Long Island fighters Al Iaquinta and Gian Villante fall at UFC 268

1 year ago 119

There’s nary joyousness connected Long Island for combat fans.

Locals Al Iaquinta and Gian Villante some succumbed to strikes connected the preliminary information of UFC 268 astatine Madison Square Garden, successful the archetypal and 2nd rounds, respectively.

Iaquinta, a erstwhile lightweight rubric challenger, couldn’t get it going against California’s Bobby Green. A consecutive close disconnected a jab made Iaquinta stumble, and helium couldn’t retrieve arsenic Green swarmed with hammer fists until the referee waved disconnected the enactment astatine 2:25 of the archetypal frame.

Before a pumped-up Green screamed “New York” 4 times during his post-fight interrogation successful the octagon, helium alluded to a “Mortal Kombat” notation helium said was made by Iaquinta successful the lead-up to the fight, promising a “flawless victory.”

“No disrespect to Al. I emotion Al. He’s a large guy,” Green said. “But helium said helium was gonna ‘flawless victory’ me. But you person to beryllium cautious what you accidental due to the fact that you person to backmost it up astatine the extremity of the day.”

Villante, who announced this week helium would discontinue pursuing the event, was incapable to thrust disconnected into the sunset connected a precocious note. The heavyweight ate a dense roundhouse footwear from Chris Barnett, with follow-up strikes putting an extremity to the erstwhile Hofstra shot standout’s MMA career.

In the cage afterward, the affable Barnett commanded props for his hostile from Villante’s hometown crowd, and the fans obliged vociferously.

In possibly the astir predictable occurrence of the night, Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler blew the extortion disconnected the Garden to footwear disconnected the pay-per-view-portion of the proceedings.

Justin Gaethje kicks Michael Chandler during his triumph  astatine  UFC 268.Justin Gaethje kicks Michael Chandler during his triumph astatine UFC 268.Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The 2 elite lightweights exchanged dense blows for 15 minutes, punctuated by Gaethje dropping Chandler backward with a close uppercut 90 seconds into the 2nd framework connected his mode to a unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.

Chants of “Gaeth-je” and “Chand-ler” sang retired passim — mostly the archetypal one, arsenic helium was the arena’s corporate favorite.

After posing for a photograph with 1 another, a battered Chandler quoted “Gladiator” connected his mode to the back, shouting successful the absorption of fans down the media section: “Are you not entertained?” Safe to say, they were.

Bronx-born Shane Burgos, who grew up successful and fights retired of Monroe, N.Y., enactment his KO nonaccomplishment from earlier this twelvemonth down him, winning an entertaining unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, implicit Ransomville, N.Y. autochthonal Billy Quarantillo. The triumph was his archetypal since November 2019, the past clip the Garden hosted a UFC event, snapping a two-fight skid.

“I’m back, baby!” Burgos exclaimed successful the octagon aft the determination was read. “Two f—ing years since I had my manus raised.”

Frankie Edgar, the erstwhile lightweight champion who astatine property 40 is present competing astatine bantamweight, was stopped via strikes for the 2nd clip successful 2021.

Marlon Vera enactment an extremity to what was a adjacent combat done 2 rounds with a beforehand footwear up the mediate that dropped the Toms River, N.J., autochthonal for the decorativeness astatine 3:50 of the 3rd and last round. In February, helium had been floored by a convulsive flying genu by caller 135-pound rubric challenger Cory Sandhagen.

UFC paid tribute to longtime Post lensman Anthony Causi during the event, the promotion’s archetypal successful New York since Causi died successful April 2020 astatine property 48 of COVID-19.

A solid plaque with his representation speechmaking “In representation of Anthony Causi” was posted cageside, with an assigned media spot for him.