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Al Iaquinta vs. Donald Cerrone targeted for UFC Ottawa main event

Donald Cerrone won’t be fighting Conor McGregor next after all.

Al Iaquinta Donald Cerrone Justin Gaethje Edson Barboza UFC Ottawa Philadelphia Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

A pivotal lightweight contest is targeted for the UFC’s return to the Great White North’s capital city.

Al Iaquinta is expected to meet Donald Cerrone in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 8, which takes place May 4 in Ottawa, Canada. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported the news Tuesday evening. Per the report, both fighters have verbally agreed to the bout and it is nearly finalized.

Iaquinta is coming off one of the biggest wins of his career, a decision over Kevin Lee at UFC on FOX 31 — the final big FOX show — last December. The main-event victory marked Iaquinta’s second win over Lee, the first coming in early 2014. Iaquinta bounced back from a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, in which “The Eagle” won the vacant lightweight title, at UFC 223 last April.

After recent struggles at welterweight, Cerrone has won two in a row — one at 170 pounds and one since moving back down to lightweight. Most recently, “Cowboy” stopped rising 155-pound fighter Alexander Hernandez at UFC Brooklyn, the promotion’s first show in the ESPN era. Before that, the veteran fighter tapped Mike Perry with an armbar late last year.

Cerrone has lately been linked to a bout against former two-division champ Conor McGregor, but it has seemingly failed to come to fruition.

UFC Ottawa, which takes place at Canadian Tire Centre, also features a middleweight bout between Derek Brunson and Elias Theodorou.

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