Ray Longo Says UFC 223 Main Event Would’ve Been Different If Al Iaquinta Had Full Camp

MMA

Khabib Nurmagomedov captured the UFC Lightweight Title with a unanimous decision win over short notice replacement Al Iaquinta in the main event of UFC 223.

Ray Longo serves as a coach for Iaquinta and he believes the fight would’ve been a lot different if the New York native had a full training camp for the bout.

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“As a coach, I’m blown away because I don’t even know how he did it. That was just will and determination you were watching in there – coupled with a guy who’s very technically skilled,” Longo told MMA Junkie Radio“But for me, it was like, ‘Wow, what if we really trained for five rounds, man?’ It would’ve been a totally different ballgame.”

Iaquinta took the bout on about a days notice, replacing UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway, whom the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) deemed unfit to compete at the event.

Longo is also shocked that his pupil managed to go the full five rounds with the UFC Lightweight Champion.

“How he even went five rounds is bizarre to me. The kid is just a really special kid,” Longo said. “He has attributes you can’t teach a fighter. As a coach, I can’t teach him what happened in there that night. He’s born with it. He’s a fighter. He loves what he does.”

Before agreeing to fight Nurmagomedov on short notice, a game Iaquinta was scheduled to fight Paul Felder in the opening bout on the pay-per-view portion of the card.

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