A series of bizarre events that seemed to culminate with Conor McGregor headed to jail led to the cancellation of four bouts at UFC 223 and the creation of a new main event that will headline the makeshift card.

UFC 223 Nurmagomedov Iaquinta
Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight Al Iaquinta to headline a UFC 223 card that has been decimated after Conor McGregors bus attack. (Image: Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)

Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0) will now fight Al Iaquinta (13-3) in the main event of the show, which is taking place Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Nurmagomedov was supposed to fight interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson in the headliner, until Ferguson suffered a freak knee injury during a media event last week.

Holloway Cant Make Weight

As a replacement, the UFC planned to have featherweight champion Max Holloway step up in weight class to face Nurmagomedov, with the winner being named the official lightweight champion. But Holloway only not been preparing to fight this weekend, and had to cut a tremendous amount of weight – a Deadspin report speculated that it would be at least 26 pounds – in just six days.

While Holloway seemingly got close to that target, the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) deemed him medically unfit to compete, ending any hopes that the match could top the card.

My brother I want to keep going but they are stopping me, Holloway tweeted to Nurmagomedov after the news broke. Sorry to your team and the fans. You dont deserve this.

With Nurmagomedov still ready to fight, UFC officials scrambled to find another viable opponent. Thats when Conor McGregors attack on a bus carrying several fighters at Thursdays media day scrambled the UFC 223 card even further.

Reshuffled Card

The incident that sent McGregor temporarily to jail left Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg with injuries that prevented them from fighting on Saturday. Additionally, McGregor training teammate Artem Lobov was pulled from the card for his role in the attack.

While that eliminated three more bouts, it did open up new avenues for the main event. Pettis is a former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, making him a credible (if underwhelming) opponent for Khabib. But he weighed in at 155.2 pounds, just ounces over the 155 pound limit for the lightweight championship.

Pettis was cleared by NYSAC for a non-championship fight at his weight, but he declined to take that option. The UFC then planned to turn to Paul Felder, who weighed in at 155.0 pounds for his planned fight against Iaquinta. But Felder does not appear on UFCs official list of the top 15 lightweights, reportedly leading NYSAC to block the fight on the grounds that he was not highly enough ranked.

That left No. 11 ranked Iaquinta as the next logical choice. Iaquinta weighed in at 155.2 pounds himself, however, meaning he will not win the lightweight championship should he win the fight. Nurmagomedov will still be named champion should he defeat Iaquinta.

Betting Opportunities after Bedlam

Bookmakers have made Nurmagomedov a heavy favorite in this last-minute matchup. The undefeated Russian is a -500 pick at Bovada, while Iaquinta can be backed at +350.

Despite the chaos of the last 48 hours, UFC 223 still features several quality fights. The biggest draw may now be the rematch between womens strawweight champion Rose Namajunas (7-3) and former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1).

Namajunas captured the title by beating Jedrzejczyk in a major upset last November. The two fighters are considered evenly matched heading into their second encounter, with Jedrzejczyk (-120) being given only the slightest of edges over Namajunas (-110).