3 takeaways as Knicks escape with win over undefeated Bulls

knicks, julius randle

The Knicks overcame the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night 104-103, but it wasn’t without a dramatic ending as New York failed to score a single point over the final three minutes of the game.

The Bulls fought their way back from 13 down, and a pair of Julius Randle missed free throws with 5 seconds left on the clock gave them an opportunity to steal a victory. Luckily for the Knicks, third-year guard RJ Barrett locked down DeMar DeRozan, forcing an airball to finish off the undefeated Bulls.

Three takeaways for the Knicks in win over Chicago:

1.) RJ Barrett is finding his groove

Barrett finished the contest shooting 8-for-15, including one three-point hit. His 20 points ranked 2nd on the team, just behind Kemba Walker, showcasing one of his best performances of the young season.

However, Barrett’s most crucial moment came with 5 seconds left, stifling off a fake shot by DeRozan, staying on his feet, and forcing a poor shot to give the Knicks their fourth win of the season. His impressive defense backs up his confidence earlier in the week, targeting an All-Defensive team nod.

“Honestly, the biggest part I’ve been trying to work on is my defense. I want to be first-team all defense, I want to be (a top defender), I want to be that guy for this team. So just looking at (my defense).”

2.) Julius Randle is playing off his teammates

The Knicks rely on Julius Randle to carry the load on offense, but his unselfish approach has benefited the team greatly in recent days. Randle contributed just 13 points in the win, but added 16 rebounds and nine assists, showing his dominance on the boards and passing abilities.

Utilizing the attention Randle commands to his advantage, the Knicks managed to spread the ball around the floor and ride the hot hands to victory.

3.) Cardian Kemba has arrived

Kemba was phenomenal once again against Chicago, putting together his second consecutive All-Star caliber performance. Walker shot 7-for-12 from the field and 5-for-6 from 3-PT range. He was lethal on offense, giving the Knicks enough firepower to barely escape with a win, despite the team failing to score in the final three minutes.

Walker made way for Randle to act as the facilitator, a unique role for a power forward, adding just two assists. However, his shooting has been lights out, providing the Knicks with the value they envisioned when they signed him this past off-season.

After second PFL championship, Kayla Harrison has to decide between money and legacy

MMA, PFL

Last night at the PFL championships, Kayla Harrison (12-0) ran through Taylor Guardado (3-2) and submitted her in the second round. With the win, Harrison remained perfect and captured her second consecutive PFL championship.

Immediately after the fight was over, the focus shifted to where Harrison will fight her next fight. Earlier this week, we talked about the options that Harrison will have in front of her. She will hear from the UFC and she will hear from Bellator.

Bellator would love to put on the dream fight between Harrison and Cris Cyborg. Meanwhile, the UFC is the premier organization in mixed martial arts and it’s hard to be considered the best ever having not competed on the biggest MMA stage.

Then of course there’s the PFL. The organization that has been behind Harrison from the very beginning and has done everything in their power to make her a superstar. PFL is going to do everything in their power to keep her, but will it be enough?

After the PFL championships last night, Harrison was asked about what her deciding factor will be when it comes to deciding her next destination. Will her decision be about money or will it be about legacy?

Will Harrison stay with PFL?

If the decision comes down to the dollars, I think Harrison is going to stay with PFL. Bellator might make a very competitive offer, but in the end, I can’t see PFL getting outbid for Harrison. They’ve invest so much in her and I think they fully intend on staying in the Kayla Harrison business.

Then there’s the UFC. Just like Michael Chandler discovered, the UFC is not going to give her the highest dollar amount. However, what the UFC can offer Harrison is so much greater than Bellator and PFL.

The exposure and stature that Harrison can achieve in the UFC is unmatched. Even with a shallow featherweight division. Chandler has spoken at length at how much bigger he is now that he’s with the UFC and he’s considered to be one of the best fighters in Bellator history.

The star appeal and the goat appeal that the UFC can offer can’t be matched. However, Harrison might not care about that at the end of the day. She has to do the best thing for her family and that’s what makes this decision so intriguing for fans.

If I had to put money on it, I think that Harrison is going to end up deciding between Bellator and PFL. I think those two will present the best offers from a financial standpoint in the short-term. If I’m going with my gut, I have a feeling that Harrison will jump to Bellator to fight Cris Cyborg.

Wouldn’t be shocked at all to see a PFL reunion, but for Kayla Harrison, PFL might be a “Been there, done that.” There’s nothing left for her to accomplish there which means it might be time for a new chapter.

New York Rangers: Kaapo Kakko nears return

kaapo kakko, rangers

Kaapo appears to be on pace to partake in the New York Rangers’ return to action against Columbus on Friday night.

Optimism reigns when it comes to the return of Kaapo Kakko, who may be ready to go when the New York Rangers take the ice on Friday night against Columbus (7 p.m. ET, MSG).

Kakko has missed the last four games after suffering an upper-body injury during Oct. 16’s win in Montreal but it appears that the third-year Blueshirt is ready to end his medical sabbatical.

“I’m ready to play,” Kakko said of his status, per Mollie Walker of the New York Post. Though Kakko is ready to play, it may take Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant some convincing to put him in Friday’s lineup.

“Hopefully, pretty sure, but that’s not 100 percent,” Gallant said in another report from Walker. “We got through [Thursday], and the medical staff will let me know in the morning. It looks good.”

Walker’s reports stated that Kakko has returned to the second even-strength line as a full participant in the last two practices, working alongside Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome.

The Rangers (4-2-1) are returning to Madison Square Garden for a Friday night tilt against the divisional rival Blue Jackets (4-2-0) before embarking on a four-game road trip through the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada.

During his time away from the team, Kakko kept a close eye on the Rangers’ penalty kill, saying he “definitely learned something about it”. The Rangers killed off all but one of 12 penalties in Kakko’s absence after allowing goals on four of their first 11.

While the Rangers are hopeful about seeing Kakko on Friday, it’s likely they’ll be missing Ryan Reaves, who left Monday’s 5-1 loss to the Calgary Flames with a lower body injury. Reaves did not practice on Thursday, nor did Chris Kreider, though the latter was held out due to maintenance.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants have a chance to take advantage of weak defense on MNF

The New York Giants are coming off of a surprising blowout victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week Seven. At 2-5, the Giants are looking to turn their season around after a slow start to the year. In Week Eight, New York will travel to Kansas City as underdogs to face the Chiefs on Monday night.

The Giants will head into this game as underdogs like they were last week, but this is another game where the Giants could surprise some people and end up on top. The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, giving the Giants an opportunity to take advantage of this weakness and potentially upset their opponent on primetime.

The Kansas City Chiefs Defense

Despite making it to the Super Bowl last season, the Kansas City Chiefs are off to a slow start this season. The Chiefs are 3-4 and have been struggling in both facets of the game. In particular, though, Kansas City’s main struggles are on defense.

The Chiefs have allowed the most yards per play in the NFL this season, 3rd-most yards per pass, & 4th-most yards after the catch. They also have the 4th-worst red-zone defense. This is a matchup of which the Giants MUST take advantage.

The Giants have the worst red-zone offense in the NFL this season. However, Monday night is a perfect opportunity for New York to improve in that regard, facing off against Kansas City. Daniel Jones has led the Giants offense this year in impressive fashion, looking like the franchise quarterback that New York was hoping he would pan out to be. With a solid performance on Monday night, Danny Dimes could get the New York Giants back into the race.

Mika Zibanejad, Gerard Gallant send support to Kyle Beach

New York Rangers reps extended their support to Beach, the “John Doe” in the sexual assault report centered around the Chicago Blackhawks.

Members of the New York Rangers expressed their support for Kyle Beach during practice proceedings on Thursday. Beach has been identified as the “John Doe” of a damnatory report released on Tuesday, one that exposed the Chicago Blackhawks’ inaction in the wake of sexual assault allegations made against video coach Brad Aldrich en route to a championship during the 2009-10 season.

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant commended Beach for his bravery in coming forward, namely through an interview with Rick Westhead on TSN’s SportsCentre program on Wednesday night.

“He came out publicly and got a lot off his chest (after) 11 years, so that’s got to be real tough on the kid. But I think he’s courageous and did an outstanding job when he came out last night. It’s a tough, tough situation, but hopefully, he can heal and feel a lot better about himself,” Gallant said, per Vincent Mercogliano of LoHud.com. “I watched that press conference last night, and I’m sure you all watched that, too. It’s really tough to watch and it really chokes you up, just as a person watching that. I didn’t know the kid personally, but the positive thing that I took out of that last night was he talked about the healing, and that’s going to take place now.”

One of Gallant’s leading scorers, Mika Zibanejad, concurred.

“It’s a terrible thing that happened and I really feel for him and for the victims,” Zibanejad said in Mercogliano’s report. “It takes a lot of courage to be able to come out and tell his story. It’s just a terrible situation that shouldn’t happen, and all the things that kind of caused him and his family all this (pain) and everything. It’s just shocking, but first and foremost, it’s a terrible, terrible thing that happened.”

The independent report declared that neither Blackhawks management nor the NHL Players’ Association acted upon allegations brought forth by Beach as the team embarked on a run to the Stanley Cup Final in May 2010. Action was taken only after the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to win their first championship since 1961. Aldrich resigned but was allowed to partake in the Stanley Cup celebrations and later took a job at a Houghton, MI high school, in part thanks to a recommendation from the Blackhawks. He plead guilty to criminal sexual conduct charges against a teenager three years later.

Chicago general manager Stan Bowman and vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac have since resigned. Despite appear in the report, then-Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was allowed to coach the Florida Panthers in the wake of the report’s release and was said to be meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday.

Beach is currently under contract in the Oberliga, a third-tier German league. He spent parts of the 2013-14 season with the Rangers’ organization, appearing in 39 games with their AHL affiliate in Hartford.

The Rangers (4-2-1) return to action on Friday night at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m ET, MSG).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees: An offseason of discontentent led by wild predictions

yankees, corey seager

In the eyes of the “boss,” the deceased George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankee 2021 season was another failed season. He always felt a successful season was one that the Yankees went to the World Series and won the Fall Classic. During his ownership, the Yankees won the World Championship seven times. Unfortunately, under Hal Steinbrenner’s ten-year tutelage, the New York Yankees have not won any.

Hal Steinbrenner made it clear last season that he wanted to stay under the luxury tax threshold, and he did that. What fans should know is that although the Yankees spend a lot on player payroll, their payroll to revenues ratio is the lowest in baseball for the last several several years.

George Steinbrenner died on the same day as the 81st annual All-Star game; many fans think the storied Yankees franchise died on the same day. Of course, George didn’t win every season, but he made the changes necessary to make that again a possibility when he didn’t. The Yankees have made only two significant moves in the last ten years: getting Giancarlo Stanton in 2018 and starting pitcher Gerrit Cole in December of 2019.

While the Yankees and their fans are still licking their wounds, the wild predictions of who the Yankees will get to fill this spot and that spot are running amuck. Projections like the Yankees will target Robbie Ray, Max Scherzer, or even Justin Verlander. Last season the wild predictions led the Yankees to pick up two bruised starters in Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon, neither of whom had pitched in the previous two seasons. General Manager Brian Cashman has a history of doing what no one expects.

Another good example is before the 2019 season; the rumors were swirling around that the Yankees would go after Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. But in the end, the Yankees made a pedestrian move hiring DJ LeMahieu instead. That turned out rather well, but at the time, the Yankees fans were disappointed. Unfortunately, the Yankees often make very pedestrian moves when fans expect big things.

The hottest predictions or rumors are that the New York Yankees will pick up a star shortstop this offseason. Brian Cashman has already said it is his top priority. Big names include Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and others. But, don’t be surprised if the Yankees pick up Javier Baez or some mostly unknown shortstop on the cheap. However, that being said, this offseason seems to carry more importance for the Yankees to get better so they can go deep into the postseason and hopefully win another World Championship after not being in one in eleven years.

The whole point of this article is to advise you to listen but take little stock in the named targets or predictions as they seldom turn out as expected. However, as we draw closer to the new baseball season, those predictions hold more validity. History has told us that you never know what to expect when it comes to the Yankees. We can hope they will make the necessary changes to make this team better, much better. Go Yankees!

PFL’s mistake with Claressa Shields

PFL made huge waves last year when they signed Claressa Shields (1-1 MMA) to an exclusive contract for MMA. Shields is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in boxing and she’s won a number of world titles in her professional boxing career.

The 26 year old Shields wanted to challenge herself and she decided that she wanted to become a two-sport world champion. She had already climbed to the top of boxing and now she wanted to do the same in MMA.

PFL jumped at the opportunity and signed Shields to a deal at the end of last year. Shields wasn’t going to compete in the 2021 season, but she was going to compete and fight a couple of times. PFL gave her two fights this year.

The first matchup was against Brittney Elkin (3-7) back in June. Now, you’d think a 3-6 fighter at the time would be a good first step for Shields. However, it wasn’t a great decision when you factor in the kind of fighter that Elkin was.

Elkin was known for her skills on the mat and mostly dominated the first couple of rounds against Shields in the boxer’s first MMA fight. However, in the third round, Shields was able to defend the takedown and got a TKO win at PFL 4.

PFL’s Mistake

After her first win, PFL got to work on booking Shields’ second fight. Her second fight took place last night against Abigail Montes (2-0). Montes was making her debut with PFL but she walked in with a perfect record. In her two fights, she had shown really good wrestling and ground control.

The first round of last night’s matchup was pretty uneventful. Shields landed some decent shots, but Montes spent the majority of the round leaning Shields up against the cage trying to get a takedown. The next two rounds didn’t go well for Shields.

While the second round was mostly competitive, a takedown and good amount of control sealed the round for Montes. The third round was dominated by Montes who landed a takedown and finished the round in mount while raining down punches.

One judge somehow scored the fight for Shields, but the other two got it right and Montes picked up the win handing Claressa Shields her first professional loss in combat sports. With the loss, you have to think about the missed opportunity PFL had with Shields.

Both fighters that they gave her to start her MMA career were more grappling-first type of fighters. I don’t understand the logic behind the decision. If you wanted Shields to blossom into a star, you give her someone that will strike with her so she can show off her talent.

Eventually, she will have to face a grappler, but rushing her in against grapplers right away just is a massive miscalculation in my opinion. Shields is young enough and talented enough to overcome this and retrieve some of her mystique. However, after these first two performances, the luster is mostly gone for ‘The GWOAT’ in MMA and it’s not on her.

Julius Randle holds the key to unlocking Kemba Walker, Knicks offense

knicks, kemba walker

With six seconds left on the shot clock and 4:41 to go in the second quarter, New York Knicks‘ All-Star forward Julius Randle posted up Philadelphia 76ers’ swingman Tobias Harris and demanded the ball. From the top of the right-wing, Evan Fournier acknowledged Randle and gave him the entry pass.

Randle faced Harris with one motion, then did the side-to-side before dribbling to his favorite spot on the floor– the right corner.

It was a classic isolation play that the Knicks heavily relied on last season.

But as the shot clock ticked away to three seconds, Seth Curry abandoned Fournier and went to help Harris. The double team blurred Randle’s vision and forced him to settle for a tough fadeaway that fell short.

The ball didn’t even graze the rim. Airball. A shot-clock violation against the Knicks.

It was Randle’s lone attempt at the basket in the second quarter. He had a rough offensive start, going 2-for-9 from the floor, but the Knicks went on to sit on a 20-point halftime cushion.

Why and how did the Knicks do it with Randle laying an egg in the second quarter?

After the Orlando Magic pulled a shocking 110-104 upset of the Knicks on Sunday night, Randle was up until the wee hours of Monday.

“I was sick, man! Like I didn’t go to sleep ‘till like 4 o’clock because I was sick, everybody else was sick that we let that slip. But you know we need those games like that. Like last year, we had a game like that earlier in the season versus Oklahoma City,” said Randle.

He referenced last January’s 101-89 loss to a young, tanking Thunder team following a three-game win streak capped by a 112-100 pummeling of the Utah Jazz two nights earlier.

He felt they let that slip away on their homecourt just like they did Sunday night against Orlando, where they lacked the energy to finish the game after racing to a 13-point lead in the first half and another nine-point lead in the second half.

“We just respond and that’s the thing about this league, thinking about the high-character teams. It’s okay to have adversity. [It’s okay] to have slip-ups. It’s about how you respond,” Randle said.

Randle responded to the challenge after bricking that shot against two Sixers defenders midway. He switched gears.

In the next play, after crossing the midcourt following a defensive rebound, Randle did something that threw off the Sixers’ defense. He passed the ball to Kemba Walker and set a screen to free his point guard from Danny Green. Walker darted to the left wing inside the arc and met Joel Embiid, who sagged down, anticipating a drive. But instead of falling to the trap, Walker went to his pet move — a 16-foot pull-up jumper. It was his first basket after missing all his three shots in the opening quarter.

Randle unlocked Walker.

Walker suddenly regained his All-Star form. He unloaded 10 straight points in a two-and-a-half-minute stretch, and the Knicks blew the game away with a commanding 17-point lead.

Walker would finish with 19 points on 15 shots, five three-pointers and five assists — all season-high. Randle assisted on Walker’s three shots and set several screens that did not reflect on the box score.

Randle would finish with seven assists, 16 points on 17 shots, and 11 rebounds.

In their heartbreaking home loss to Orlando, Randle had a monster night — 30 points and 16 rebounds. But it took him 24 shots to take there, and he had his fewest assists of the young season with only three. As a whole, the Knicks issued a season-low 20 assists.

It was not just a mere coincidence that they lost. It was the culprit. The ball stopped moving.

In the Knicks’ three wins, Randle averaged 7.7 assists, and the team shared 28.3 dimes that would have tied the unbeaten Golden State Warriors for the second-best mark in the league.

Despite the Knicks’ 2-1 start, Walker looked lost on offense, averaging just 10.3 points across 25.7 minutes, with a team-worst -17 plus-minus rating. During that span, Walker’s usage rate had not reached past 19 percent. That changed dramatically against the Sixers. Walker ended up with a team-high 27.1 percent usage rate. In contrast, Randle posted his lowest usage rate of the season at 23.8 percent. In the Knicks’ first three games, Randle’s usage rate did not go lower than 30 percent.

Randle flipped the script and went out of his way to involve Walker more on offense.

Randle made a total of 25 passes to Walker that resulted in three assists. In the previous three games, Randle only had one assist to Walker out of 54 passes.

“I thought the way Kemba played helped set the tone. Julius was unbelievable in terms of making plays early. That made us unselfish and we all got into a rhythm and we played hard,” Thibodeau praised.

Walker came home to New York with the intention to blend in and play off Randle’s game the same way he did in Boston, acknowledging that it’s Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s team.

In his first signature game in Knicks uniform, Walker carried the Knicks’ offense as much as his teammates carried him.

“I was just trying to take whatever the [Sixers] defense kind of gave me. My teammates did an unbelievable job — just setting screens for me, you know, Taj and Mitch even Julius. They always had some great screens for me, I was able to get to my pull-ups and they were just dropping,” Walker said.

Randle remains the hub of the Knicks’ offense. Walker and Fournier were brought in to ease his burden and avoid the pitfalls of their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks that came back to haunt him and the Knicks in their first loss of the season at the hands of the Magic.

Once he realized that, everything clicked for the Knicks and his brand new point guard.

“We’re a team, man,” Randle said after the emphatic win over the Sixers. “Like any night, anybody can get hot. Everybody can score and make plays. That’s what this team was built to do. It’s great, man! I don’t have to go and get 30 to feel like we got a chance to win. As long as we defend, we have a shot to win every game.”

It finally dawned on him. He holds the key to unlocking the real potential of this new-look Knicks team. It was always in his pocket.

When Randle rammed into the Sixers’ defensive wall, he finally reached down his pocket.

Walker and the Knicks’ offense got unlocked. It was a beautiful sight to see. The ball movement led to easy baskets. And they feed off that energy playing for each other like a puppet on strings, moving in one direction. The puppet master, Thibodeau, pumped his fist in the air as the Knicks act had the Garden rocking.

“It’s just a great weapon. When we’re sharing the ball like that, it makes it hard for anybody to defend us. It just makes the game a lot easier. It just takes a lot of pressure off the guys especially guys like Julius who kind of has to do a lot sometimes,” Walker said. “That’s what we’re here for. We want to take the pressure off him. Get him some easy opportunities and then play off him as well.”

After that airball in the second quarter and letting Walker do his thing, Randle would knock down five of his next nine shots, and the Knicks cruised to an easy win against a team picked to go deep in the playoffs.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Giants: Daniel Jones benefits from new rules, says Tom Brady

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has picked up a reputation as a rushing QB that even Tom Brady has noticed.

The topic came up when Brady was discussing the current league rules on his SiriusXM podcast, “Let’s Go!” He compared the new generation of QBs to his own, and pointed out how much easier it is to run the ball as a quarterback these days.

“I think so many quarterbacks, they run through the middle of the defense, and they just probably know that, in essence, they’re not going to get hurt,” Brady said.

As a player from a different time, the trend is ‘crazy’ to Brady. That’s a pretty reasonable take, of course. Back when Brady came into the league, running into the middle of the defense as a QB was a recipe to get rocked by whatever linebacker or safety was in the area.

These days, the NFL is more careful about protecting their star offensive talents and it shows. It’s not just hyper-mobile QBs like Lamar Jackson that run the ball, but even others who aren’t the same kind of athlete; Daniel Jones included.

“I see Carson Wentz do it all the time. I see Daniel Jones do it all the time. And I’m in my mind, I’m thinking it’s crazy. The defensive players are running, and they all jump out of the way of the quarterback,” Brady continued.

Daniel Jones and rushing the ball

The Giants are still trying to find the right balance when it comes to Daniel Jones and his running ability.

Obviously, like Brady said, things are easier on rushing quarterbacks these days. A player like Jones might have been forced to play more as a pocket passer 15 years ago, but the current landscape of the NFL very much suits Jones’ abilities.

That’s also one of the reasons the Giants drafted Jones. One of the pre-draft narratives was that Eli Manning was too immobile, and that the Giants needed a QB who could escape when the offensive line didn’t provide enough time.

On the other hand, rushing still has its risks and has to be done the right way.

Giants fans found that out the hard way when Daniel Jones went for a touchdown against Dallas while leading with his helmet, and ended up with a concussion.

It’s clear that Jones is a competitor, willing to take risks to win games. It’s also clear the Giants can’t afford injuries to one of the centerpieces of their offense.

Jones will keep rushing this season, of course. He’s over the concussion, and the team needs his skills in this area. But we can be sure the coaching staff will continue tweaking their game plans in this area, looking for the right balance between competing and keeping Jones safe.

Will Nate Diaz leave the UFC after his next fight?

One of the biggest stars in the UFC has just one fight left on his current deal. That fighter would be Stockton’s own, Nathan Diaz (20-13). Diaz has blossomed into being one of the top earners for the promotion over the past few years.

For Diaz, the rise to stardom came when he took on Conor McGregor on short-notice. McGregor hadn’t lost in the UFC and had just captured the featherweight title at the time after knocking out Jose Aldo. Diaz stepped in for an injured Rafael Dos Anjos to take on McGregor.

After a hot start from McGregor, Diaz stopped him in the second round. The two would rematch in one of the greatest fights in UFC history. McGregor got the nod, but Diaz walked away an even bigger start than he was before.

That’s been the pattern for Diaz over the past few years. Even when he doesn’t win like his matchups with Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards, he somehow gets bigger and bigger. Simply put, Diaz has become a superstar for the UFC.

One UFC Fight Left

Currently the UFC is working on a fight for Diaz. That fight will be the final one on Diaz’s current deal and then the star will get to explore free agency for the first time in his career. The question now becomes, will he resign or walk away?

There are a lot of people who believe Diaz would walk away from the UFC. Perhaps he would walk away to chase a massive payday to box Jake Paul. That boxing match has been rumored for a while and if Diaz leaves the UFC after his next fight, I could definitely see it happening.

I don’t see any scenario where Diaz would leave for either Bellator or PFL or any other MMA promotion. It’s either the UFC or boxing for Diaz. The UFC could be holding a few aces in their pocket that could convince Diaz to stay for at least one or two more fights.

The Conor McGregor trilogy fight makes a ton of sense for next summer. McGregor will be returning from injury and it would line up perfectly after Diaz completes his contract in early 2022. The McGregor trilogy could be his first fight back.

Should he win that fight, the UFC could go then potentially pair him with a Dustin Poirier who might very well be the lightweight champion. These two have wanted to fight for years and Diaz could be an attractive opponent for Poirier.

Then there’s the BMF rematch which almost happened last year. These three fights would all be massive for Diaz and would net him a pretty penny. Would any pay more than a boxing match with Jake Paul? That remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to watch how this story plays out in the coming months.