UFC: Neil Magny Calls Matchup With Robbie Lawler ‘Even Better’

Robbie Lawler

UFC welterweight Neil Magny will fight in the co-main event of the upcoming Fight Night event on the 29th, but that almost wasn’t the case. That’s because his opponent was originally Geoff Neal, who was forced to withdraw from the bout earlier this month because of a sudden health scare. In fact, Neal went as far as to say on Instagram that he almost died.

Missing the fight under those circumstances is perfectly understandable, but it left Magny without an opponent. That is, until the matchmakers came through with an interesting bout involving a former champion.

Robbie Lawler has three straight losses and it’s been a little over a year since his last fight, but he’s giving it another go and Magny is the opponent this time. And according to Magny, it’s a matchup he’s excited for.

Neil Magny calls the fight with Lawler an even better opportunity

“It caught me a little off-guard. First, when I got the email about Geoff Neal falling out, I was kind of bummed and it was like, ‘Hey, man. Geoff Neal fell out of the fight; we’re keeping you on standby. The next day was like, ‘Hey, Robbie Lawler wants to fight,’ and I was like, ‘Holy crap. This is even better,’” Magny told MMAJunkie during a virtual media event.

Magny is currently looking to climb in a tough division. He’s near the bottom of the top fifteen, but with some of the other names in the division, that’s not a bad spot. The higher positions are closely contested, but Magny thinks a win over Lawler would elevate him.

He claimed a win would definitely put him in the top 10. He also claimed it would put him on the path to getting a title shot in the future.

“If I go out there and put on a great performance against him, then I’m fighting guys in the top 10 and moving closer to that title shot. I’m not going to be as naive and say I beat Robbie Lawler on Saturday and I’m getting a title shot on Monday,” Magny admitted, while remaining optimistic. “I know there’s some work to be done as far as working my way through ranks and that kind of thing, but a win over Robbie Lawler definitely propels me in the right direction.”

Lawler’s last fight was a defeat against Colby Covington during August of last year. Magny, on the other hand, is on his second straight victory and last defeated Anthony Rocco Martin as recently as June at UFC 250.

Both of those wins came this year, giving Magny good momentum to break into the top 10 going into the last stretch of 2020.

New York Mets: Bullpen Takes deGrom’s Win in Weird 5-4 Victory

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets needed length out of Jacob deGrom after getting abbreviated starts during their doubleheader loss on Tuesday. deGrom gave them that and much more in his first start in almost a week. He tied a career-high with 14 strikeouts, but a bullpen implosion in the eighth inning prevented him from his third win of the season.

Luckily Wilson Ramos, who was hitting .100 w/RISP, came through to give the Mets the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Brad Brach went nine days without pitching but stayed tough to lock down the Mets victory over the Miami Marlins, 5-4.

The bullpen implosion started in the eighth inning when Justin Wilson allowed three singles to load the bases. He gave way to Edwin Diaz, who gave up a 107-mph single that J.D. Davis could not secure, followed by back to back walks to tie the game.

Diaz left the game with an apparent injury before the game-tying walk, leaving Brach a 2-1 count. Brach finished the at-bat with a walk before getting the game to the ninth inning. He needed help from Jeff McNeil‘s foot to prevent Jonathan Villar from stealing second base to get through the inning.

Clutch Hitting

The Mets were as dreadful on offense as any team could be on Tuesday. They put together a much-improved showing with a 2-for-9 output w/RISP and left seven on base. There was a much more concerted effort to hit the ball to the opposite field, and it was precisely what Wilson Ramos did to give the Mets the lead run.

Robinson Cano helped lead the way with three hits, moving his batting average to .382. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo also added home runs, both their fifth of the year, as well.

Dominant deGrom

deGrom pitched as well as any pitcher can without recording a no-hitter. The two Marlins hits he allowed were light, and his fastball sat in the 99-100 mph range. It was undoubtedly his best outing of the season and showed what a couple of extra days of rest does for him.

Should the Mets choose not to join other professional sports teams in protest on Thursday, they finish their series with the Marlins. They currently have not named a starter yet, but face rookie Sixto Sanchez at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Yankees: Good news and even more bad news in double-header losses

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees were swept in a doubleheader against Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, increasing their losing streak to five consecutive games.

After a poor performance from ace Gerrit Cole in the first game of the doubleheader, Masahiro Tanaka took the mound in the second game. He had a fantastic performance, lasting 5.0 innings and allowing just three hits. He didn’t allow a run, but the Yankees, unfortunately, we are unable to provide any offense of support, falling 2-1.

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

The good news boils down to starting pitching, as Tanaka had a fantastic outing and showed why the Yankees may consider retaining him for the 2021 season. On the year, he has a 4.60 ERA over 15.2 innings pitched. He has been eased into the season after taking a ball off the head on a Giancarlo Stanton line drive.

However, Tanaka is normally a consistent arm for the Yankees that can be relied on. He earned an All-Star appearance in 2019 for a dominant first half of the season but trickled off as the campaign wore on. He’s also one of the more experienced arms in the roster in the playoffs and has good numbers in competitive games.

Aside from Tanaka, DH Miguel Andujar recorded two hits on three at-bats, scoring the only run of the game for the Bombers. This is a convincing sign for the Yankees, who might need to utilize him as a trade piece in the coming days.

BAD NEWS:

The bad news revolves heavily around the offense and decision making by manager Aaron Boone. Boone pulled Tanaka after just 66 pitches and dominant performance, inserting Chad Green, who hadn’t pitched in 10 days. Green subsequently gave up a two-run homer that lost the game for the Bombers. Boone’s poor decision making has been problematic at times, receiving harsh criticism. Nonetheless, he is playing the analytics game; it doesn’t always turn out in your favor.

Offensively, the Yankees scored two runs over to contests on Wednesday.

The most concerning part of the evening was the pulling of Aaron Judge. Boone stated after the game that Judge’s calf tightened up while he was running around second base. Considering he has been ensuring the media of his 100% health, suffering this injury setback is disappointing. There’s a good chance he lands on the injured list once again, go figure.

New York Knicks join NBA-wide protest against racism

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks joined the league in solidarity to condemn racism in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The Knicks released a statement shortly after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 of their NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic.  The league has since canceled all the Wednesday games and will be rescheduled.

 

“We support the league’s decision to postpone the games and strongly reiterate our condemnation of racism and violence,” said the Knicks’ statement.

Several Knicks players also joined the protest on social media.

The NBA players remaining in the Orlando Bubble will meet tonight in a crucial meeting that will determine the fate of the rest of the season.

Bats quiet, Cole struggles as New York Yankees drop game one of doubleheader against Atlanta

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Gerrit Cole was roughed up and the bats fell quiet as the New York Yankees dropped game one of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves. Tuesday’s game was postponed to Wednesday due to rain in Atlanta.

Things could not have started any worse for Cole, serving up a 473 foot home run to Ronald Acuna Jr. to lead things off for the hosts. In the third, the new Yankee allowed a pair of home runs to Dansby Swanson and Marcell Ozuna.

Cole was taken out in the sixth with a runner on base, and that runner scored, charging him with the run. Although he gave up five runs, he only allowed five hits and still struck out nine. He did however allow two free passes. The worst stat of the night for him is that he allowed three home runs.

But, the Yankee offense was just as dreadful. The team had two hits, courtesy of Luke Voit and Brett Gardner. Voit’s hit left the ballpark for the only run scored for the Yankees. It was the 11th of the season for him, putting him just one back from a tie for the MLB lead.

Masahiro Tanaka has the ball for game two for the Yankees. He looks to help the team break a four game skid. In a short season, there’s no room for any losing streaks. Plus, the team has two more doubleheaders this weekend that they need to be firing on all cylinders for.

All five games this weekend will be at Yankee Stadium. The team has an off-day on Thursday to travel back to New York.

 

New York Islanders: Reviewing heartbreaking Game 2 Loss

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders recently lost to the Philidelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime to tie the series up at 1. That game was easily the most exciting game of the entire playoffs. Both sides, at one point, felt frustration and jubilation. The Islanders just weren’t awake early enough in the game, and it ultimately cost them their lead in this series. The Islanders won 40 minutes tonight, but that wasn’t enough. Why wasn’t it enough, and what did they do during the four periods?

1st Period

The Islanders dominated the first couple of minutes after the puck dropped. Semyon Varlamov even set a franchise record for the longest time without allowing a goal (previously held by Billy Smith). This wouldn’t matter though, as Kevin Hayes would bury one past Varlamov just minutes in. Before Isles fans could even process what happened, Kevin Hayes buries another goal short side. And just a couple minutes later, Travis Konecny scores to make it 3-0. Varlamov would get pulled and incomes Thomas Greiss. The rest of this period was just back and forth, and nothing happened.

2nd Period

The Islanders finally get on the board with a power-play goal from captain Anders Lee. This was very surprising considering the Islanders have a terrible power-play. Great pass from Mat Barzal and good use of the body from Lee. The rest of this period went back and forth yet again. There was a play where Ross Johnston got decked, but Brock Nelson made up for it.

3rd Period

This was possibly the most exciting 9 minutes in Islanders Hockey within the last ten years. Anthony Beauvillier had an insane goal, slipped right through the crack in Carter Hart’s stick side. Beauvillier continues to impress the entire NHL, and brings the Isles withing one from tying. The Flyers would continue to chip and chase while playing trap defense. The Flyers did not get any offense at all in the 3rd period. The Islanders continued to forecheck with that amazing “B” line, and it paid off for them. Josh Bailey and Adam Pelech hold the line, JG Pageau gets the puck… waits, fires, goal. Right over Carter Hart’s glove. Alan Vigneault challenges it for offsides, inconclusive evidence, can’t turn it over. Islanders get a power-play that, of course, does nothing, to overtime they go.

Overtime

The Islanders had no chances in overtime to score. The Flyers kept pounding and got lucky. Philippe Myers fires one from the blue line, tips off of Anders Lee, and the game ends. The Islanders clawed back, but it ultimately didn’t change the outcome of this game.

New York Giants: Free Agent Safeties Who Could Fill In For McKinney

New York Giants, Antoine Bethea

The New York Giants suffered a huge loss today. Rookie safety Xavier McKinney has suffered a broken foot that will keep him sidelined for months. McKinney was one of the most exciting rookies on the Giants. He was primed to play a major role as a starter in the Giants’ new defense.

Now, with McKinney sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Giants have a huge hole to fill on the back end. Julian Love is likely to start at free safety now, but the depth is lacking in the Giants’ secondary.

Logan Ryan

Many Giants fans have been crying out for their team to sign free agent cornerback Logan Ryan. Ryan had an up-and-down season with the Titans in 2019, but he put together a pretty spectacular statistical season.

Ryan is a former member of the Patriots as well, so he is familiar with Joe Judge. Logan could easily slide in as the starter in the slot cornerback position,  but he has experience playing on the outside as well, and even at safety.

If the Giants were to sign Logan Ryan, it would not be cheap. Ryan is reportedly seeking a contract worth more than $10 million. But his versatility would allow the Giants to gain depth at more than one position. Ryan could fill in at safety, slot cornerback, or outside cornerback, depending on where the Giants need him most.

Tony Jefferson

If the Giants want to get a pure safety, there are some veteran options they could take a look at. Tony Jefferson is one of those options. Jefferson is twenty-eight-years-old now and is a free agent after spending the last three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.

One area of concern, though, is Jefferson’s injury history. Tony suffered a torn ACL in the fifth game of the 2019 season, sidelining him for the rest of the year. This was a huge loss in the Ravens’ secondary, as Jefferson was on the field for nearly every single defensive snap in Baltimore.

Jefferson was formerly a strong safety, playing in the box and making an impact in the run game. But he moved over to free safety last year. He could be a solid depth piece at either the free safety or strong safety position for the Giants, depending on where Julian Love lines up.

Antoine Bethea

The Giants could bring back a familiar face. It might not go over too well with the fanbase, but general manager Dave Gettleman could look to bring back the Giants’ starting safety from 2019, Antoine Bethea.

Bethea started all sixteen games for the Giants in 2019. He totaled 110 combined tackles, one interception, and six passes defended. But Bethea was very inconsistent for the Giants and struggled at times in coverage. He is also thirty-six-years-old, so he is not a spring chicken at this point in his career. Antoine would not at all be a long-term answer at the safety position. He would have to be signed on a one-year deal. But Gettleman’s familiarity with Bethea could entice him to re-sign the veteran.

New York Yankees: Good news and bad news in disappointing loss to Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of doubleheader

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees were punished in the first game of the doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday afternoon. After a rainout on Tuesday, the game was pushed to Wednesday at 4 PM, and it didn’t seem like the Yankees brought their best selves to Atlanta.

Losing 5-1, rookie pitcher for the Braves Ian Anderson struck out six batters and allowed just one hit over 6.0 innings. It was a fantastic outing for the Braves, leaving the Yankees wondering what went wrong. Ultimately, it was their bats that failed to produce once again.

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees following the loss to Atlanta:

GOOD NEWS:

There wasn’t much good news from the Yankees’ loss to the Braves, aside from Luke Voit, who smashed his 11th homer of the season. The first baseman has been on fire since the start of the regular season.

However, that was literally the only piece of good news to share.

BAD NEWS:

The bad news stretches from the batting order to the starting pitching unit. The Yankees struck out six times and recorded just two hits. Starter Gerrit Cole lasted five innings, allowing five hits, five earned runs, and three homers. This elevated his ERA to 3.51.

Ultimately, the starting rotation for the Yankees has been extremely problematic. With Cole struggling in the first game against the Braves and ruining his winning streak, the Yankees will now have to rely on Masahiro Tanaka in game two.

With the August 31 trade deadline sneaking up on us, the Yankees might be extremely active given the lack of resources they have in the starting rotation. With James Paxton out with a flexor issue, relying on options like JA Happ and young arms will not suffice. The season is quickly going sideways for a team that simply can’t stay healthy.

Trevor Rosenthal makes sense for the Yankees and Mets as a deadline addition

New York Yankees, Trevor Rosenthal

As most teams have reached exactly half of the season, and with the trade deadline approaching, many clubs have already decided whether they will be buyers or sellers. The New York Yankees are going to be looking for pitching help, preferably starters, but the New York Mets‘ landscape isn’t so clear.

The Mets have a great offensive core but, because of injuries, ineffectiveness and opt outs, their rotation is very depleted. Jacob deGrom is the only sure thing, as David Peterson and Michael Wacha are working their way back from shoulder inflammation. Steven Matz (9.00 ERA) has pitched poorly, Rick Porcello has been mediocre, and because of that, the Mets have had to use Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as starters.

Their presence in the rotation has caused the bullpen to be affected, and that’s why the Mets would be wise to explore a deal for the Royals’ Trevor Rosenthal.

The New York Yankees would also be smart to look at the possibility of adding Rosenthal to their bullpen, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Rosenthal looks rejuvenated with Kansas City, with a 1.46 ERA in 13 games and 12.1 frames. He is striking out people at a high rate (34.7 K%, or 12.41 per each nine innings) while maintaining a very healthy 14.6 swinging strike rate.

Rosenthal is pumping 100 mph fastballs by hitters, complementing them with a very good slider that he throws around 25 percent of the time. Maybe it isn’t quite vintage Rosenthal, the one that had so much success with the St. Louis Cardinals, but it looks very close.

For the Mets, it would make sense as it shouldn’t require a top prospect in return (let’s face it, they have given up plenty of them over the last couple of years.)

The Yankees should look to add him, too

Now, for the Yankees, it’s clear that they have prioritized a “super-bullpen” over the last few years. For the most part, they have been able to have it.

This year, however, they have lost Tommy Kahnle to an elbow injury, and other relievers are, or have been, hurt. Aroldis Chapman just returned from an extended COVID-19-related absence, and Zack Britton is currently on the injured list with a left hamstring strain.

Overall, the Yankees haven’t been a top five bullpen. Look at this:

Yes, there is competition for Rosenthal’s services, but if the cost remains reasonable, both the Mets and the Yankees have reasons to be interested in Trevor Rosenthal to shore up the bullpen.

New York Knicks expected to pursue Davis Bertans (Report)

New York Knicks, Davis Bertans

According to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, the New York Knicks are expected to pursue Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans in NBA free agency. Hughes says the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns are also expected to make a push, with the Hawks being “particularly aggressive.”

Bertans, 27, played a career-high 29.3 minutes per contest in his debut season with the Wizards this season. Coming off the bench for all but four of his 54 games, he averaged 15.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 42.4 percent from beyond the arc.

The Wizards acquired Bertans last summer in a three-team trade with the San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets; Washington received Bertans; San Antonio received DeMarre Carroll; Brooklyn received the draft rights to Aaron White.

The Spurs traded Bertans to clear cap space to sign free-agent forward Marcus Morris, who was reportedly signing a two-year deal. Morris then changed his mind, signing a one-year deal with the Knicks. He was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers at the 2020 NBA trade deadline.

An NBA source tells Hughes that Washington has made re-signing Bertans, who he says could receive a contract between $15-20 million per season, “a top offseason priority.”

The Knicks could have upwards of $40 million in cap space this offseason depending on what they do with the team options they hold on a handful of veterans for the 2020-21 NBA season. They also have their own first-round draft pick (8), the Clippers’ first-rounder (27), which was part of their return on Morris, and the Charlotte Hornets’ second-rounder (38).

Bertans could theoretically be the Knicks’ starting power forward. A career 41.1 percent shooter from beyond the arc, he could stretch the floor for new head coach Tom Thibodeau’s offense. Bertans could also come off the bench, subbing in for the incumbent Julius Randle, who’s one season through a three-year, $62 million deal.