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Rafael Fiziev proposes fight with Al Iaquinta, Iaquinta responds

Rafael Fiziev is hoping to keep his momentum alive with a fight against another notable name in the lightweight division after his UFC 256 victory.

Rafael Fiziev earned himself a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus with a stunning knockout over Renato Moicano at UFC 256 this past Saturday and he would like to capitalize off of that and stay as busy as possible in 2021.

The best way to do that is to go for another notable name for his first fight in the new year, so he has called for one against former lightweight title challenger and No. 10 ranked contender, Al Iaquinta. Shortly after his fight with Moicano, Fiziev took to social media to propose a fight with Iaquinta and threw in the added bonus of it being on the same card as the soon-to-be rescheduled bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

This added stipulation is significant because both Fiziev and Yan are teammates under the Tiger Muay Thai stable, while Iaquinta and Sterling are part of the Serra-Longo Fight Team.

The proposal caught the attention of Iaquinta, who immediately commended Fiziev for his performance against Moicano, but proceeded to decline the fight. In his response, Iaquinta said that the fight was “probably not going to happen”, which prompted many to wonder what the unfortunate circumstances were that would stop it from happening.

Responding to two separate Twitter users, Iaquinta revealed that he is in physical therapy at the moment after having two surgeries. Iaquinta did not provide further detail on what the surgeries were for, but it is clear he will not be returning around the time Fiziev would have wanted to fight again.

Iaquinta last competed at UFC 243 opposite of Dan Hooker in the co-main event of the night. He would lose by way of unanimous decision, which was his second straight loss following his unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Donald Cerrone a few months prior at UFC Fight Night: Iaquinta vs. Cowboy in May 2019.