UFC 264: Poirier – McGregor 3 is official and open to a full crowd

The trilogy is set for UFC 264. Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) and Conor McGregor (22-5) will settle their score on July 10th at the T-Mobile Arena. Dana White announced that the fight was official on his Twitter today.

The event will be the UFC‘s first event in Las Vegas with a full crowd. Nevada is planning on opening the state fully on June 1st and the UFC is ready to get right back to having full crowds in the fight capital of the world.

Earlier this week, there seem to be some doubt on if the fight would take place. McGregor and Poirier had been going back and forth on social media over a donation that McGregor pledged to give Poirier’s foundation.

The former two-division UFC champion said that he was waiting to hear how the money would be used before he made the donation. Poirier said that McGregor’s team simply hasn’t replied to them or sent the money.

McGregor then took to Twitter and said that the fight was off before throwing more insults at Poirier. There is now a ton of heat between the two and it’s setting up for quite the buildup to UFC 264.

UFC 264 Settles it All

There is no doubt that this will be the biggest fight of 2021 for the UFC. This trilogy matchup is going to have a ton of heat and animosity. It’s also massive considering the way the first two fights went.

McGregor won the first matchup by TKO. However, Poirier took the second matchup by TKO. With both men having finished the other, the third matchup is going to be insane at UFC 264.

In all likelihood, the winner of this matchup will also get a shot at the UFC lightweight title. Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira are fighting for the vacant title at UFC 262 next month.

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from Yankees loss to the Jays

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

Last night the New York Yankees met up with the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of a three-game set in Dunedin, Florida. The results were not encouraging; they lost to the Jays 7-3, and both the pitching and hitting mostly failed. Here are 3 major takeaways from the game.

Jameson Taillon, not good again

Jameson Taillon had his second start of the young season last night, and it wasn’t good. He got through the first inning just fine, but it was all downhill from there. Grichuk singled, Gurriel Jr. was hit by a pitch, Jensen walked, loading the bases. Then, Palacios had a sac fly, scoring two Jay’s runs. In the third inning, the Jays scored another run.

In the fourth inning, Taillon was still in the game, with the Yankee hitting able to pull him out of a bad start. The fourth inning did Taillon in, as allowed Marcus Semien a home run giving the Jays the 4 run lead. Later in the inning, a wild pitch and a double added another Jay’s run, and that was it for Taillon. Lucas Luetge came in the get the last out of the inning. You may say this is only one game, but Taillon is yet to have a good outing. Add to that, Domingo German has been sent down to Scranton after his two bad starts. Corey Kluber hasn’t been exactly great either; his ERA is sitting at 5.68. Taillon’s ERA is 7.56.

The once stellar-looking New York Yankee pitching rotation looks pretty bad, with only two pitchers performing well, Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery. Luckily for the Yankees, the bullpen has been considerably better than the starting rotation, but if the starters continue as they have, the bullpen will soon be burnt out.

Where is the New York Yankee hitting?

The Yankee hitting has been just horrible so far this season. You may say, hey, it’s early in the season. That is true, but the more games the Yankees lose early on, the further they will be behind at the end of the season. The fact of the matter is that the Yankees hitting has been inconsistent or just not there at all.

The Yankees hitting has come alive in a few games, and those are the games the Yankees won. Last night in as in so many games, the Yankees were only able to muster up 8 hits, most in the game’s late innings when the game was out of reach. Aaron Hicks, who has been one of the worst hitters in the lineup, came alive, going 3 for 4 on the night. Other bright spots include Rougned Odor driving in a run; he has been impactful in his first three games as a Yankee, Giancarlo Stanton drove in two runs for a team-leading 9 RBI’s. If he remains healthy and continues at that pace he will have over 100 RBI’s on the season.

The biggest problem the New York Yankees are having with their hitting is that the heart of the lineup who is supposed to win games for the Yankees, in the first eleven games of the season, the 3 to 6 slots in the lineup are hitting just .143, that’s the worst in baseball. In the first eleven games of the season, the Yankees have struck out 146 times, that’s the most in MLB.

If these stats aren’t alarming to the Yankees and don’t find a way to fix it quickly, they will again fail in the division. They now anchor the AL East. To add to an already bleak-looking situation, the Yankees are hitting into double plays an inordinate number of times (15), many of them by last year’s batting champ DJ LeMahieu.

The only bright spot is the bullpen

All during the regular season, the New York Yankees bullpen has performed well, almost to the point of being perfect. Last night the combination of Lucas Luetge, Luis Cessa, and Albert Abreu only allowed on earned run over four innings. Normally over the first eleven games, they have been even better than that.

Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, Michael King, Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, Darren O’Day, and Justin Wilson have yet to allow an earned run on the season. Any team would be thrilled to have this bullpen. Nick Nelson is the only reliever that has not performed well.

The bottom line is that the bullpen can’t carry the Yankees season, the starters must go further into games and perform better, and the Yankees hitters have to start hitting consistently.

 

Knicks won’t get Lonzo Ball audition in matchup against Pelicans

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

The Knicks are gearing up to take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday evening, and coming off three wins consecutively, New York is riding a high. However, we have seen the inconsistencies that plague the Knicks in the past, but there is hope they have finally gotten over the hump, stringing together not only a few wins but close victories — finishing games. The keyword there is “finish,” one that wasn’t understood against the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and even Philadelphia 76ers a few weeks ago.

This seems to be a new age for head coach Tom Thibodeau and his team of defenders, considering the Knicks rank first in the league, allowing 104.4 points per game. Despite the recent turnaround, that doesn’t mean the Knicks couldn’t use a bit more talent around them, especially a star player to pair with Julius Randle.

There is hope that RJ Barrett can be that number two next to Randle, but adding a point guard might be the focus during the 2021 off-season, and the team may target Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball.

Ball, who was expected to suit up against New York on Wednesday, will likely miss the game with left hip flexor soreness. His sought-after audition will have to wait, but the Knicks still consider him highly despite missing the last three games and showing a bit of fatigue more than halfway through the season. Ball is having his best campaign to date, averaging 14.5 points on .424 shooting from the field and .384 shooting from downtown. Consider this, Barrett has been on a tear as of late from three, currently averaging .378%, which is still below Lonzo’s current measurements.

Replacing Elfrid Payton with Ball would be stellar, as they can roll over the $5 million into an extension for the 23-year-old PG from California. Seeing a slight bump in offensive efficiency is a positive, and we know Thibs will turn on the inner defender in him.

I’m not too worried about Ball missing this contest, as New York clearly sees his increase in statistical output. Just take a look at this, Ball’s free-throw percentage has increased from .566 last season to .792 this year. In fact, a majority of his shooting specifics have seen vast improvements, which is a great sign for a player going into a contract year.

New York Giants dropping smoke screens around edge-rusher evaluations

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants are doing their due diligence with all of the pass rushers projected to go in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL draft. The rumors have been circulating as of late, with the Giants been connected to players like Alabama’s DeVonta Smith and even Miami’s Jaelan Phillips.

At the end of the day, the Giants are doing a fantastic job of keeping their intentions unknown, while previous years showed they had leaks within the organization giving away essential information regarding their potential draft selections. Now, it seems as if the media and fan base are surrounded by smoke screens, as the Giants have sent front office members to evaluate pass rushers this draft class.

The New York Giants cannot reach at 11:

The primary concern is if the Giants will reach for a player that isn’t worthy of being selected 11th overall, but in a trade back scenario, you could justify taking an EDGE who can make an impact immediately. The problem is, this class is weak, which leads me to believe the Giants might be targeting a pass rusher at 42, which is why they are sending plenty of evaluators and scouts to their pro days to gauge a projection on the draft board.

The best part about signing wide receiver Kenny Golladay and corner Adoree’ Jackson this past off-season is that it allows the Giants to go best player available in the first round unless there’s a player that fills a massive hole that they can’t pass up. A player like Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater might fit that mold, as he would offer a potential Pro-Bowl level right guard after the departure of Kevin Zeitler this off-season due to cap-saving methods.

It is nice to see management working behind the scenes, as a situation a few years ago when the Chicago Bears leapfrogged the Giants to secure pass rusher Leonard Floyd exposed a major leak in the organization. If the Bears didn’t know the Giants wanted Floyd, the draft might’ve played out far differently, so keeping things under wraps and dropping smoke screens to different media members is a great strategy to confuse opposing teams.