Dan Hooker vs. Al Iaquinta verbally agreed for UFC 243 in Melbourne

Dan Hooker will, indeed, get his wish.

Verbal agreements are in place between Hooker and Al Iaquinta for UFC 243, set to take place at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia on Oct. 5 (Oct. 6 locally). MMA Junkie confirmed the matchup with a person with knowledge of the booking following an initial report from ESPN. The person requested anonymity because the UFC has yet to make an official announcement.

Hooker (18-8 MMA, 8-4 UFC) has been campaigning for a fight with Iaquinta (14-5-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC) since his first-round knockout win over James Vick at this past month’s UFC on ESPN 4.

The two have gone back and forth on Twitter, with Hooker claiming that Iaquinta turned the fight down. Iaquinta rebutted, saying that he’d love to take a fight Down Under, and that the UFC had never offered him the matchup.

It appears that the UFC has now, with the pair verbally agreeing to fight and expected to sign contracts within the next few days.

Iaquinta is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Donald Cerrone at May’s UFC on ESPN+ 9, in a “Fight of the Night effort.” He has previously competed in Australia earlier in his UFC career, when he defeated Ross Pearson in Sydney, at UFC Fight Night 55 in 2014.

UFC 243 is headlined by a middleweight title unification bout between middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

With the addition to the card, UFC 243 now includes:

  • Champ Robert Whittaker vs. Interim champ Israel Adesanya – to unify middleweight title
  • Dan Hooker vs. Al Iaquinta
  • Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington
  • Megan Anderson vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos
  • Nadia Kassem vs. Ji Yeon Kim
  • Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima
  • Yorgan De Castro vs. Justin Tafa
  • Sergey Spivak vs. Tai Tuivasa

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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