It was really hard for me.

“Recently, I just had a girlfriend who I had to break up with because she was cheating on me with some dude from church. I mean, I have just a steamroll ball of (expletive) coming at me over the last few years, and tonight was my payoff. That was my big reward.

“Back in the day, once I was pissed off, I would go break some (expletive) or (expletive) someone up. I’d get into a fight. I can’t do that now. I’ve got to be a professional and an adult now. So this, right here, was me getting to let that out. Getting to let that tension out. It couldn’t have felt better.”

The lightweight scrap closed out the FS1-televised preliminary-card portion of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 110 event, which took place at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. It followed UFC Fight Pass early prelims and preceded the FS1-televised main card.

For Pichel – who maintains his stance that ring rust is “bull(expletive)” – Saturday was the result of a perfectly followed gameplan. But while a first-round knockout to end such a long layoff would seem like an ideal outcome for some, the lightweight said we only got to see 30 percent of what he can do.

“I’m so much better of a fighter that people don’t realize and don’t know,” Pichel said. “And I honestly haven’t showed it. I’m at the point of my life now and my fighting career where I’m not going to be so hardheaded. I’m a little older now. I’m a little wiser as far as fighting.

“I have more experience with it. And I’m going to showcase that. And people are going to be scared of me – of what I can do, what I’m capable of.”

The 34-year-old hadn’t fought since UFC 173, back in May 2014, when he scored a unanimous-decision win over Anthony Njokuani. Before that, “The Ultimate Fighter 15” alum had recovered from a UFC-debut loss to Rustam Khabilov with a decision victory over Garett Whiteley.

If his more immediate plan – meeting a nice local lady to get hitched and become a New Zealand resident, of course – doesn’t pan out, Pichel will take “rockstar” week back home to reconnect with the people he had to neglect during camp. After that, however, it’s not only back to the gym, but to his full-time job as an electrician and also school, which he attends twice a week.

Despite his busy routine, Pichel wants to make up for lost time and make a quick turnaround. And he’s already got a target in mind.

“If Al Iaquinta is still in the UFC and doesn’t get cut from the bull(expletive) that he’s been pulling latel, I’m down to fight Al if he’s down,” Pichel, who lost to Iaquinta in the semifinals of their “TUF” season, said. “That’d be a good fight. There’s a New York card coming up in July (UFC on FOX 25, which takes place July 22 in Long Island), so I’ll fight him in his backyard.”

To hear Pichel’s full chat with reporters, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 110, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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