Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Al Iaquinta Official for UFC 223 Main Event

Khabib Nurmagomedov Max Holloway

Up until last weekend, Khabib Nurmagomedov had been training to face Tony Ferguson in the main event at UFC 223.

In another twist, lightweight challenger Max Holloway was declared "medically unfit" to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov by NYSAC as he struggled to shed weight and make the 155-pound limit.

After a series of plot twists befitting a Broadway production, the UFC had hoped to bring clarity to its disorderly lightweight division with Saturday's UFC 223 fight card in Brooklyn, but it will be overshadowed by one man not on it - Conor McGregor.

Rounding out the five bout main card is Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder in a lightweight bout, Devin Clark vs. Mike Rodriguez in a light heavyweight bout, and Renato Moicano vs. Calvin Kattar in a featherweight bout.

"Showtime" was considered the early front-runner for the Nurmagomedov fight as he has the highest profile and once held the UFC lightweight title.

Pettis was originally scheduled to fight Michael Chiesa on Saturday.

The weigh in occurred on Monday morning at which Nurmagomedov made weight at 154.5lbs. If Pettis is indeed Nurmagomedov's opponent, Helwani says it would be a three-round bout.

Paul Felder was also entertained as an option because he was the only main card fighter to come in on championship weight. Pettis weighed in at 155.2 pounds, which would put him slightly over for a championship fight. The fight between Ray Borg and Brandon Moreno was canceled from the FS1 prelims because Borg suffered corneal abrasions during the incident.

It took some time to get it done, but after a few false starts, UFC 223 once again has a main event.

Artem Lobov was pulled from his fight with Alex Caceres, which was scheduled to air on UFC Fight Pass, because he was in the group with McGregor that vandalized the vehicle. Holloway then stepped in to save the fight. Holloway's nutritionist and weight-cut coach, George Lockhart, who is also working with Joanna Jedrzeczyk, referred to his pending weight-cut as tied for the most hard he's ever seen.

Information from ESPN's Brett Okamoto was used in this report. Holloway expresses its respect and Nurmagomedov Pettis, apologized to the Dagestani for the inability to compete with him. "As far as the commission goes, Khabib is the one that's eligible for the title".


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