Al Iaquinta is the second high-profile New Yorker to finally get a fight in his hometown.
Amid rumors of fellow Long Islander Chris Weidman taking on Yoel Romero at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden, MMA Fighting reported on late Tuesday that Iaquinta is now set to fight on the card as well, against former welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves.
Both men haven’t stepped into the Octagon in quite some time for various reasons. Iaquinta underwent knee surgery while Alves has been working hard on making the permanent cut to 155 pounds after a career fighting at welterweight.
The 29-year-old Long Island native is riding a four fight win streak, with three of those four wins coming by way of technical knock out. Iaquinta most recently defeated Jorge Masvidal by split decision in April 2015.
Alves, 32, last fought in May 2015, when he lost by doctor stoppage to Carlos Condit. Before that, the Brazilian notched one of the best wins of in the latter part of his career against Jordan Mein, who he stopped with a nasty body kick and punches back at UFC 183.
The Alves/Iaquinta bout materialized out of heated Twitter exchanges between the two after Alves called out the New Yorker while he was healing from surgery.
“He’s seriously pissed me off. I didn’t even want to think about fighting anybody. I just wanted to think about healing and now I got this guy calling me out and trying to bully me into a fight and to come back before I’m ready so that’s really pissed me off. I’m just like, dude, shut the f**k up and when we fight we fight. November I’m ready. He wants to fight me and I want to fight him. Let’s make it happen at (Madison Square Garden).”
UFC 205 will take place on November 12, 2016 and will be the UFC’s historic first event at the famed Madison Square Garden following years of turmoil in getting it legalized in the Empire State.