Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight veterans Al Iaquinta and Diego Sanchez collided last night (April 22, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 108 inside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
One of the bigger stories to come from last night’s event was the return of Iaquinta, who disappeared as a top-ranked Lightweight on a four-fight win streak two years back. Opposite Sanchez, Iaquinta looked to shake off some rust and return to active competition.
Sanchez’s unexpected recent success earned him this step up in competition. The former title challenged was faced with a rough style match up, but there was also some major upside with a victory.
This one didn't last long.
Iaquinta took the cage and moved well. Sanchez didn't rush into the brawl, instead looking to land some kicks. Then, Iaquinta's right hand returned to the UFC as well.
The first right hand of the fight hurt Sanchez badly and sent him to the mat. "Nightmare" attempted to use a takedown to recover, but it didn't take long for Iaquinta to line up and land more right hands. Sanchez tried to hang on, but he crumpled to the mat less than two minutes into the round.
Ladies and gentleman, that's how you make a comeback.
Pretty much everything went Iaquinta's way. Sanchez landed a couple decent blows, but Iaquinta just waited for his moment to land. It didn't take long to arise, and Iaquinta was able to force the finish without much issue shortly after.
As I wrote in the lead up to this fight, Sanchez was pretty much a softball stylistically for Iaquinta. The New Yorker is damn tough to take down and does a great job of finding a home for his clubbing right hand. Sanchez has always been tough, but even at his best he was never a defensive wizard.
That right hand was going to land, and Sanchez couldn't take it at this point in his career.
Moving forward, Iaquinta deserves to resume his status as a top-ranked contender. For his next bout, someone along the lines of Beneil Dariush would be a great match up to see how he stacks up with 2017's best Lightweights.
As for Sanchez, he faced an uphill battle since this bout was announced. He didn't look bad on his feet, but his defense left him a sitting duck to Iaquinta's sharp boxing. Sanchez has been able to get by despite his boxing defense for a long time because of incredibly physical and mental toughness, but his chin has definitely deteriorated in the last year or so. Nevertheless, Sanchez seems to have little interest in retiring. He should receive a step back in competition next, as the Lightweight elite passed him by some time ago.
Last night at UFC Fight Night 108, Al Iaquinta returned to the cage with a violent knockout. Who should “Raging Al” face next?
For complete UFC Fight Night 108: “Swanson vs. Lobov” results and play-by-play, click HERE!