Iaquinta Out, James Vick In Against Justin Gaethje at UFC Lincoln

James Vick UFC
James Vick Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

There’s a little less rage on the UFC Lincoln card, as Al Iaquinta has pulled out of the Nebraska event.

Al Iaquinta was all set for a Fight of the Year candidate against Justin Gaethje at UFC Lincoln next month. However, on Thursday, the UFC confirmed reports that Iaquinta had pulled out of the show’s main event. While a number of names were floated as possible replacements, it’s James Vick whose name came out of the hat. Vick (13-1) has long been vocal about fighting Gaethje. An announcement by the UFC refers to the relationship between them as a “long-standing personal feud.”

No reason was given for Iaquinta’s withdrawal.

Gaethje (18-2), a former WSOF lightweight champion, stormed into the UFC with a Fight of the Year dismantling of Michael Johnson at the TUF 25 Finale last year. Since then, he has dropped two straight, to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. However, his fan-friendly, walk forward and throw style has won him the adulation of UFC fans worldwide. All three of his UFC fights have earned Fight of the Night honors. His bout against Johnson also won him a Performance of the Night award, making it four bonuses in three fights. The entertaining war with Johnson was later awarded 2017’s Fight of the Year honor.

Vick, meanwhile, has won his last four. With three stoppages in that span, Vick now has the chance to slap Gaethje, something he previously said the fighter deserved.

UFC Lincoln, a.k.a. UFC Fight Night 135, takes place at the Pinnacle Bank Arena on August 25th