The lightweight match-up between Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder that was scheduled for UFC 218 in Detroit on December 2nd has been scrapped.
MMAFighting journalist Ariel Helwani confirmed the cancellation this evening, revealing that Iaquinta was forced to withdraw through injury. The nature of Iaquinta’s injury was not specified.
It’s very disappointing news, as this had the potential to be a cracking contest. Iaquinta, who returned from a two-year hiatus to decimate Diego Sanchez in April, has won five straight and four of those have ended via KO/TKO. The only fighter he didn’t finish during that stretch was the teak-tough Jorge Masvidal, whom he topped via split decision. Felder meanwhile has scored two consecutive stoppage wins since a September 2016 defeat to Francisco Trinaldo and has cultivated a well-earned reputation as a consistently entertaining fighter over the last few years.
The current plan is for Felder to remain on the card, with Helwani reporting that Brazil’s Charles Oliveira is the front-runner for the spot opposite ‘The Irish Dragon.’
Though the loss of this fight is a blow to the card, it would take an awful lot more to blemish the UFC 218’s stunning beauty. It’s an absolutely stacked event, headlined by Max Holloway’s first defence of the UFC featherweight title against Frankie Edgar, with support from Alistair Overeem vs. super-prospect Francis Ngannou and a surefire blood-letting in Justin Gaethje vs. Edde Alvarez.
Let’s just hope this isn’t an early sign that the MMA gods have it in for this one.