UFC will debut in Lincoln, Nebraska with a battle of lightweight contenders guaranteed to deliver fireworks, as No.7-ranked Justin Gaethje faces No.10 Al Iaquinta. Plus, it’s a clash of dynamic flyweight contenders, as No.6-ranked John Moraga goes for his fourth straight win when he takes on undefeated No.14 Deiveson Figueiredo. UFC Fight Night: Gaethje vs. Iaquinta goes down Saturday, Aug. 25 from Pinnacle Bank Arena and will air live on FS1.
Though he’s only made three trips to the Octagon, Gaethje (18-2, fighting out of Arvada, Colo.) has already proven to be must-watch television. Each of his UFC outings have earned Fight of the Night honors, with ‘The Highlight’ also taking home a Performance of the Night bonus for his spectacular TKO win over Michael Johnson in his UFC debut. Following consecutive wars with Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, Gaethje is set to re-assert himself as a title threat in the stacked lightweight division.
A heavy-handed striker, Iaquinta (13-4-1, fighting out of Wantagh, N.Y.) turned heads this past April when he stepped in on one day’s notice to face Khabib Nurmagomedov. Though he came up short, Iaquinta put on a gutsy performance that firmly established himself as a 155-pound contender. During his UFC run, Iaquinta has netted impressive wins against Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal and Diego Sanchez. Iaquinta now looks to crack the division’s top 10 with a show-stealing win over Gaethje.
A former flyweight title challenger, Moraga (19-6, fighting out of Phoenix, Ariz.) has fought the 125-pound division’s best. Over the course of his UFC stint, he’s delivered impressive victories against Wilson Reis, Magomed Bibulatov, Justin Scoggins, Dustin Ortiz and Chris Cariaso. Moraga hopes to continue his ascent to another championship opportunity by handing a surging prospect his first loss.
Though he only made his UFC debut one year ago, Figueiredo (14-0, fighting out of Soure, Brazil) has already turned heads in the flyweight division. After stopping Marco Beltran in his debut last June, the rising star edged out Jarred Brooks before earning a dominant TKO win over Joseph Morales. Figueiredo is now poised to crack the top 10 if he can score a spectacular victory against Moraga.