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Long Island’s Al Iaquinta among Ultimate Fighter 15 hopefuls

One-time Ring of Combat title contender Al Iaquinta (Wantagh, N.Y.) is among 32 lightweights who will compete for a guaranteed contract with the UFC beginning next Friday with a live, two-and-a-half-hour debut of "The Ultimate Fighter 15" on FX. Iaquinta will have to win his elimination-round fight to become an official cast member and one of 16 combatants to live in the Las Vegas-based mansion.

Iaquinta is a part of Long Island’s Serra-Longo Fight Team. He works with former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and longtime trainer Ray Longo, part of a team that also includes current UFC fighters Chris Weidman and Constantinos Philippou.

Iaquinta is 5-1-1 and off a submission defeat to Pat Audinwood in November. The scouting report is that of a natural striker with a strong wrestling background. He was a consensus top-ten wrestler (141 pounds) at Nassau Community College, across the street from Weidman’s alma mater (Hofstra University). His jiu jitsu game on the rise, Iaquinta will get his chance to show how far he’s developed when he takes his first step towards what he hopes will be a career of a lifetime.

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC