I’ve been to more underground fight shows than I can count, and it’s almost a given that someone from the audience is going to volunteer to fight, filling in a hole in the card, and that audience member is going to win.

Tonight’s UFC 223 is a far cry from an underground show, and Al Iaquinta is certainly no last-minute replacement plucked from the crowd. But I’m telling you, there are similarities there.

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Of course, taking on top-ranked lightweight challenger Khabib Nurmagomedov is a tall order for anyone – never mind that Iaquinta is doing so with just a day to game plan. However, just look at the training partners “Ragin’ Al” has to work with:

A post shared by Al Iaquinta (@aliaquinta) on

With only a short time to cobble something together, UFC commentator Jimmy Smith and light-heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier sat down in front of a camera and broke down the match-up. Yes, it’s a tough one for Iaquinta. Yes, Nurmagomedov is the heavy favorite.

But there something to be said about underdogs in the Octagon…

…Sometimes they end up champs.