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07th Sep 2016

First fights reportedly set for historic UFC New York card are absolutely perfect

Matchmakers getting it right

Ben Kiely

UFC 205 is not the card for circus fights.

November 12, 2016 will be a landmark day for MMA. Nearly two decades after the sport was outlawed in the state, it will take centre stage in the iconic MGM Grand Garden Arena following the landmark decision to legalise the sport in April.

The event promises to be a massive spectacle, not because of any marquee names attached to it, but rather due to the how it’s symbolic of how far the sport has grown since the days it was lambasted as “human cock-fighting”.

UFC stars such as Jon Jones, Matt Serra and Chris Weidman never had the chance to fight on the biggest stage in front of a home crowd, so when it was announced that the UFC would be heading to the Big Apple, there really was only one thing the matchmakers needed to do – load the card up with New Yorkers.

There are rumours that former middleweight champion Weidman and Yoel Romero have verbally agreed to duke it out on the card and there’s talk of Niagara Falls’ Rashad Evans making his middleweight debut against Tim Kennedy.

No fights have been confirmed yet, but the reported match-up that’s been getting the most traction also features a New Yorker.

Both MMA Fighting and Combate are reporting that a lightweight scrap between Al Iaquinta (12-3-1) and Thiago Alves (21-10) is in the works for the card.

GettyImages-462608036Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Long Island’s Raging Al has won four fights on the bounce, but has not competed since a split decision win over Jorge Masvidal in April 2015 after suffering a knee surgery. He has won seven of his last eight fights and is considered to be one of the top lightweights in the world.

Former welterweight contender Alves would be making his 155 lb debut for this fight and hasn’t fought since losing via doctor stoppage to Carlos Condit in May 2015.

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