Hectic Week, Churns Out Two Champions

UFC 223: Nurmagomedov v IaquintaWhat started as one of the more anticipated fight cards for those fight fans that knew the level of talent on the card turned into a circus in the matter a few minutes.

That is how long it took Conor McGregor to blow up a card and step far over the line that he had been walking for the last few years.

McGregor led a group into the Barclays Center during media day on Thursday and went after Khabib Nurmagomedov.

It was reportedly an attempt to get at Nurmagomedov after he slapped Artem Lobov, McGregor’s training partner when they ran into each other at the fighter hotel.

McGregor is notoriously loyal and notoriously a hot head who doesn’t think before he acts which was clear on Thursday.

He led his group towards the fighter buses and began trying to smash the windows to get at Nurmagomedov.

In the process, the buses were damaged and fighters were put in harm’s way leading to massive changes to the card.

Michael Chiesa was set to fight Anthony Pettis in what was sure to be an entertaining fight but when McGregor broke one of the windows in the bus he hit Chiesa and opened up a cut.

Ray Borg was also on the bus and after the incident complained of issues with his eyes believing that glass made it tough for him to close his eyes.

Both Chiesa and Borg were removed from the card while strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas was close to pulling out herself but remained on.

Two fights were cancelled and with Lobov along for the ride with McGregor, his fight was cancelled as well.

It only added to the issues for UFC 223 which had seen a very anticipated main event change when interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson was injured.

The changes didn’t even stop there as the man filling in for Ferguson against Nurmagomedov, Max Holloway, was pulled on Friday when he was declared medically unfit to fight.

The UFC tried to replace Holloway with Pettis and then Paul Felder but neither could make the weight in time.

In stepped Al Iaquinta who also couldn’t make weight but was still given the fight in order to save the card.

The card went from having one of the most anticipated matchups and a card full of fun fights to a title fight that would only see a title if one man won and a far reduced version of the main card.

While all of this was going on one fight was overshadowed more than any other as the strawweight rematch between current champion Namajunas and former champion Joanna Jędrzeczyk.

It might not have been the most anticipated fight but it was an interesting fight between the woman who shocked the world in 2017 and the woman that nobody thought would ever lose.

Although the fight almost didn’t happen thanks to the actions of McGregor it remained the biggest fight to stay intact.

The two women put on a show to make sure that nobody would forget them when the night was over.

It was a battle and although it wasn’t an all-out brawl it was a display of just how far women’s fighting has come.

The champion proved to everyone that she did belong getting the best of Jędrzeczyk early on in the fight.

It began to turn the challenger’s way though and the fight only got tighter until the final round where Namajunas turned on the pressure and left little doubt who the champion was.mma-sidebar.fw

Namajunas kept the belt with a unanimous decision win and will move on as the champion where she will likely take on Karolina Kowalkiewicz who won earlier in the night.

Then there was the lightweight fight that was supposed to be the biggest fight of the night and the kickoff to a role of pretty good fight cards.

Everyone had been waiting to see Ferguson and Nurmagomedov but for the fourth time, the fight was called off.

Other replacements like Holloway looked like it would at least be interesting but after going down the list, Iaquinta was the last man willing to take the fight.

The entire time Nurmagomedov was looking towards that belt and bigger things while Iaquinta was looking to take advantage of the opportunity and shock the world in beating one of the scariest fighters in the UFC.

It was all supposed to be processional for Nurmagomedov as he was always considered one of the scariest fighters in the UFC and Iaquinta wasn’t even close to being a top contender while also taking the fight on two days notice.

It should have been a clinic of punishing wrestling from the Russian but Iaquinta had other plans.

Although Nurmagomedov was pretty dominant throughout the fight, Iaquinta lasted the entire fight and landed shots that could have ended things early.

It wasn’t as simple and easy for the Russian as everyone thought and although he is the new lightweight champion there may be something to what Iaquinta showed the world on short notice.

He will move on to defend his belt but nobody knows exactly who that fighter will be and who deserves the shot.

Ferguson would love the shot but Dana White isn’t too happy about making that fight for the fifth time while McGregor now has criminal charges to look after while Nurmagomedov called out Georges St. Pierre.

The changes were constant this week and the news was a little crazy at times but the fight went on.

There were some surprises and plenty of good fights while two champions walked away on top after one of the strangest weeks in UFC history.

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