UFC: Could Masvidal and Diaz be the next coaches on The Ultimate Fighter?

The UFC‘s reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, is coming back. Filming on the promotion’s show is set to begin in late October. Dana White said that the show starts filming as soon as he gets back from Fight Island.

That being said, there has been a lot wondering on who would be the next coaches. Since the show is making it’s ESPN debut, you would think that the UFC would want to put their best foot forward in terms of star power.

Earlier this year, it was rumored that Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya were the front runners to coach. Of course, that would have been a very solid coaching tandem, but that never materialized. Recently Calvin Kattar said he wanted to coach opposite Max Holloway.

While those are solid options, I think I have an idea that’s just a little better. Why not have two of the biggest stars in the sport coach before their UFC rematch? One of them just happens to be a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter.

TUF and the UFC’s BMF

Recently, it was reported that the UFC is close to finalizing the BMF rematch with Jorge Masvidal (35-14) and Nate Diaz (20-12). The two fought back at UFC 244, but the end result left a lot to be desired in the eyes of the fans.

A doctor’s stoppage took away a definitive finish to the fight. Masvidal won the fight and the right to call himself the UFC‘s BMF. Masvidal has always wanted to give Diaz another shot because the fight didn’t end the way he wanted it to.

The rumored fight is supposed to take place in early 2021. With that timeline, it makes it very possible that the UFC makes Masvidal and Diaz the coaches if they are willing to do it. Diaz competed on season five of TUF and won the show.

Masvidal also has some reality TV experience himself. This might be a tough sell to Diaz, but if the UFC could make it happen, it would be the biggest coaching tandem they could put together for their ESPN debut. I don’t know if it will happen, but don’t be shocked to hear those names being discussed.

New York Yankees Previews: Yankees host the Blue Jays starting today for 3 game set

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees will host the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at 7:05 pm, in a rematch of the Buffalo series last week, but this time at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are coming off a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx. In the previous week, the Yankees starting pitching has vastly improved, and the hitting has come alive.  In the last five games, the Yankees have scored 28 runs while holding opponents to just 5 runs.

In the previous five games, the Yankees lost all of them, scoring only 13 runs over the five games. During the lousy stretch from August 18, the Yankees won only 5 games out of 20 played. During such a short season of only 60 games, that stretch was devasting to the Yankees, falling from first in the East to third place, behind both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays.  With the last game win over the Jays and the sweep of the Orioles, the Yankees are now 26-21, just one-half game behind the Blue Jays.

If the New York Yankees can sweep this three-game series with the Jays, they could move up the ladder and be just a game and a half behind the division-leading Rays. If the Rays lose their series with the Washington Nationals, the Yankee could retake the lead in the East.

The game tonight, at Yankee Stadium will be played under sunny and clear skies. If fans were allowed in the stands that would notice an autumn chill in the air as the game-time temperature will be in the mid-’60s. The game will be televised on the YES Network and in Canada on SNET1.

Tonight at the Stadium, pitching sensation Deivi Garcia will take the mound for the Yankees. He is coming off a win against these same Blue Jays last week. In that game, he went seven strong innings, allowing just five hits, allowing two runs, with no walks, while striking out six Jays. Although Garcia pitched well in his previous two games, this last outing was his first major league win. Garcia uses all of his pitches and adjusts to the situation on the fly, with the confidence of a veteran, far beyond his years.

The New York Yankees will face Taijuan Walker, who they looked at just before the trade deadline last month. Walker is 3-2 with an ERA of 2.95. Walker has 36 strikeouts across his eight starts this season. Walker, in his previous outing, won his game but wiggled out of 5 walks in the game against the Yankees.  The dead bats of the Yankees scored only one run off of him. The Yankees hope tonight will be different, now that the team is hitting better.  The Yankees will hope for Garcia to continue to dominate and win this one at the Stadium.

The remaining two games of the Jays series will be on Wednesday and Thursday, pitching will be Gerrit Cole, and Masahiro Tanaka, who are both coming off wins in their last outings.  After the Yankees finish this series, they will face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, then back with the Jays in Buffalo, ending their season at Yankee Stadium with Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins.

New York Rangers prospects have big week overseas

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers released a prospect report on Monday detailing how their top prospects have been playing in different leagues overseas.

The Rangers have loaned some of their players so that they can get back on the ice as the club waits for the NHL  to announce when the 2020-2021 season can begin. Reports have varied from the beginning of December or Jan. 1, which would be the Winter Classic.

Three of the player on loan are former first-round picks of the Rangers. The club is anticipating the extra games will help them continue to improve.  The most likely player to be called back to the team once the league announces when next season would be Vitali Kravtsov who spent time in the AHL and KHL last season.

Vitali Kravtsov – KHL- Traktor: Tallied a power-play goal, tied for the game-high with five shots on goal, and was credited with three hits on Sept. 13 against Lokomotiv. In addition, he tied for the game-high with five shots on goal and was on the ice for both of Traktor’s goals on Sept. 8 against Sochi. The Rangers’ first-round pick (ninth overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft has recorded two goals/points and 21 shots on goal through the first four games of the 2020-21 KHL regular season. Kravtsov has recorded five or more shots on goal in each of Traktor’s four games thus far this season, and he has either led all skaters in shots on goal or has tied for the game-high in shots on goal in three of the four contests. Kravtsov has also been on the ice for four of Traktor’s seven goals in 2020-21, including each of the team’s three goals over two games during the past week. In addition, among the players who rank 10th or higher in the KHL in shots on goal per game through the first two weeks in 2020-21, Kravtsov is the only player who is averaging less than 16:00 of ice time per game (15:50).

Kravtsov was with the team during Phase 3 and was on the roster when the Rangers were swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the Qualifying Round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Assistant general manager Chris Drury was happy with what he saw of the Russian during his time with the club when they were in Toronto.

“I think he saw a lot, learned a lot, and he looked at it, I think, as an opportunity to grow as a person and a player and to learn more about the Rangers and what we’re trying to accomplish as a team and trying to get him to accomplish as a player. I think everything progressed nicely, and once the league starts back up again, we’re looking forward to getting him back here.”

Lias Andersson: The 21-year-old skated in his seventh SHL pre-season game of the year with HV71 on Sept. 8 against Vaxjo; HV71 begins the 2020-21 regular season on Sept. 19 against Frolunda. The Rangers’ first-round pick (seventh overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has registered five goals in seven pre-season games this year with HV71, and he has recorded at least one goal in four of the seven contests.

Nils Lundkvist:  Skated in a pre-season game with Lulea on Sept. 9 against Skelleftea; Lulea begins the 2020-21 SHL regular season on Sept. 19 against Farjestad. The Rangers’ first-round pick (28th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft recorded 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) and a plus-18 rating in 45 SHL games with Lulea last season. Lundkvist’s 31 points and 20 assists in 2019-20 were each the most by an SHL defenseman in his U20 season or younger in league history, and his 11 goals were tied for the most by an SHL defenseman in his U20 season or younger in league history. His 31 points, 20 assists, and plus-18 rating were each the best by an SHL player in his U20 season or younger (regardless of position) last season.

Yegor Rykov: Tallied an assist/point in each of CSKA Moscow’s final two games during the week (Sept. 10 against Sibir and Sept. 12 against Amur). On Sept. 10 against Amur, he logged 18:19 of ice time (third-most among team defensemen), including 4:47 of ice time considered time on attack (most among any player on both teams), in addition to tallying an assist. Rykov has registered two assists and a plus-two rating through five KHL games with CSKA Moscow in 2020-21.

Lauri Pajuniemi: Skated in a pre-season game with TPS on Sept. 11 against Ilves (TPS’ regular-season schedule begins on Oct. 2). The Rangers’ fifth-round pick (132nd overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft registered 40 points (26 goals, 14 assists) in 49 games with TPS in Liiga last season. Pajuniemi led all players who were in their U21 season or younger in Liiga in goals and tied for first among players who were in their U21 season or younger in Liiga in points in 2019-20.

 

Jones’ Turnovers Prevent Giants From a Possible Upset of Steelers

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants lost their 2020 season opener to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, 26-16, in a game that was much closer than the score indicates.

Joe Judge’s debut as head coach was as good as advertised. His team fought hard and played together. There was spirit and camaraderie abound but there was also remnants of the Giants from the past several dismal seasons.

“I’ll just tell you right now that I’m proud of how this team fought for 60 minutes,” Judge told reporters after the game. “That’s something I really wanted to see – you guys asked me earlier in the week what I wanted to see from this team, I wanted to see a team that played together for 60 minutes and fought regardless of score, circumstance or situation, and I saw that. I’m proud of how our guys played. Now, obviously there are some things that we have to do to clean up. The mark of a good team is improvement you can make moving on from Week 1. This next week we’ve got a big test, but we’ve got to stop with the turnovers, we’ve got to eliminate the unnecessary penalties, we have to do better at the end of the half, we have to finish ourselves in the red area, so those are the big things that stuck out right there.”

The things the Giants have to clean up aren’t going to be easy. There was the play of the offensive line, which at times was completely embarrassed by the Steelers’ front seven and beyond. The running game was nonexistent as star running back Saquon Barkley could barely find an inch to run. In fact, he lost yards on most of his carries, gaining just six yards in 15 attempts on the ground.

Then there was the play of second-year quarterback Daniel Jones, who once again showed signs of brilliance only to undo his good deeds with senseless turnovers. Jones, who led the NFL in lost fumbles in 2019 as a rookie, did not fumble in this game but his two interceptions led to nine Pittsburgh points as well as taking a possible seven points away from the Giants.

In the second quarter, Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt stepped back and intercepted a pass at the line of scrimmage after reading Jones’ eyes. Great play by Watt to reel the ball in but Jones made it easy on him.

In the third quarter, with the score 16-10 in favor of Pittsburgh, Jones led the Giants on an 18-play, 87-yard, eight minute and 50 second drive down to the Steelers’ four. On the 19th play, Jones took the snap, rolled out left and this is what happened….

Judge took it easy on Jones after the game in media. After all, Jones had to put up with a Steelers’ rush that went uncontested too many times on the evening.

“I like the way he played aggressive. He stood in the pocket – it was obviously a strong rush coming at him all night – he played confident in there, he stood in there as long as he could, he delivered some good, accurate passes for us,” said Judge. “He had two throws I know he wants back down at the goal line, that’s something we can’t have happen. Look, I’ll talk to Daniel a little bit more about it, I’ll watch the tape and make sure we clean up everything involved. That’s definitely something you can’t have, 19-play drive and come away with no points, especially down there in the low red. That’s not acceptable, but I’m proud of the way he played aggressive, I’m proud of the way this team stuck together.”

Let’s hope the Giants make that Week 2 when they head to Chicago to play the Bears next week. It won’t happen if they keep giving points away.