Junior Dos Santos preparing for post-UFC career; talking with multiple promotions

Former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos (21-9) is preparing for his next venture in MMA. The former heavyweight champion was released just a few weeks ago by the promotion. 

In the case of Junior Dos Santos, things have changed quickly over the past couple of years. In March of 2019, Dos Santos knocked out Derrick Lewis at a UFC Fight Night. This win put JDS in a title eliminator against Francis Ngannou.

At that point, Cigano had won three fights in a row and he looked like he was the old JDS. However, that is where things turned drastically. Dos Santos was knocked out by Ngannou. After that, he suffered three more knockout losses.

The final loss came to Ciryl Gane at UFC 256. However, that loss is currently being appealed by JDS and his team due to the final blow being around the back of the head. Nevertheless, it’s a loss as of right this second.

After that loss, the UFC decided to let Dos Santos walk. The promotion had been making cuts over the past couple of months and after the fourth straight loss, the writing was on the wall for the former heavyweight champion.

Where will JDS go after the UFC?

Dos Santos appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show this week where he talked about his future. He said that his team is talking with multiple promotions and that he is training as we speak. However, he said that he’d like at least three months to prepare for his next fight.

The former UFC champion already has offers on the table that his team is working through. Obviously, Bellator is being rumored right now. Bellator is needing a little star power in their heavyweight division and JDS would certainly bring that to their heavyweight division.

However, they are not the only game in town for the former UFC champion. PFL is also being rumored, however, they are looked at as a long shot given where they currently stand. PFL already has their heavyweight roster set for their 2021 season.

Time will tell what the next move will be for JDS. If I had to put money on it, I think it’s likely that he ends up in Bellator. Again, their heavyweight division could use some bigger names and despite the losing streak, Cigano would be a great signing for them.

New York Giants sign Mike Glennon as new backup QB

The New York Giants have made another depth signing in free agency. According to reports, the Giants have agreed to terms with quarterback Mike Glennon. This signing fills a need for the Giants as they upgrade their backup quarterback position.

Mike Glennon is a seven-year NFL veteran that has been a journeyman backup for the majority of his career. The Giants will be Glennon’s sixth team he becomes a member of.

In 2020, Mike Glennon played as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Glennon started five games as the Jaguars’ backup quarterback. Glennon was a decent fill-in at the quarterback position, throwing for 1,072 passing yards, 7 touchdown passes, and 5 interceptions in those 5 games.

The 6-foot-7, 31-year-old quarterback has a strong arm and the ability to throw the ball downfield. Glennon will replace Colt McCoy as the backup to Daniel Jones. McCoy started two games for the Giants in 2020 but now sits on the open market as a free agent. It seems unlikely that the Giants will re-sign Colt McCoy after signing Mike Glennon.

The signing of Mike Glennon gives the Giants an added sense of security entering the 2021 season. Daniel Jones has missed two games with injuries in each of his first two career seasons. This makes the backup quarterback position ever more important for the Giants. New York can feel more comfortable now knowing they can get competent quarterback play out of their new backup, Mike Glennon, in case of an emergency in the 2021 season.

Yankees: The implications of using Gio Urshela as a backup shortstop

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

The New York Yankees recently deployed starting third baseman Gio Urshela at shortstop, as manager Aaron Boone wanted to see if he is capable of handling the position, which is the hardest and most demanding of the infield, in a pinch.

By all accounts, the talented infielder looked just fine out there, which prompts the question: what will the Yankees do with their roster construction if he can, indeed, serve as a backup infielder?

“It felt really good; better than I thought,” Urshela said recently to MLB.com. “I had two ground balls and I feel really comfortable. I’ve been playing a lot in the shift, so I feel really good for my first day.”

Boone seemed pretty happy with the results, too. “It’s something he’s pretty comfortable doing; same side of the field with shifts and all,” Boone said. “It’s something that I felt like I wanted to do this spring, just in case we ever get in a pinch or we’re in a situation where we need to move him over there for a day.”

Urshela certainly feels capable of playing all four infield positions if that’s what the Yankees need. “Whenever Boonie needs to use me, I’ll be there playing shortstop,” Urshela said. “I’ve played second base in the past before. I’ve played first a couple of times, so I’ll be ready to play any position when they need me.”

What will the Yankees do?

If Urshela can handle shortstop, then Tyler Wade’s roster spot would be in jeopardy. The Yankees have long liked Wade’s speed and defensive versatility, but he hasn’t offered much with the bat yet in his big league tenure (.190/.274/.301 in 346 plate appearances.)

Derek Dietrich (.245/.335/.428 career line with 84 homers) can play third base in a pinch, but he is having a rough spring, going 2-for-18 so far.

The Yankees are projected to have four bench spots in their Opening Day roster. Two of them are likely reserved for Brett Gardner and Kyle Higashioka.

Jay Bruce, Dietrich, Mike Ford, Mike Tauchman, and Wade are expected to compete for the two remaining places.

Wade’s running prowess and defensive versatility gives him an edge, but if the Yankees want offense, they may use Urshela as a backup shortstop and keep Dietrich instead.

There are still a couple of weeks of spring training left, so the competition is on.

The New York Yankees’ starting rotation is set, making it easy to forget about their secret weapon

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

One of the more exciting storylines for the New York Yankees this off-season is their starting pitching rotation. Just a few weeks ago, general manager Brian Cashman was being shredded for his approach toward solving the departure of James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ. However, when it rains, it pours, and he proceeded to sign Corey Kluber to a one-year, $11 million deal and acquire Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates in trade.

Cashman’s moves seem to be panning out, as the rotation has looked stellar this spring and continues to gain positive momentum as opening day approaches on April 1.

Projected starting rotation for the New York Yankees:

1.) Gerrit Cole

2.) Corey Kluber

3.) Jameson Taillon

4.) Jordan Montgomery

5.) Domingo German

6.) Deivi Garcia

After looking at that unit, you can probably make the assumption the Yankees have made a few upgrades. However, it is easy to forget about their secret weapon, Luis Severino. Severino is still rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery last spring, and he has made some great progress lately during his bullpen sessions.

In fact, Seve is excited to begin diving into his breaking pitches soon, but he might be a bit ahead of the curve.

“I’m not worried about it, I just want to know,’’ said Severino this past week. “I want to start throw breaking pitches and see how it feels, not just that day, but also the next day to see how my arm is recovering from throwing those pitches.”

Of course, taking things slow is a priority for Severino, but he is in hyperdrive as he looks to return to the team as soon as possible. Severino last pitched more than 12 innings in 2018, when he recorded a 3.39 ERA over 191 innings. He was expected to be the Yankees’ ace moving forward, but upon his return, he will be a fantastic addition to the rotation, one that will hopefully remain healthy during the 2021 season.

“I was feeling really good that [first] day and I’ve been feeling pretty good,’’ Severino said. “I didn’t know what to do in that first bullpen, so I treated it like a normal bullpen. They told me not to throw too hard so I tried to back up a little bit, but I was throwing good. A lot of strikes.”

New York Yankees: Where do the Yankee “keys” stand now?

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton

All the New York Yankee players are important to the team in their own way, but some key players will determine the season’s success and postseason, should the Yankees get there. It’s effortless in spring training to get too optimistic or pessimistic based on a smaller sample of work. Still, it gives some insight into how the player will perform at the beginning of the regular season. Today, we look at those key players and how they are doing now that opening day is just two weeks away.

Giancarlo Stanton/Aaron Judge:

One of the most significant factors in the New York Yankees’ success this season will be if Stanton and Judge can be in the lineup together consistently.  Talent is no question, but the two superstars have been plagued with frequent injuries that seldom saw them both in the lineup at the same time. If the duo is healthy, it dramatically changes the lineup dynamics both for the Yankees and opposing pitchers.

Stanton last season only played in 18 games due to two injuries. But after coming back at the end of the season, he was hot. In the postseason, he was even hotter, hitting six home runs in seven games with a batting average of .304. He was responsible for 13 RBI’s in the two series.

Stanton is healthy and playing like the 2017 NL MVP he was so far this spring training. He has 7 hits in 7 games with an OPS of 1.009. He has only one home run but has two doubles that were hit like rockets. His eye is good, and he is more patient. Aaron Judge offered that Stanton is playing just like he left off in the postseason.

Aaron Judge is off to a pretty slow start so far. He is batting .280, but his impact on the team has been minimal. His OPS is only .693 with no RBI’s in ten games.  No home runs mean his timing is off. Last season he started hot, hitting 9 home runs in his first 18 games. That’s the kind of player Judge can be. Not to worry, if he can stay healthy, he will come around.

Corey Kluber/ Jameson Taillon:

The New York Yankees took some pretty significant risks in the offseason, acquiring two starting pitchers coming back from injuries and haven’t pitched in nearly two years. But the risk taken may be well worth it, as if both of these pitchers can return to their previous form, the reward will be high.

So far, both pitchers are healthy and show no signs of the previous injury. Both are performing well. In fact, Taillon so far is one of the Yankees’ best pitchers. He has an ERA of 0.00 over 5.2 innings striking out 14.9 batters per nine innings. He is literally a strike-out machine.

Corey Kluber is off to a slower start but is doing just fine. His ERA in 6 innings is 3.00. The New York Yankees will be happy with that ERA over 25 or 30 starts. We all know that these stats for either pitcher will not remain the same. But to date, the Yankees are happy with their investment.

Gleyber Torres:

You have to imagine that a player that hit 38 home runs in 2019 will be an important part of the equation, and he is. Torres had what could be best described as a pretty poor season last year after not coming into the regular season prepared. This season that has all changed. Manager Aaron Boone says he is healthy and in top form.

Boone’s praise is warranted. He is batting .381 with a 1.149 OPS. He also is playing pretty good defense at shortstop. He is also showing off his power with two homers so far. Torres is possibly headed for an MVP-type season, but he will have a lot of competition for that plateau.

Gary Sanchez:

Like him or not, Gary Sanchez will be an important key to the Yankees’ success, but behind and in front of the plate. Last season Gary Sanchez had about as worse a season that any baseball player could have a nightmare about. His catching was off, and his offense was nowhere to be found. He hit just .147 and seemed completely lost at the plate, both in front of it and behind it. The talk was that the Yankees might not even tender him an offer. But in the end, they did, and all have waited with bated breath to see how he might bounce back in this spring training.

At this point, the New York Yankees couldn’t be happier. He is batting .240, and his power is back. He is hitting a home run in every 3.6 games; he could hit 50 home runs at that pace. That is, of course, most likely a pipe dream, but what the Yankees have seen so far from Gary is most encouraging. He has been working diligently with catching coach Swanson.

“He’s been really accountable for his performance in 2020 and hasn’t run from that and has faced some of those challenges head on,” Yankees catching coach Tanner Swanson said Sunday. “Personally, our dynamic has really improved as well.”

The New York Yankees have to be pretty happy with where the team is now and how it shapes up for the regular season. The most important factor is that the team, minus some minor injuries, is healthier than it has been in years. Being supercritical, the hitters may be off to a rather slow start, but the pitching has certainly made up for it. The Yankees have won their last eight games in a row.

Mets: Francisco Lindor doesn’t want contract negotiations to extend into the regular season

New York Mets’ shortstop Francisco Lindor, who hit his first home run of the 2021 spring training on Wednesday, talked with the press about his ongoing contract negotiations, as the team intends to lock him up and keep him in Queens for a long time.

The Mets send shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez plus a couple of prospects to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for the All-Star shortstop plus starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco back in January.

“I will not be negotiating during the season,” Lindor said. “I will go to free agency if something carries on during the season. It’s not fair for me. It’s not fair for the team. I’ve got to give everything I’ve got into winning baseball games, so if it doesn’t happen in Spring Training, I’ll go to free agency and we’ll talk in November.”

Before Lindor’s remarks, the Mets had implied that the start of the season was a soft deadline to get a deal done with Lindor, but the infielder has made it a hard one: he will not enter negotiations during the regular campaign.

The Mets and Lindor want to get something done before the season

Lindor made it clear that it will be his agent the one tasked with the responsibility of delivering the best possible contract for him and his family.

The Mets would also like to get something done before the season, so it is possible that Lindor is extended in the upcoming days.

Speaking of his play on the field, the Mets’ star began the spring on a 0-for-7 skid, but is now on a 5-for-15 hot streak that includes his Tuesday homer against the Houston Astros.

“It felt great to be able to pull the baseball in the correct way,” he said. “In Spring Training, engines are just starting to run. So I was just happy I was able to pull the baseball the correct way.”

Knicks News: With point guard struggles mounting a Lonzo Ball trade could be in the near future

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

The New York Knicks have mounting problems at point guard, especially since they aren’t fully committed to Immanuel Quickley at the position. Both Elfrid Payton and Derrick Rose have missed the past few games, and if those inconsistencies are to continue, New York might want to look at the trade market to add another option.

The Knicks have been connected to a variety of players, including Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo and pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball.

Marc Berman of the NY Post believes the Knicks still have their eyes on Pelicans PG Lonzo Ball:

That is why the Knicks have always kept an eye on Hornets point guard Terry Rozier and young Pelicans playmaker Lonzo Ball (who would probably be more of a summer transaction).

Though Rockets combo guard Victor Oladipo is available, Pelicans pass-first point guard Lonzo Ball is higher on Leon Rose’s list.

Ball is an intriguing player that the Knicks could utilize due to his offensive contributions. While he’s only averaging 14.2 points per game over 31.5 minutes, the Knicks have been forced to roll with Frank Ntilikina, who is more of a defensive player and doesn’t offer much on the offensive side of the ball.

Making a move for Lonzo would undoubtedly flush the team with point guards, but that is never a bad problem considering the Knicks have lacked a true consistent starter for quite some time. Ball is only in his fourth season in the NBA, and at 23 years old, has plenty of time to continue developing. He’s having his best season offensively, connecting on .426 of field goals and .389 from downtown. His free-throw percentage has also taken a significant step forward, posting a .566% free-throw rate in 2019 and seeing a bump to .767% this year.

A move for a point guard should be predicated on Quickley’s development, as taking valuable minutes away from him might not be the most beneficial move. However, adding competition is never a bad thing, but the Knicks might have to give up a few young pieces and draft capital to acquire Ball.

UFC: Israel Adesanya says Jon Jones beef goes beyond fighting; insists they will fight in the future

About two weeks ago at UFC 259, we saw Israel Adesanya (20-1) suffer his first professional MMA loss at the hands of Jan Blachowicz (28-8). Adesanya was seeking to become a two-division UFC champion.

However, Jan Blachowicz had a great game plan and was able to win a decision over Adesanya. In the later rounds of the fight, Adesanya had no answer for the wrestling attack of Jan Blachowicz which was ultimately his downfall.

One man who took pleasure in watching Adesanya lose is Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). The former UFC light heavyweight champion is not a fan of Adesanya and the two have gone back and forth for a couple of years now.

There has always been talk about a super fight between the two men. However, after Adesanya lost and said he was returning to middleweight, many wondered if we’d ever get the chance to see this grudge match inside the octagon.

The UFC‘s middleweight champion appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show this week to talk about his future. Adesanya made it very clear that he’s still planning on fighting Jon Jones and that the fight isn’t dead at all.

UFC super fight in the future?

When asked if the fight was dead Adesanya said, “Hell no. That fights not dead, I’m coming for that ass. This is deeper than fighting now, we all know how fake he is.” As you can tell, Adesanya still plans on tracking Jones down eventually.

So where are we at currently? Jones and Adesanya are moving in opposite weight directions at the moment. Jones is preparing for his heavyweight debut which should come over the summer. He will be challenging for the UFC’s heavyweight title when he makes his heavyweight debut.

Adesanya will be moving back to middleweight to defend his title. While the fight might not be dead, we are now seeing that we might be a year or two away from discussing this matchup again. Both have work in front of them, but perhaps one day, we will see Jon Jones fight Israel Adesanya in the UFC.

New York Giants Free Agency: Rumors, news, updates, more!

New York Giants, Kenny Golladay

The rumors were flowing on Wednesday for the New York Giants, as they were connected to wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who is currently on the open market. The former Detroit Lion is reportedly planning to visit with the Giants, spending time with head coach Joe Judge and upper management. If all goes well, the Giants could have their WR1 by the end of the week, and what a massive addition he would be for quarterback Daniel Jones.

At the end of the day, bolstering the offense so Jones can reach his potential is exactly what the Giants need to do this off-season. Just think about the impact Stefon Diggs had on Josh Allen last year with the Buffalo Bills.

Golladay is capable of being a WR1, and he might come at a very reasonable price considering what top receivers normally go for. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan projects that Kenny may only earn $12-14 million per year on a multi-year contract, and with the Cincinnati Bengals offering him a one-year deal, the Giants have a nice advantage and a bit of cash to spend.

New York Giants Updates:

1.) Kanny Golladay on the way!

Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com connected with a current Giants player, who was adamant that the team needed Golladay:

“We need him,” one current player told NJ Advance Media, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Multiple other players expressed a similar sentiment, that they’d like the Giants to bring in a player of Golladay’s caliber.

The impact that Golladay would have on the offenses is profound. Not only would he open up the running game for Saquon Barkley, but he would allow receivers like Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton to face off against lesser competition. The Giants averaged 17.5 points per game last year, good for 31st in the NFL. Their passing attack was lackluster — Sterling Shepard was man-marked by the opposing team’s CB1s. Shepard is a high-end WR2, and given the matchups, he can be an excellent receiver for Jones.

Ultimately, as long as the offensive line can hold up, adding a Golladay would completely revitalize the offense and give Jones no more excuses moving forward.

2.) Ifeadi Odenigbo

Another low-risk, high reward signing for the Giants. Odenigbo has a combined 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons, starting 15 games in 2020 with the Minnesota Vikings. At 26 years old, Odenigbo has the potential to be a solid rotational piece for the Giants, potentially on the interior. As a traditional defensive end, they could move him to defensive tackle, where he would feature at the 3-5 tech, providing support to Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence.

Yankees News: Starting rotation blowing minds, here’s a projected look ahead of Opening Day

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

The New York Yankees currently have the best spring training record in the MLB at 12-4. Overcoming the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon was just another step in the right direction, as they continue to dominate with their pitching. Offensively they struggled in this contest, striking out nine times and recording just five hits, but they got the job done thanks to a fantastic outing by starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery. Montgomery lasted 5.0 innings, striking out four batters and allowing zero hits. He currently hosts a 0.90 ERA this spring, solidifying himself as the number four starter in the rotation.

Thankfully, the Yankees have one of the best problems in baseball — too many great starting pitchers to choose from. It is possible they roll into the 2021 season with a six-man rotation, thanks to impressive performances from Domingo German and Deivi Garcia.

Projected starting rotation for the New York Yankees:

1.) Gerrit Cole

2.) Corey Kluber

3.) Jameson Taillon

4.) Jordan Montgomery

5.) Domingo German

6.) Deivi Garcia

German and Garcia are currently in an all-out battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, but considering they both look phenomenal, the Yankees might reward them both with a slot.

Over three games, German has pitched 9.0 innings, allowing five eights and zero runs, striking out 13 batters in the process. He currently has a 0.00 ERA, while Garcia sits at 2.25.

German might have a slight advantage over the 21-year-old, but Garcia has only allowed two runs over 8.0 innings this spring. Those two runs came against homers, showing simple mismanagement of location. As he develops, the Yankees will feel more comfortable inserting him into the starting rotation with ease. Garcia earned his first action in the MLB last year during the abbreviated 2020 campaign, posting a 4.98 ERA over 34.1 innings. His first sample size was positive, having a few stellar outings but ultimately struggled over a larger sample size.

Just the experience alone is worth a ton, so the Yankees can feel good rolling into the campaign with Garcia slotted in as the 6th man. Even if he struggles, they can always settle at five and utilize him as a supplemental piece.