The UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Bisping co-main event between lightweights Al Iaquinta and Ross Pearson had all the ingredients for an exciting fight that probably wouldn’t go the distance. And the two didn’t disappoint.
Pearson took the center of the octagon and pressured Iaquinta, who circled on the outside. He inched forward, but Iaquinta was timing his movement and catching him with counter right hands.
Pearson continued to move forward in the second frame but found himself unable to box Iaquinta in. As Pearson threw a kick, Iaquinta countered with a right hand that knocked the Englishman down. Pearson got back to his feet, but Iaquinta swarmed him with a barrage of punches. Pearson crumbled to the canvas and the referee had no choice but to stop the fight.
“I feel awesome,” said Iaquinta after the biggest win over his career. “It was the first time I’ve fought in front of a packed crowd. I fight better when I fight better guys. I fight better when I fight in front of more people.”
The 27-year-old attributed his confidence and success to his Team Serra-Longo coaches and training partners.
“I said I’m coming in here to strike. I feel confident. I train with the best guys in the world,” said the New Yorker. “It’s confidence. You freakin reporters at that press conference asking why I thought I was better. This is why (referencing Ray Longo and Matt Serra). That’s why.”
After his win over Rodrigo Damm in September, Iaquinta asked for a top ten level opponent. He got one in Pearson. The win put Iaquinta on a two-fight winning streak.
“I’m going to go suplex a kangaroo. I’m going to put Jaws in a camel clutch, and I’m going to make the lightweight division humble,” said Iaquinta when asked what’s next for him.
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