Mixed martial arts gains following on LI

The combat sport of choke holds, jabs and uppercuts, armbars and double-leg takedowns is captivating a new audience, feeding Long Island's growing business of mixed martial arts training.

Wantagh's Al Iaquinta hangs TUF with win

Life inside the "TUF" house can be, well, tough.

Iaquinta Nation braces for UFC's Ultimate Finale

In the seconds after the Rangers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, only a few people inside McCann's Pub in Massapequa noticed. Most of the 53 televisions were tuned in to FX to watch Wantagh's Al Iaquinta in the semifinals of "The Ultimate Fighter."

Wantagh's Al Iaquinta reaches 'The Ultimate Fighter' finale

With that on Friday night, Al Iaquinta, a 24-year-old mixed martial artist from Wantagh, earned his way into the season finale of "The Ultimate Fighter Live."

Long Island's Al Iaquinta wins way onto 'Ultimate Fighter'

Five minutes was all Al Iaquinta had to put his life on a path that could possibly lead to fortune and fame later on.

The Wantagh-based mixed martial artist used every one of those 300 seconds to solidify a unanimous decision over Jon Tuck in the elimination round of "The Ultimate Fighter: Live" on Friday night in Las Vegas. Iaquinta (5-1-1) will be one of the 16 lightweight fighters who earn a spot on the 15th season of the UFC's reality competition show, which moved to FX after seven years on Spike.

'TUF: Live' winner Al Iaquinta: Later rounds always belong to me

Down a round? That's no problem for Al Iaquinta.

The lightweight won a pair of bonus awards for his performances on the inaugural season of "The Ultimate Fighter: Live." He joined castmates Joe Proctor and Myles Jury with post-season bonuses.

Iaquinta, Proctor, Jury Take Home $25K Awards with 'TUF: LIVE' Season Bonuses

Al Iaquinta's consolation prize wasn't so bad.

The lightweight won a pair of bonus awards for his performances on the inaugural season of "The Ultimate Fighter: Live." He joined castmates Joe Proctor and Myles Jury with post-season bonuses.

Teammates Al Iaquinta, Andy Ogle matched in TUF bout

Al Iaquinta- and Andy Ogle each wear blue "Ultimate Fighter" shirts. They each call Urijah Faber their coach. And they will be in the cage Friday night trying to beat up each other to the point where one of them gives up, the referee stops the bout or their opponent is knocked out.

Iaquinta and Ogle meet in a "TUF" quarterfinal Friday at 10 p.m. on FX. Chris Saunders and Vinc Pichel fight in another quarterfinal. Michael Chiesa and James Vick advanced to the semifinals last week. The Ultimate Finale is June 1 at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas, with the winner earning a guaranteed six-figure contract with the UFC

Iaquinta vs Miglioli I Wins TheGarv.com Fight of the Year!

Al Iaquinta vs. Gabriel Miglioli 1. Held at Ring of Combat XXXVI on June 17, the fight ended in a split decision win for Iaquinta. The judges were Henry Krawiec, Tony Tamburrino and Michelle Agustin and the bout was scored 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29. This fight was an absolute war, and is the hands down winner.

Taurus Taps Rogers Prospects Iaquinta, DeBlass Win at ROC 37

Iaquinta landed a high kick that staggered his opponent and he quickly swarmed on him, landing vicious blows until referee Keith Peterson stopped the fight just 26 seconds of the first round. There were some questions about whether or not the head kick from Iaquinta was also an eye poke but the debate bore no fruit. With the win Iaquinta, 24, moves to 5-0-1 in his young career.

TOP EAST COAST PROSPECTS AL IAQUINTA AND SEAN SANTELLA GRIND OUT DECISIONS AT RING OF COMBAT 36

Undefeated lightweight prospect Al Iaquinta (5-0-1) made a successful return from a 19 month layoff with a spilt decision victory over Gabriel Miglioli (2-2). The 24 year old Iaquinta survived a knockdown and a nasty cut in the fight's opening round after Miglioli dropped with an elbow. Miglioli unloaded his chamber of strikes on the ground but was not able to finish Iaquinta.

Iaquinta's boxing game took over in the second round as the New York lightweight beat Miglioli to the punch and sealed the round with an emphatic takedown. In the third round Iaquinta again planted Miglioli on his back in the early moments of the frame. A mix of ground n' pound and two more consecutive Iaquinta sealed the gutsy comeback for the Serra-Longo Fight Team product.

Serra-Longo an Exception to the Rule

At a time when many fighters switch trainers about as often as they change underwear, the long-standing relationship between former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and New York-based striking guru Ray Longo has become an exception to the rule.

Their union, which has lasted nearly 20 years, paid dividends once again on Saturday, as Serra knocked out former Icon Sport titleholder Frank Trigg in a featured bout at UFC 109 “Relentless” at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Iaquinta featured in CBS sports "Nine Who Will Shine"

With the current generation of MMA stars such as Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Matt Hughes beginning to see the end of their careers in sight, the sport will have to look to a new generation of stars to ensure it continues to grow. With the quality and quantity of athletes taking up the sport increasing, the growth and popularity of MMA might not only be able to sustain itself but also reach highs never thought possible.

The new year has commenced, and a new crop of fresh talent appears on the verge of breaking out. Here are nine names CBSSports.com believes will become the biggest breakout stars in the upcoming year.

Matt Serra Fighting for MMA in New York

As leaders in Albany struggle to deal with the state's fiscal problems, they should think outside the box and inside the Octagon.

Last April, I fought Georges St. Pierre in a rematch of the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title match. Our sport is banned in New York, and this fight [UFC 83] was held in Montreal, St. Pierre's hometown. The sold-out crowd of 21,000 was less than welcoming - everywhere I went that weekend, I heard jeers and boos. When I eventually lost the match, the cheers for my opponent were deafening.