When he signed up for The Ultimate Fighter, Al Iaquinta knew his future opponents would get an up-close look at what he brings to the Octagon.
Being cast on the show put his training and fights on national television.
Iaquinta’s next opponent, Kevin Lee, likely saw everything he did on the show – and will not be providing “Raging Al” with the same video footage prior to their UFC 169 bout on February 1.
Lee will be making his UFC debut that night, while Iaquinta (7-2-1) solidified his spot in the lightweight division with a pair of decision victories in 2013.
“It is pretty hard to scout a guy making his debut,” said Iaquinta in a recent interview with FightLine.com. “He looks to be a pretty tough up-and-comer. He is undefeated, but he has definitely not faced the level of competition that I have faced in my career.”
Iaquinta has defeated the likes of Ryan Couture and Piotr Hallmann for official wins, while also topping Myles Jury during his run to a second place finish on TUF.
After heading to Team Alpha Male late last year to learn some new tricks with Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes, Iaquinta is back home at Serra-Longo with former UFC champion Matt Serra and legendary trainer Ray Longo.
“I’m always adding little things to my game, but nothing drastic (in terms of changes),” Iaquinta said. “We have a good formula for success, so there is not too much of a reason for big changes.”
That “success” includes current UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman, who Iaquinta watched in December when he defeated Anderson Silva for a second time. Weidman checked a leg kick by Silva that resulted in a broken tibia and fibula for “The Spider.”
“Chris really dominated the first fight and the second fight,” said Iaquinta, regarding a second round TKO victory for Weidman over Silva in early 2013, as well, as the one to close out the year. “In past fights, (Silva) was able to throw kicks without setting them up and he got away with it in their first fight.
“This fight, he threw a telegraphed kick and Chris checked it; a technique he worked very hard on leading up to the fight. It is very unfortunate that Anderson suffered such a devastating injury, and I know that Chris would never wish that upon anyone.”
While Weidman took the spotlight at UFC 168, Iaquinta will get his chance to do the same as part of the televised prelims for UFC 169. And, while it isn’t his home state of New York, he will be competing in nearby New Jersey – allowing for an expected large home-cage advantage.
“I’m really excited to be on the TV portion of the card,” he said. “I have been putting in the work and I deserve to be where I’m at.
“It’s going to be great to have all my family and friends there to support me.”