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Al Iaquinta to fight Gilbert Melendez in place of injured Bobby Green on July 15

Wantagh's Al Iaquinta knocked out Rodrigo Damm in

Wantagh's Al Iaquinta knocked out Rodrigo Damm in third round to win their lightweight bout at UFC Fight Night 50 at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Photo Credit: Mario Gonzalez

Wantagh's Al Iaquinta didn't enjoy the news he heard Tuesday -- that his scheduled opponent Bobby Green pulled out of their fight next month in San Diego with an injury.

"I was going crazy when I heard Bobby was out with an injury," Iaquinta said.

"Ragin'" Al Iaquinta said he kicked a stationary bike and broke a picnic table leg when he found out he was opponent-less for July 15.

But that was so Tuesday.

On Wednesday came news Iaquinta could embrace happily (as could any nearby patio furniture). Iaquinta has a new opponent -- Gilbert Melendez, a former Strikeforce champion, the current No. 5 ranked UFC lightweight and the biggest name to date on Iaquinta's growing fight resume.

"This is great, though," Iaquinta said. "I have been working hard and I am ready to make the most of any opportunity that comes my way."

Melendez, 33, fought last Saturday, losing a split decision to Eddie Alvarez. That gives Melendez (22-5, 1-3 UFC) just 32 days to recover and prepare.

Iaquinta, the No. 13 ranked UFC lightweight, has won his last four fights. In that nine-month span, the 28-year-old Iaquinta has three knockouts and one accosting of the crowd. After being booed for his split decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in April, Iaquinta disagreed with the Virginia crowd's assessment during his post-fight interview.

New York Sports

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