Al Iaquinta to fight Anthony Njokuani at UFC Fight Night
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After winning his first UFC fight last month, Al Iaquinta said he wanted another bout before the end of the year.
And so it shall be.
Iaquinta, from Wantagh, will fight Anthony Njokuani in a lightweight bout at UFC Fight Night in Manchester, England, on Oct. 26, Newsday has learned.
"I got the call, and I said, 'Perfect, let's do it,'" Iaquinta told Newsday on Thursday. "It's gonna put me on the map for sure."
Njokuani (17-7, 3-3 UFC) has been in the WEC and UFC since 2009 and has fought some of the more well-known lightweights, including Benson Henderson, Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza and Danny Castillo. Njokuani was originally scheduled to fight Paul Taylor, who was injured in training.
Iaquinta (6-2-1, 1-1) returned from a 15-month layoff to easily beat Ryan Couture at UFC 164 on Aug. 31. Iaquinta dominated Couture with his striking, landing 82 significant strikes.
Njokuani is a tall, lanky fighter. He's 6-foot with a 76-inch reach. Couture is 5-foot-10 with a 73-inch reach and the shorter Iaquinta (5-foot-9) was able to get inside and land hard, clean shots to the body and head.
He returned to gym within the next 48 hours, helping teammates at Ray Longo MMA and Serra BJJ train for upcoming fights at Ring of Combat.
"I'm in better shape now than I was before my last fight," Iaquinta said.
Iaquinta said he also was planning to enter to Pan Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi championships next weekend at City College in Manhattan. That changed quickly Wednesday night when his phone rang while he was watching the new episode of "The Ultimate Fighter." Iaquinta was a finalist on Season 15 of the show.