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Al Iaquinta opens as massive underdog to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Iaquinta vs Sanchez
Al Iaquinta faces Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The oddsmakers aren’t putting a lot of faith in Al Iaquinta.

“Ragin’ Al” opened as a massive betting underdog to Khabib Nurmagomedov following UFC 223’s last-second main event switch. Gambling website 5Dimes initially slotted Iaquinta as a more than 5-to-1 underdog (+550) and Nurmagomedov as a remarkable 10-to-1 favorite (-1050). The lines have since been heavily betted down, with Iaquinta now sitting at +345 odds and Nurmagomedov at -515 at the time of this writing.

Iaquinta was abruptly thrust into UFC 223’s main event after the card’s original replacement headliner, Max Holloway, was deemed medically unfit to continue cutting weight on Friday at UFC 223’s official weigh-ins. Iaquinta was previously slated to meet Paul Felder in an undercard battle at UFC 223, however a bizarre series of circumstances resulted in him getting the call-up to challenge Nurmagomedov.

Iaquinta (13-3-1) has won five consecutive fights and is 8-1 over his last nine outings. Highlighting that stretch is a split decision win over current welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal and a scintillating 98-second knockout of Diego Sanchez.

Nurmagomedov (25-0) is widely considered to be one of the most talented fighters in the world, regardless of weight class. The undefeated Dagestani has dominated all nine of his Octagon foes, including recent victories over Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson.

Nurmagomedov will be eligible to win the lightweight title at UFC 223, however, because Iaquinta weighed 155.2 at official weigh-ins — .2 pounds over championship weight — the native New Yorker will not be competing for the chance to win a belt.