Bellator announces move to five-round main events

Bellator was in the news yesterday with President Scott Coker having appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour. Coker was on the show to break a number of different news items including a couple of title fights.

However, Coker did announce that the promotion was making a big move in the way that they do main events. Bellator is now going to model in the UFC in that they will have five-round main events moving forward in 2022.

The UFC made this switch a few years ago and it’s been a big success for fans. Bellator has seen a number of great fights over the last couple of years in main events, but fans always felt a little let down with the three-round structure.

One thing that might’ve started this change process is the fight between Yoel Romero and Phil Davis a few weeks ago. After the fight concluded, Romero was confused because he thought their Bellator main event was five rounds.

Bellator’s Change

A confused Romero walked to the center of the octagon where Phil Davis won by split decision. Now, Romero has always been one of those guys who can explode and do something remarkable at any second.

Perhaps if their fight was two more rounds, he could’ve won his Bellator debut. Nevertheless, the rules are what they are and Romero fell short. Bellator had been kicking the tires on this change for some time and that might’ve been one of the things that pushed them over the edge.

As mentioned, this change will start at the beginning of 2022. Last week at Bellator 267, MVP edged out Douglas Lima in their rematch. Again, this was another three-round main event and there was so much talk about how this fight should’ve been five rounds.

There’s already internal conversations at Bellator regarding the trilogy between Page and Lima. I could see the promotion having the trilogy between the two as one of the first non-title five-round main events.

Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley is quietly developing essential point guard traits

immanuel quickley, knicks

The New York Knicks are depending on veteran point guards Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker to hold them over for the 2021–22 season, but their long-term plans include Miles McBride and Immanuel Quickley.

McBride will likely spend the majority of his rookie season on the bench developing his skills, but Quickley already has a year of experience under his belt, and he’s looking to improve in his sophomore season. Last year, Quickley contributed 11.4 points, 2.0 assists, and shot 39.5% from the field. He impressively connected on 39% of his three-point shots, attempting 4.7 per game.

Quickley’s growth was a massive indication of better draft evaluations from the new front office, and that seems to have rolled over into their second year of management.

Quickley’s growth won’t be impacted negatively by veterans on the team:

Rose was asked about his presence potentially disrupting Immanuel’s growth, to which he gave a great response.

“People were kind of worried about me coming in stunting Quick’s growth. Coming in, I just wanted them to play free and understand that if they get the ball, they don’t have to look for me. I’ll find a way to do my thing while I’m on the floor or try to affect the game in my little way without hurting or stunting someone’s growth.”

Head coach Tom Thibodeau loves the versatility and scoring efficiency that Quickley brings to the team and pairing him on the second unit with Rose and Alec Burks will provide a very unique look for opposing defenses.

“The great value with (Quickley) is that he plays with Derrick and Alec, and so really the point (guard) is interchangeable with those guys. They move the ball and they make plays for each other real well,” Thibodeau said, via Fred Katz of The Athletic. “So, oftentimes, Quickley will bring it up. Derrick will bring it up. Alec could bring it up or we’ll get into dribble-handoffs. … We’re gonna fly around.”

Last season, one of the more exciting duos was Rose and Quickley on the court simultaneously. They were able to work off one another very nicely, while Rose allowed Quickley to operate in space and take shots without interrupting his flow. The veteran PG is still finding his place on the team with the acquisition of Walker, but having him on the court with Quickley will give Thibodeau confidence in this second team.

In the most recent preseason game against the Indiana Pacers, Quickley connected on four shots over ten attempts, missing all four three-pointers. However, he did distribute the ball nicely, picking up seven assists and six rebounds. His facilitation has been excellent all off-season, averaging 7.8 assists during Summer League play.

The youngster has developed nicely when it comes to distributing the ball and finding his teammates, which he struggled with at times last year in his rookie season. Seeing those skills develop is a great sign for the future, and he has plenty of time to refine his talents until it is his chance to take over the starting point guard job if the Knicks see fit.

Should the Giants be entertaining trade calls for WR Darius Slayton?

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

The New York Giants will likely be active at the trade deadline this season, but where they might be trying to bring players in the past, they have a few pieces they can let go for capital in the future.

Both Evan Engram and Jabrill Peppers are in the fifth year of the rookie contracts, representing an opportunity for the Giants to move on and acquire draft capital for their services. Engram is an athletic tight end with unparalleled speed at the position, but he has trouble holding onto the football and allowing turnovers. Over the past four seasons, Engram has dropped 25 passes, including a drop and fumble over two weeks this season.

Peppers, on the other hand, has seen his snap count decrease this year as the Giants deploy Xavier McKinney more frequently in the free safety role. Peppers has had trouble in coverage against tight ends, a spot where they desperately needed him to improve.

The New York Giants have a deep WR core:

However, the emergence of receiver Kadarius Toney has made one pass-catcher expendable, and that is third-year player Darius Slayton.

With Sterling Shepard still under contract and Toney beginning to take the reins on offense, Slayton has found himself in a peculiar situation. Fellow speedster John Ross has returned from injury and looked fantastic against the New Orleans Saints last weekend, so Slayton will already be battling for snaps moving forward.

Over three games this year, he has caught seven passes for 127 yards and a score, catching 50% of his targets. Slayton, though, has already dropped three passes this year over just 14 targets, representing a 30% drop rate.

Given his struggles, the Giants might float the idea of treating him and potentially getting back draft capital since he’s outperformed his fifth-round selection back in 2019.

With Ross providing more refined route running and gadget utilities, Slayton’s snap count will likely decrease over the next few weeks, presenting the Giants with an opportunity. The argument against trading Slayton would be that Ross is on a one-year contract while the Auburn product still has another year left on his deal.

Do you think it is worth trading Darius Slayton at the deadline? Comment here!

MLB News: Los Angeles Dodgers walk off the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Wild Card win

On Tuesday night, the New York Yankees season ended when the Boston Red Sox topped them in a 6-2 MLB wild-card contest at Fenway Park. Next, the Boston Red Sox will face the Tampa Bay Rays, the clear AL East division leader. That series will start on Thursday evening.

Tonight the National League MLB wild card was decided to see what team would play the NL West leader San Francisco Giants in the division series. The winner of those contests, AL and NL, will go on to their respective championship series; the winners to each will match up in the 2021 World Series.

The game tonight was between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cardinals had an impressive 17 game winning streak to get into the wild card game. The Dodgers won 17 of its last 20 games to get their berth in the wild card. All eyes would be on Tyler O’Neill, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Arenado, who combined for 28 homers of the 52 St. Louis had in September. Tonight the two teams met at Dodger Stadium, with the winner of the game facing the Giants in the NL divisional series.

The Dodgers sent righty Max Scherzer to the mound to face the Cardinals Adam Wainwright. These were two of the hottest pitchers this season. Scherzer was 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA. The Dodgers have won his last 13 consecutive starts.  Wainwright was 17-7 with an ERA of 3.05. He is coming off his 17th win of the season against the Milwaukee Brewers, with the Cardinals winning his last eight straight starts.

The Los Angeles Dodgers topped the St. Luis Cardinals this season, winning four of their seven games together, giving the Dodgers the home-field advantage in the wild card game.

In the first inning of the wild card game, Scherzer faced the Cardinals. The Cardinals started the game with a man on. A steal and a walk, and Scherzer was in trouble. A wild pitch allowed the Cardinals to get on the board first. But a strikeout and fly-out got him out of the inning without further damage. At the bottom of the inning, Mookie Bettes led off against Wainwright with a single to short. But that is all they would get. Cardinals 1 Dodgers 0.

The second and third innings were scoreless, as was the top of the fourth, But in the bottom of the fourth, the Dodgers got the run back when Justin Turner homered off Wainwright. After that, the fifth inning was scoreless for both teams. Los Angeles Dodgers 1 St. Louis Cardinals 1.

In the top of the sixth inning, Max Scherzer was replaced by Brusdar Graterol, who shut down the Cardinals. In the bottom with Wainwright still on the mound for the Cardinals. With a man on first and Justin Turner coming up, Wainwright’s night was over replaced by Luis Garcia.  Turner walked for two on and two outs. But by the end of the inning, it remained with the teams still tied at one.

At the top of the seventh, Blake Treinen took over the pitching for the Dodgers and did the job with the game remaining tied. At the bottom, with Garcia still on the mound for the Cardinals, Cody Bellinger singled and stole second. But Mookie Betts flew out to left to end the inning still tied.

The eighth inning with one on the Dodgers made a pitching change replacing Treinen with Corey Knebel, who got the final out, ending the half still tied. At the bottom, the Cardinal closer Glovanny Gallegos took the mound, and  Trea Turner singled to left field, but it was for naught was Gallego closed out the inning scoreless for the Dodgers. Dodgers 1 Cardinals 1.

At the top of the ninth inning, closer Kenley Jensen took the mound for the Dodgers. Tommy Edman singled to right field. Edman stole second. Tyler O’Neill struck out to end the half leaving the Dodgers the ability to walk it off in the bottom of the inning. The Cardinals sent T. J. McFarland to the mound in the bottom to shut down the Dodgers. Albert Pujols pinch-hitting flew out to center.  Steven Souza flew out for out number two. Cody Bellinger walked and ended McFarland’s night. He was replaced by Alex Reyes facing Chris Taylor. Bellinger stole second for the second time in the game. Taylor homered to left with the Dodgers walk-off win.

The final score was the Los Angeles Dodgers 3 and the St. Louis Cardinals 1. The winning pitcher was Kenley Jensen, and the loser was T. J. McFarland. The Los Angles Dodgers will go on to the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants for the first time in baseball history.