Song Yadong knocks Marlon Moraes out in the first at UFC Vegas 50

Song Yadong

In the co-main event of UFC Vegas 50, we saw a banger in the bantamweight division. Former title challenger “Magic” Marlon Moraes (23-9-1) returned as he took on the surging young contender in Song Yadong (18-6-1).

Entering UFC Vegas 50, Moraes is 1-4 in his last five fights including a three-fight losing streak. The last time we saw him was against Merab Dvialishvili at UFC 266. After a hot start, Moraes really gassed out and Merab ended up scoring the TKO win. In this current stretch, Moraes has been finished in all three fights.

While he’s not taking on the elite of the division, he’s taking on perhaps the future of the division. It’s crazy that Song Yadong will be fighting his tenth UFC fight and he doesn’t even turn 25 until December. Yadong entered the octagon tonight with a record of 7-1-1 the UFC.

UFC Vegas 50 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 50 bantamweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Yadong immediately comes forward and the two exchange combinations inside. Pressure from Yadong and Moraes looks to land his jab. Moraes light on his feet and then he almost gets sat down by a big right hand.

Big combination from Yadong who is very heavy on the pressure here. Huge uppercut from Yadong, but Moraes backs him up with a very stiff jab. Combination to the body lands for Yadong. Uppercut and straight right lands for Moraes.

Another nice right hand lands for Marlon Moraes. Jab lands for Moraes and then a massive combination lands for Yadong. Moraes is out and this one is over. Huge performance from Song Yadong at UFC Vegas 50.

Song Yadong def. Marlon Moraes by KO – Round 1

Who will play tight end for the New York Giants in 2022?

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants have made some crucial moves to clear up cap space over the past two weeks. Outside of the restructuring of Blake Martinez and Sterling Shepard’s contracts, the Giants have cut some players to clear cap space. In particular, the Giants have released two tight ends in an effort to become more financially healthy. With Evan Engram unlikely to be re-signed, who will play tight end for the Giants in 2022?

Finding a new tight end

Mo Alie-Cox is a veteran tight end with a well-rounded skill set that could make him a perfect fit in Brian Daboll’s new offensive scheme. The Indianapolis Colts utilized Mo Alie-Cox in a 12-personnel heavy offense that featured him alongside Jack Doyle. With Doyle’s retirement announced this week, Mo Alie-Cox could be a priority re-signing for the Colts. But if he manages to hit free agency, the Giants should consider making Alie-Cox their top priority.

Hayden Hurst was a first-round pick with the Baltimore Ravens in 2018. Hurst, however, was quickly overshadowed by Mark Andrews, who has turned into one of the best tight ends in the NFL in recent years. This led the Ravens to trade Hurst to the Atlanta Falcons in 2020. Hurst has caught nine touchdown passes in two seasons with Atlanta.

Hayden Hurst has had a solid NFL career, being a consistently average-to-above tight end in the league. But the reason that Hurst makes so much sense for the Giants is a crucial coaching connection. The Giants hired tight ends coach Andy Bischoff this offseason. For Hayden Hurst’s first two career seasons, Bischoff was the tight ends coach for the Baltimore Ravens. Hayden Hurst could team back up with Andy Bischoff and return to form with the New York Giants.

The 2022 NFL Draft could also be an option for the Giants to find a new tight end. General manager Joe Schoen has a history of finding tight end talent in the middle rounds of the draft. In 2019, the Buffalo Bills drafted Dawson Knox in the third round of the draft. Joe Schoen could look to repeat history and find the New York Giants’ next tight end in the middle rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Drew Dober survives and stops Terrance McKinney at UFC Vegas 50

Tonight on the main card of UFC Vegas 50, we saw a fun matchup in the lightweight division. Lightweight veteran Drew Dober (23-11) was back in the octagon as he was taking on the surging top young contender Terrance McKinney (12-3).

McKinney was making a very quick turnaround after he just fought at UFC Vegas 49 two weeks ago. That night, McKinney picked up his second straight first round finish since joining the UFC.

There are many people high on McKinney and it’s easy to see why. He’s wanting to jump right towards the top of the lightweight division and taking on Drew Dober on short-notice was a good way to do that.

Dober came into tonight on a two-fight losing streak. However, the losses came against Islam Makhachev and Brad Riddell. Prior to that, he had won three straight including wins over Alexander Hernandez and Nasrat Haqparast.

UFC Vegas 50 was an opportunity for him to show he’s still a top contender at 155 pounds.

UFC Vegas 50 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 50 lightweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Big flying knee from McKinney and a big combination lands and down goes Dober. McKinney is all over Dober here and Dober is hurt badly.

Dober gets back to his feet but he’s grounded by another flying knee. McKinney going all out for a finish here. However, Dober is really hanging in there and once again gets back to his feet. McKinney circles and he gets clipped by Dober.

Furious pace here in the opening round. Takedown from McKinney just after he lands a spinning back fist. McKinney settles into the guard of Dober and he starts working the ground and pound. Big shots from the top and Dober is trying to control his posture.

Dober explodes and gets back to his feet. McKinney is starting to look tired here as he’s emptied the gas tank going for that finish. Big knee from Dober and down goes McKinney. Dober following up with big shots and it’s over. Huge comeback from Dober at UFC Vegas 50.

Drew Dober def. Terrance McKinney by TKO – Round 1

WATCH: Yankees’ Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez show off their swings in Spring Training

anthony volpe, yankees

The New York Yankees have been extremely quiet since free agency opened back up after the lockout finally came to an end this week. Aside from their silence, the pop from the bats of Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez have sung throughout the organization, attesting to their talent.

Spring training for the minor-league players is well underway, and both Volpe and Dominguez showcased their swings ahead of the 2022 season.

Volpe crushed in opposite-field home-run in a live session on Saturday, showcasing his power. If you look at his swing closely, you can see a bit of Derek Jeter in his mechanics, opening up his hips and doing damage in both portions of the field.

Volpe is preparing to climb the farm system after reaching Hudson Valley last year, hitting .286 over 213 at-bats. He launched 27 homers on the season with 86 RBIs and 33 stolen bases.

In addition, Jasson Dominguez also displayed his mechanics, featuring from the left side of the plate. Dominguez is a switch hitter, and his sheer size stands out at just 19 years old.

It is crazy to think that Dominguez stands at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, crowding the plate with a massive frame. The Dominican Republic native is capable of producing incredible power, which will likely only increase as he develops with age.

Dominguez appeared in 49 games with Tampa last season, hitting .258 with five homers and 18 RBIs. He will be looking to build upon his success, showcasing a bit more power with more reps.

One mid-round linebacker the Giants could pair with Blake Martinez in 2022

quay walker, georgia, giants

With the Giants hiring Wink Martindale as their new defensive coordinator, drafting and signing athletes is a priority with his man coverage-heavy scheme that relies on blitzing and speed.

Luckily, management restructured the contract of linebacker Blake Martinez, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons last season. Retaining a defensive leader who is one of the best tacklers in football while lowering his cap hit was a great move. The Giants would be smart to pair him with a young linebacker vi the NFL Draft.

Of course, the big names like Nakobe Dean and Devin Lloyd stand out as the best in the draft class. However, there could be a few gems in the middle grounds that Big Blue could target, one of them being Georgia linebacker Quay Walker.

Walker is an instinctive player that stands at 6’4″ and 241 pounds. For his frame, Walker possesses great reactionary speed and sideline to sideline capabilities. With solid football IQ and eyes at the second level, he’s capable of plugging gaps and stopping runners through the middle of the formation.

While Walker doesn’t possess elite speed by any means, his positioning and understanding of the game give him an advantage. Walker projects as a good backup with eventual starter potential at linebacker, but given the only other option, the Giants currently have on the roster is Tae Crowder, who has likely already reached his ceiling, drafting a player to compete with him would be ideal. Coincidentally, Walker and Crowder bare both Georgia products.

As you can see in the clips, Walker possesses good vision and flows nicely over the line of scrimmage to stop runners. He’s rarely confused by motion and keeps his eyes on the football at all times. In addition, Walker is great at dropping back into coverage and lining up against tight ends. He has sufficient reaction timing that allows him to break on ball carriers. Another positive — Walker rarely misses tackles, which was a problem for the Giants last season.

Under former general manager Dave Gettleman, the mid-rounds were a graveyard of players, but new GM Joe Schoen should have more success given his history with the Buffalo Bills.

Nonetheless, Walker fits the bill nicely with his coverage abilities and great intelligence at the second level. Allowing him to learn from Blake Martinez would give him a tremendous advantage, and he could likely compete with Crowder immediately for starting snaps.

Yankees Rumors: One starting pitcher to sign or acquire via trade to bolster rotation

yusei kikuchi, mariners, yankees

Despite free agency already starting after the lockout ended on Thursday, the New York Yankees have been patient with their approach. Clearly, they have a big fish in mind, but whether that be Freddie Freeman from the Atlanta Braves or Carlos Correa is yet to be seen.

Nonetheless, the team could use another starting pitcher after losing Corey Kluber and the unreliability of several options on the roster currently. Depending on Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Jameson Taillon to help hold down the fort may be a foolish move, and their options are dwindling on the open market.

Let’s take a look at several pitchers who could fit the bill if the Yankees want to move swiftly via free agency or trade.

HOT NEWS: Yankees shifting blockbuster approach to shortstop 

A starting pitcher to sign: Yusei Kikuchi

The best option currently in free agency is Yusei Kikuchi from the Seattle Mariners. Aside from Zack Greinke, who is 38 years old, Kikuchi makes the most sense at just 30.

Kikuchi posted a 4.41 ERA last season over 157 innings. His biggest downside is overall quality innings, but he features the velocity the Yankees like to see with fastballs. The Japanese pitcher features quality-breaking pitches, including his curveball and split finger fastball. He recorded a 4.16 SIERA and 3.85 xFIP last season, two numbers that could improve with better coaching.

In terms of velocity, Kikuchi’s fastball travels at an average of 95.2 mph, with a split-finger fastball at 86.3 and 82.5 mph slider. He also heavily used a cutter last season at 34.6%.

The Yankees might look at Kikuchi and feature his fastball more predominantly, throwing it just 36% last season. Signing him to a one-year deal seems realistic, and the money wouldn’t be much of a problem.

A starting pitcher to trade for: Sean Manaea

If the Yankees want to go the trade route, Sean Manaea from the Oakland Athletics could be a perfect fit. Last season, Manaea through 179.1 innings, recording a 3.91 ERA and 77.3% left on base rate. The righty picture is only 30 years old, standing at 6’5″ and 245 pounds. He posted a 3.68 SIERA and 3.62 xFIP.

The Yankees have been connected with Oakland all off-season regarding a potential trade, mainly about first basement Matt Olson. However, they could shift their attention to Manaea, who averages a 92.2 mph fastball, throwing it 60.2% of the time. He also features a slider and change-up, which he uses frequently.

Manaea is preparing to hit free agency in 2023. Given he only has one year left of team control, the Yankees could like the scoop him up for a few middle-of-the-road prospects.

Chicago Bears: What do the last 48 hours tell us about Ryan Poles?

Bears, ryan poles

Lake Forest, Ill.– The last 48 hours for Chicago Bears fans have been bittersweet, to say the least. Thursday afternoon saw first-year general manager Ryan Poles ship off star pass rusher Khalil Mack for a pair of draft picks while Friday brought the release of Eddie Goldman and Tarik Cohen, two longtime foundational pieces of the Ryan Pace era.

On the surface, Poles big moves indicate the Bears are ready to punt on 2022 and are already looking ahead to 2023. The greater significance of moving on from players like Mack is using draft capital and newly created salary cap space to build around second-year quarterback Justin Fields.

During his introductory press conference, Poles spoke about wanting to take the NFC North and never give it back. For the Bears, that represents not just being competitive for two or three seasons but taking a page out of the Green Bay Packers book and running the division for multiple decades.

Moving on from Mack, Cohen, and Goldman was inevitable at some point over the next few years for the Bears. But Poles is willing to accelerate the rebuild. The bigger question now becomes, how will Poles plan to build around Fields? With free agency set to begin, will Poles get ready to swing for the fences and consider beefing up the offensive line while using the NFL Draft to surround Fields with playmakers? It’s a strategy that could pay off for Chicago if both the free agent class and rookie class pan out.

What’s happening in Chicago isn’t just another rebuild. Poles’ roots in Kansas City, a timeframe that spans back nearly 12 years in a franchise that’s been to two of the last three Super Bowls have allowed the Bears’ GM to see what it takes to build a championship caliber team on the heels of elite quarterback play. In an era where the NFL is driven by offense and elite quarterback play, Poles understands the significance of both and is ready to ensure the Bears reach those heights and get back to relevancy.

Giants’ GM Joe Schoen makes brilliant Blake Martinez and Sterling Shepard moves

New York Giants, Austin Mack, Sterling Shepard

It is no secret the New York Giants desperately need to clear salary space if they want to make moves during free agency. After former general manager, Dave Gettleman went on a spending spree last off-season, the Giants will have to wait until 2023 to make any big deals, but they can plug spots and look for value gems on the market that can compete for starting jobs.

New general manager Joe Schoen indicated he needs about $40 million in salary space to make the proper moves this off-season, which will be a very difficult challenge to solve. He’s already released Kyle Rudolph, Devontae Booker, and Riley Dixon, clearing about $10 million in salary space, but his team still remains in negative territory.

However, once the new restructured contracts for Sterling Shepard and Blake Martinez are released, Schoen should have a bit of maneuverability, and with the decision for James Bradberry coming up this week, they could open up a nice chunk of money to sign their draft picks and make some low-key moves.

Schoen acted brilliantly with Shepard and Martinez, retaining both players by reducing their salary hits to a point of similar savings if they simply release the players.

If the Giants would’ve cut Shepard, they would’ve saved $4.5 million, counting $8 million against the cap in dead money. With Martinez, they would’ve saved $8.5 million, presenting a $5.5 million dead money hit. The expectation is that both players will take a salary reduction to a number below well below their dead-money hit, which should open up a bit more flexibility for the Giants while maintaining two leaders on the team. Martinez’s restructure will save the Giants $6 million, a nice addition to their salary situation while keeping the player.

Shepard’s deal was expected to be heavily incentive-laden with a max value of $5.25 million. Having been scheduled to make $8.5 million, that is a massive pay cut. Given Shepard’s inability to stay healthy throughout his career, there’s a solid chance he never even reaches the incentives in the first place, so this is an extremely healthy contract for the Giants to save a ton of money in the process.

The main brilliance from Schoen here is the retention of the players. He could’ve easily moved on and signed stopgap options or looked to the draft as a supplement, but having two experience leaders on both sides of the football who are well respected within the organization is a great holdover from the previous regime.

Despite Sterling’s inconsistent health, he is a playmaker when on the field and helps the offense run smoothly. Martinez is the MIKE linebacker on the defense and plays an essential part in stopping the run. Having torn his ACL against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 last year, Martinez is expected to be ready for the start of the 2022 season, so saving the player and lowering his salary hit significantly was a win-win move.

Yankees shifting blockbuster approach toward star shortstop in wild turn of events

carlos correa, yankees

With free agency officially underway, the New York Yankees haven’t yet made a new signing, despite several players already being plucked off the market.

The Yankees were reportedly interested in star first baseman Freddie Freeman from the Atlanta Braves, and while they are still involved in the market, the Los Angeles Dodgers have increased their pursuit of the World Series winner from 2021. There’s always a possibility that general manager Brian Cashman swoops in and completes a deal, but the Dodgers clearly view him as a key piece to the future.

The Bombers still have plenty of money to spend with the luxury tax increasing to $230 million. Despite having multiple stud prospects waiting in the wings at shortstop, the team’s interesting Carlos Correa has sparked once again.

Francisco Lindor signed a 10 year, $341 million deal with the New York Mets. MLB Insider Hector Gomez is indicating that Correa could land a similar amount, and there’s no question that he is worth the money after phenomenal seasons with the Houston Astros.

The former No. 1 overall pick back in 2012 hit .279 with 26 homers and 92 runs batted in last year. Despite a back injury that required significant attention throughout the 2021 season, Correa still projects as arguably the best shortstop in baseball, logging a 5.8 WAR last season and a .981 fielding percentage with 11 errors over 1,304 innings.

The Yankees have dealt with poor shortstop play for quite some time now, especially on the defensive side. Correa would lock down the position for the next decade and potentially make the shift over to the hot corner one day if he’s open to the possibility.

It will be interesting to see what the Yankees will do with young prospects, Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. They are not far from making their Major League debuts. The consensus was the Yankees would take a stop-gap approach at shortstop, but if they go with the big-name signing in Carlos Correa, they have an established player who is in the prime of his game at just 27 years old.