UFC: Israel Adesanya Up To Follow Jon Jones At Heavyweight

UFC, Jon Jones

The heavyweight division of the UFC got more interesting when Jon Jones announced his plans to vacate the light heavyweight belt and move up. Jones has cleaned out most of the division over the course of his career, but new challenges await at heavyweight. One of those challenges could be a clash with Israel Adesanya, who will now almost certainly miss on a chance to take Jones on at light heavyweight.

Right now, of course, Adesanya is a middleweight. It makes the idea of a matchup at heavyweight a bit awkward. There’s a larger size gap between middleweight and heavyweight than there is between heavyweight and light heavyweight.

However, it doesn’t seem like the larger gap is deterring Adesanya from pursuing a fight with Jones at some point in the future. Maybe even the near future. Adesanya was open to the chance of fighting Jones at light heavyweight but wanted to defend his middleweight title first. He did that in March, against Yoel Romero. Now, jumping up for a high profile superfight isn’t off the cards.

Will the fight ever happen? Adesanya thinks so.

In a recent virtual media event, Adesanya had some strong words for Jones and said that he hasn’t moved away from his plans.

“One hundred percent. It doesn’t change my plans. My plan is still going forward as planned. So, yeah, same thing. Look how long it took him to move up to heavyweight, finally. Like I said, he was expecting me to do it straight away, when I hadn’t even defended my belt yet. I’ve defended my belt twice now, I want to defend it a few more times and then do what I set out to do,” Adesanya said.

He likened Jones to the pot calling the kettle black. He said, however, that he hopes current heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou doesn’t ‘break’ Jones – presumably because Adesanya himself still wants a shot at the former light heavyweight champ.

In any case, the fans win if this matchup happens – Adesanya has never lost and is currently 19-0 with a habit for entertaining wins, and Jones has a history of dominating some of the best competition in the UFC. If the two ever do meet at heavyweight, it’s almost guaranteed to be one of the closest and most entertaining bouts we’ve seen in a long time.

New York Mets: Conforto’s Two Run Homer Saves the Mets in 5-3 Win

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

Per usual for the New York Mets, the found a way to squander another Jacob deGrom start. The wild combination of Dellin Betances and Edwin Diaz loaded the bases then walked in the game-tying run. Luckily Michael Conforto came through to give the Mets the lead in the ninth with a two-run homer.

Manager Luis Rojas elected to leave Diaz in there to finish the ninth inning and shut the door. Diaz struck out the side and made it look relatively easy. It got the Mets their first three-game winning streak of the season and moved them to 12-14 on the season.

It was mysterious as to why Seth Lugo was not in the game at any point. The speculation is that he will start Thursday’s game instead of Steven Matz. The Conforto homer saves Rojas from some serious questioning as to why he stuck with Betances so long and then followed it with Diaz.

deGrom Dominant

Jacob deGrom was dialed in from the beginning. He shutout the Marlins for six innings and held their offense to only four hits with seven strikeouts. After receiving extended bullpen outings over the past two nights, they needed deGrom to give them some length on the mound.

Dominic Smith and Luis Guillorme remained extremely hot. Smith recorded two doubles, one resulting in an RBI and the other resulting in Guillorme driving him in. Guillorme also recorded two hits to move his average to .464 and is continuing to become a player the Mets cannot afford to keep out of the lineup.

The Mets shoot for the sweep as either Lugo or Matz take the mound against Daniel Castano at 6:10 p.m. in the final game from Marlins Park.

 

New York Yankees: Good news and Bad news following torturous loss to Tampa Bay

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees fell for the second consecutive game at home to the Tampa Bay Rays, who have displayed dominant pitching in both contests. On Wednesday evening, starter Tyler Glasnow pummeled the Yankees with heat-seeking fastballs, closing in on 100 MPH. His 8Ks over 5.2 innings were impressive, and while Gerrit Cole was sufficient for the Bombers, he gave up two homers and allowed six hits.

Cole has now given up a home run in six consecutive games, daring hitters with his changeup but has failed to get that bite at times. The loss shouldn’t be attributed to Cole, though, who once again limited his opposition.

The Yankees’ primary problem was their offense, who only scored two runs. Overall, they had four hits on the night, a desperate attempt without their three best players: Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and DJ LeMahieu.

FINAL SCORE: 4-2

The good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

The Yankees’ offense has been lackluster in the absence of their three best players. The pitching with solid, despite Zack Britton allowing one run in the only inning of work he managed on Wednesday. The good news really doesn’t have much to do with the game itself, but rather the progression of their injured players.

DJ LeMahieu was seen throwing the ball and fielding a bit prior to the start of the game, as he works his way back from my thumb injury. He stated that it was sore, but doctors have advised him to sit out for at least two weeks. While the Yankees could certainly use his offensive abilities sooner, taking every precaution with one of their top players is essential.

Aaron Judge, on the other hand, has been taking batting practice and training well. He is ready to return when his 10-day spell on the injured list is up. While manager Aaron Boone was more cautiously optimistic regarding Judge’s health, the slugger has stated he’s ready to return.

BAD NEWS:

The bad news comes down to offense. Being held just four hits is unacceptable for a Yankee team capable of much more. Despite not having their three best hitters, they have plenty of talent to go around and supplement their losses adequately. It is OK to have an off game, but the Yankees didn’t do much in the first game against Tampa Bay, putting up three runs.

In the sixth inning, with Gerrit Cole at 109 pitches, Boone took him out of the game. Cole was visibly upset and frustrated that he wasn’t able to get the final out, storming out of the dugout and into the clubhouse. This isn’t entirely bad news, but Boone not letting him finish the inning could create some animosity between the two.

Boone always states that Zack Britton was holding leg after his outing and they were running tests on him after the game (more to come on this).

Rangers’ Anthony DeAngelo defends fellow teammate

Anthony deangelo

New York Rangers defenseman Anthony DeAngelo enjoys going back and forth with hockey fans on his Twitter account. Whether it is about politics, his favorite sports teams or just to get fans talking about what’s going on in the world, he never seems to keep his opinion to himself.

Wednesday the 24-year-old defenseman did what he does best.  He defended his teammate, Brett Howden.  Howden has been a target of many in the Rangers Twitter world.  During this time when the team is out of the playoffs, bloggers and anti-Howden fans have been ripping the forwards last season and suggesting the club trade him.

DeAngelo decided to use his platform to defend Howden with a tweet that grabbed everyone’s attention.

DeAngelo confidently stated why people have focused their criticism towards the second-year player.

“He’s become the focus of criticism because people have zero idea what they are talking about. He’s a young, talented hardworking player that is liked by everyone in the organization. Plays hard, both ends of [the] ice and is SO young still. Take Brett Howden every day of the week!”

So powerful words which should come as no surprise to anyone who follows DeAngelo or listens to his podcast “Watch Your Tone”

In a time of pointing fingers and laying blame in our society, its refreshing to see one player stand up for another with fear of backlash or further negative comments.

Regardless if DeAngelo is on the ice or typing on his phone, the defenseman always protects his Blueshirt teammates.

Report: New York Jets in on Yannick Ngakoue sweepstakes

New York Giants, Yannick Ngakoue

Well, this is something. The New York Jets are reportedly “deeply involved” in talks with the Jaguars for the services of Yannick Ngakoue per Michael Lombardi. The former exec previously reported he foresees a deal occurring for Ngakoue very soon. Ngakoue has been a rumored trade candidate all offseason, and could finally be heading to a new location. Ngakoue heading to New York would change the organizational landscape.

What It Would Mean

Adding Yannick would absolutely reshape the defense. For starters, the Jets would have their first true pass rusher in years. At just 25, Yannick has barely scratched the surface of what he could be. In just four seasons, Yannick has 122 tackles, 37.5 Sacks, 14 Forced Fumbles, 42 TFLs, and 2 INTs. Yannick is an absolute freak who would be an impact player immediately.

Not only that but adding a pass rusher like Yannick changes the way opposing offenses game plan for this defense. This then allows guys like Jordan Jenkins, who’s always been better suited as a number two pass rusher, to truly flourish. You’d also see a guy like Quinnen Williams, who’s already showing an impressive level of growth in training camp, take a huge step up with less attention on him. The whole defense would benefit from a pass rush. The weak secondary would be able to be masked all the more. Most of all, Yannick would bring the star-like presence that the Jets lost just a few weeks ago in the Adams trade.

Will It Happen?

It remains to be seen if Douglas will pull off such a deal. The move seems out of character for him on the surface. However, Douglas is the kind of negotiator capable of magic, as seen in the Adams deal. The rumored compensation is a 2nd rounder. If the Jets can walk out of this deal without parting with a first and get Ngakoue, then Douglas deserves a statue. Not only that but then they can keep those firsts for a draft that will likely be very interesting without college football in the fall. The move would be great, so hopefully, it’s not just a report with no true grounds. 

New York Giants: Lorenzo Carter talks personal improvement, Andrew Thomas

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

Lorenzo Carter is entering his third season with the New York Giants. Across the 30 games he has appeared in, 14 of which he has started, the linebacker has totaled eight and a half sacks, 88 combined tackles and 23 quarterback hits.

Carter says he worked on improving his angles in the offseason after the coaching staff pointed it out to him (quotes courtesy of Giants.com).

“It was really just refining my game, like I said, working hands, working power, and working the angles really because a lot of times, it comes down to what types of angles you have. That’s one thing I saw a lot last year and then the coaches pointed it out to me when we got into the lab this year.”

The Giants edge rotation has some new faces this season. The team signed former Green Bay Packers pass rusher Kyler Fackrell to a one-year deal in free agency, selected linebackers Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin on day three of the 2020 NFL Draft and have Markus Golden back in the saddle after he signed his restricted free agent tender. They join Carter and second-year player Oshane Ximines.

Carter likes what he sees from this group.

“I think it’s great that we have a lot of talent and that we’re a little deeper in that room. Like you said, we have MG, we have X-Man, we have Fack, and even with Cam Brown, we have a lot of guys in the room that have a lot of different skill sets. It comes down to us making sure that we maximize our abilities and trusting the coaches in making sure they put us in the right positions.”

Carter thinks if they individually do their jobs, the Giants have a great chance at being a “successful” defense.

“It’s just doing our job. It’s a lot of do your job. Right now, the focus is on fundamentals and making sure that you do your job to the best of your ability. I think if we do that and I do my job setting edges, letting the linebackers do their job filling gaps, and just play together as a team, we’re going to have a great chance to be successful.”

Carter was teammates with the Giants’ 2020 first-round draft pick, tackle Andrew Thomas, at Georgia in 2017. The rookie will presumably start at one of the team’s two tackle positions this season.

The outside linebacker knew Thomas was going to be a “top first round pick” in college.

“I knew from day one when he stepped on campus at Athens that he was going to be a top first round pick. It’s nothing new. It’s the same thing he did as a freshman in college. He’s learned, grown and matured. As a rookie, he came in that far advanced too. I know I have to bring it to Andrew because like I said, he’s ready. I have to make sure he’s ready for game one.”

New York Yankees: Boone continues to make the same lineup mistake, DJ LeMahieu injury update

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are facing off against the Tampa Bay Rays in the second game of a three-game series on Wednesday evening. On Tuesday, they fell 6-3, with Masahiro Tanaka having a poor outing. The offense simply wasn’t able to get going either, and with three of their best players absent, things won’t get better for at least another week.

Nonetheless, the Yankees have plenty of reserve options to utilize in the meantime.

Manager Aaron Boone deployed an interesting lineup on Wednesday, one day after he gave Luke Voit the leadoff spot. Voit drove in three RBIs and hit a home run. On Wednesday, he moved Aaron Hicks to the top of the order, placing Mike Ford at clean up as the DH, and Brett Gardner in left field. Interestingly, Thairo Estrada received the start at second base over Tyler Wade.

Where is Boone making a mistake?

The mistake revolves around Gardner, who continues to gain reps over Mike Tauchman despite the obvious difference in production. So far this season, Gardner is hitting .167 with three homers and six RBIs over 48 at-bats. Tauchman is hitting .333 with seven RBIs and five walks over 45 at-bats.

Tauchman is also a fantastic defensive player, and while he isn’t the slugger that Brett somehow has managed to become, his ability to get on base and high contact rate makes him more valuable at this point in time. Tauchman has been a supplemental piece the past few games, receiving minimal starts. I don’t know what it will take for Boone to finally realize that Tauchman is the better player and deserves more playing time over Gardner.

Injury update on New York Yankees in filter DJ LeMahieu:

LeMahieu overextended his thumb several days ago against the Boston Red Sox.

Ultimately, the second baseman has been “sore” and is still in the 2-3 week return timeline. He suffered a similar injury back in 2018 with the Colorado Rockies and is once again dealing with a thumb issue. Giving him as much time as needed is essential, but luckily the Yankees are close to gaining slugger Aaron Judge back. Judge featured in batting practice yesterday but was placed on the 10-day IL as a precaution.

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas discusses what he needs to improve

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

New York Giants rookie offensive tackle Andrew Thomas will presumably be one of the team’s starting tackles this season, especially with veteran Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 NFL season.

Other candidates to start on both sides are Nick Gates, third-round draft pick Matt Peart and free-agent signee Cam Fleming.

Thomas harps on technique being among the crucial adjustments from college football to the NFL (quotes courtesy of Giants.com).

“In college, if you are faster and stronger and you know your assignment, you usually do well. At this level, there is so much technique that you have to learn. There are so many things before the snap, before the ball even hikes. I think that’s the biggest adjustment.”

Thomas started three seasons at Georgia, playing both tackle positions (26 games at left tackle and 15 games at right tackle).

Among the new faces on the Giants sideline is offensive line coach Marc Colombo, who previously held the same position with the Dallas Cowboys. Colombo was also a starting tackle in the NFL.

Thomas has found Colombo to be a transparent voice.

“It plays a big role. He can actually, like you said, show us exactly what he wants. What’s the steps, what’s the hand placement, and it relays the message a little bit better for us than just having somebody saying what they want. As far as building a relationship, we are starting to grow closer, during this time. Over zoom, it was a little bit harder to build a relationship, it’s starting to get better now.”

Thomas is working on “keeping his hands inside.”

“For me, the biggest thing right now, especially in pass pro, is my hands. In college, I had a bad habit of having my hands outside my frame. I’m working on keeping my hands inside and getting a good strike. In the run, game just keep a good base. Sometimes I get a little too excited trying to get to the block. Just make sure I keep a good base each time.”

Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix battle for Bellator’s Vacant Bantamweight Title on Sept 12

Juan Archuleta

Bellator MMA is going to be filling a championship vacancy in one of their divisions. Per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Juan Archuleta (24-2) and Patrick Mix (13-0) will be going head-to-head for the vacant bantamweight title on September 12th.

Bellator already has their first contender lined up for the winner of this fight in Sergio Pettis. Pettis won the main event of Bellator 242 which was the promotion’s first card back from their extended break due to COVID-19.

Who will be the Bellator Champ?

Archuleta will be dropping back down to 135 pounds for this title fight. Archuleta had been competing in Bellator‘s featherweight division in his last couple of fights which included a title fight with Patricio Pitbull.

In that fight, Archuleta lost a decision. Outside of that, nobody has beaten Archuleta inside the Bellator cage. Archuleta is 6-1 in the promotion with wins over guys like Henry Corrales and Ricky Bandejas.

The undefeated Patrick Mix stands in Archuleta’s way of getting the bantamweight title. Mix will be making the walk for the first time in 2020 when he steps in the cage on September 12th. Mix has only fought twice in Bellator, but he’s looked dominant in both fights.

In those two fights, Mix submitted Ricky Bandejas and Isaiah Chapman in the first round. Currently, Mix has finished his last four fights in the first round. Overall, Mix is on an eight fight finish streak.

This is a very exciting matchup between two of the very best that Bellator has to offer. Both fighters come into this contest with a ton of momentum behind them. I’m very interested to see how this plays out.

I want to see if Mix is able to keep his finish streak alive against a guy like Juan Archuleta. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the matchup between the winner and Sergio Pettis.

UFC: Carlos Condit – Court McGee targeted for October 3rd

Carlos Condit

The UFC is adding a welterweight contest to it’s October 3rd Fight Night. The promotion is finalizing a bout between former interim welterweight champion, Carlos Condit (30-13), and Court McGee (19-9).

The fight was first reported by MMA Junkie. Both men will enter the octagon on multiple fight losing streaks. With both men having their backs against a wall, we should see a fight with desperation.

What happened to the former UFC champ?

At one point in time, many people believed that Carlos Condit was one of the best fighters in the UFC. I mean he was the interim champion and he defeated guys like Nick Diaz, Rory MacDonald, Jake Ellenberger, and Dan Hardy.

Condit got his chance to become the face of the division when he fought Georges St. Pierre at UFC 154. Condit had a bright spot in the fight knocking GSP down with a headkick, but outside of that one moment, he was completely dominated.

Starting with that GSP fight, Condit is just 2-8 in his last ten fights after starting his career 28-5. Now, Condit has been the victim of a bad decision during that stretch. At UFC 195, Condit got his chance at gold once again.

Condit took on the then champion, Robbie Lawler. The fight was absolutely incredible, and both men laid it all on the line. In the end, most thought Condit won the fight. In fact, 15 of 20 media members scored the fight for Condit. However, the judges gave it to the UFC champ.

Condit has gone on to lose the last four fights of his career. If he can’t win in October, it might be time to hang it up. For McGee, he will be trying to end his own two fight losing streak.

The former Ultimate Fighter winner had a really rough 2019 dropping two decisions to Sean Brady and Dhiego Lima. McGee is just 1-4 in his last five fights. A former champion and a former Ultimate Fighter winner are two guys with names.

However, at this stage, they are just that, names. Both men desperately need a win if they want to remain somewhat relevant in the UFC.