Eagle FC 47 Recap: Junior Dos Santos shoulder injury caps off odd night

Tonight Eagle FC hosted their 47th event and they had a former heavyweight champion in the main event. Former UFC champion Junior Dos Santos (21-10) returned as he took on fellow UFC veteran Yorgan De Castro (9-3).

This was a huge fight for JDS as he was looking to snap a four-fight losing streak and he was looking to setup a potential fight with Fedor Emelianenko. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Scott Coker expressed interest in a co-promotion bout.

Throughout the first two rounds at Eagle FC 47, Dos Santos looked fantastic. He was chopping down the lead leg of Yorgan De Castro with brutal calf kicks and he was hitting him with crisp hooks. It was the best I’ve seen JDS in a while.

While De Castro of course had a punchers chance to win the fight, I even started writing the recap before the final bell. I thought the Eagle FC 47 main event was in the bag for JDS which would setup the Fedor fight.

However, disaster struck in the final round for the former UFC heavyweight champion. Dos Santos was stalking De Castro and throw a straight right hand. De Castro blocked the shot and JDS landed on the forearm of De Castro. When he did, his shoulder popped out of place and the fight was called off.

Truly nightmare scenario and De Castro picked up the TKO win at Eagle FC 47.

Odd Night at Eagle FC

In addition to the main event having an odd ending, the co-main event had an odd ending as well. Thiago Silva (21-9) and Hector Lombard (34-10-1) were fighting at light heavyweight in the Eagle FC co-main event.

Lombard looked good in the opening moments of the fight. In fact, he dropped the returning Thiago Silva and looked close to a finish. However, Silva survived and towards the end of the first round, he started taking over.

In the second round, Silva was really getting the better of Lombard. He sat him down with a beautiful right straight, but then he made a big mistake. He rushed in and landed a glancing knee while Lombard was on the ground.

While it didn’t look like Lombard was that hurt, the doctor came in and Lombard said he couldn’t continue. Personally, I think it was more of a case of fatigue. Anyway, the Eagle FC 47 co-main ended in a no-contest.

There were some solid fights throughout the night, but the two featured bouts ended in an extremely odd way. Not the night that Khabib Nurmagomedov and the rest of the Eagle FC leadership team wanted.

Mets should look for starting pitching help on heels of Max Scherzer injury

mets, max scherzer

The New York Mets are 12 games over .500, sitting atop the NL East with a comfortable seven-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The team had avoided their first series loss of the season until this past weekend when they dropped two of three games to the Seattle Mariners. With a chance to get back on track and take three of four from the St Louis Cardinals, the Mets entered the 9th inning of Thursday’s game with a 5-4 lead. But in the blink of an eye, Edwin Diaz was victimized by a soft hit infield single and later by an error from third baseman Eduardo Escobar that allowed the tying run to score. Mets fans had seen this movie before. But for this matinee showing, fans may have been treated to the director’s cut. With the Cardinals now leading 6-5 in the 10th (thanks to the dopey extra-inning ghost runner rule), Pete Alonso saved the day and Mets fans further heartache with his mammoth walk-off two-run home run. Further heartache, you ask?

The Mets’ strong start to their season- highlighted by multiple, seemingly impossible, come-from-behind wins- would be a reason to start purchasing playoff tickets. But in the middle of the Mets Thursday win, turned loss, turned win again vs. the Cardinals, Mets fan’s greatest fear came true.

That is the news about Max Scherzer, who pulled himself from his start Wednesday due to an apparent injury in the middle of an at-bat. An MRI on Thursday revealed an oblique strain for the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer and a 6-8 week recovery timeline. Despite the absence of their ace Jacob DeGrom, Mets fans felt some security knowing Scherzer could hold down the fort until his return. They’re both shelved for at least the next month and a half.

Billy Eppler has made it clear- the New York Mets are a win-now team. The team signed Scherzer this offseason, three new starting position players in Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Eduardo Escobar, and traded for starting pitcher Chris Bassitt. But without DeGrom. Without Scherzer. With Tylor Megill already enduring a stint on the injured list. The New York Mets need to trade for another starting pitcher.

Yes- it’s early. No- it’s never wise to negotiate in desperation. It’s something that even the most optimistic of Mets fans would admit about the state of their rotation right now. But something Mets fans are all too familiar with is the midseason swoon that has doomed this franchise year in and year out.

Last season the Mets held first place for over 100 days—longer than any other division winner in the league. But the Mets not only did not win the National League East. They didn’t even make the playoffs, finishing eight games under .500 with a 77-85 mark.

And while that Mets team was not nearly as talented as this one, thanks to the offseason additions made by Eppler and approved by owner Steve Cohen, the core pitfalls of the 2021 disaster mirror what the 2022 Mets currently face. The Mets, already without DeGrom and now without Scherzer, will have to go into the deepest crevices of their starting rotation depth for the interim. And there is a very real possibility the Mets will see 2 to 3 turns in their rotation feature Taijuan Walker, David Peterson, and Trevor Williams on the bump.

The trade market surely hasn’t developed, but perhaps the Mets should be the first to jump in the pool. Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo are the first two pitchers to come to mind. Two starters are pitching for teams that figure to be in the basement all year long with Oakland and Cincinnati.

It would be hard to envision the Mets making a trade of that magnitude at this early juncture of the season. But perhaps a pitcher of less pedigree, such as Chad Kuhl of the Rockies, could be serviceable for the time being. A former Pittsburgh Pirate, Kuhl has a 3.77 ERA pitching in the unfriendly confines and thin air of Coors Field. Would someone of that ilk be enough to help carry the freight while the Mets’ two aces are on the mend? Maybe. Maybe not.

But one thing is for certain- one month into the season, the New York Mets have been forced to scrape the bottom of their starting pitching depth barrel, just as they were forced to in 2021. And we all know how that season ended.

Yes, it’s early. But The Mets have seen this film before. Will they cut this tape differently? Or watch a repeat? Will it feature that same bitter, cruel ending?

Yankees starting pitcher suffers ‘significant’ injury, could miss rest of season

luis gil, yankees

The New York Yankees Vs. Chicago White Sox was rained out on Friday, but that wasn’t the only bad news the team experienced. According to manager Aaron Boone, supplemental starting pitcher, Luis Gil, suffered an apparent “significant” injury.

Gil was pulled from his last start against Worcester, lasting 4.2 innings, before feeling something in his elbow.

Based on the look of the injury, there is a belief it could require Tommy John surgery. Gil will miss the remainder of the season and a good portion of 2023 recovering.

How has Luis Gil performed up to this point with the Yankees?

This year, the 23-year-old starter made one appearance for the top team, giving up four earned runs and five hits over 4.0 innings.

The Yankees escaped with a win against Chicago, posting 15 runs to help supplement any deficiencies from their pitching. However, Gil has struggled this season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, recording a 7.89 ERA over 21.2 innings. He’s given up 21 hits, 19 earned runs, and six homers.

This is a significant loss for the Yankees, given he was their first choice supplemental option in the starting rotation. Now, they will likely have to target the trade market for a potential addition who can help smooth over the loss.

While they do have a few options to consider, notably Deivi Garcia, Michael King, and even Clarke Schmidt, it undoubtedly throws a wrench into the team’s plans.

Rumors: Yankees could trade struggling slugger at deadline

joey gallo, yankees

The New York Yankees are gearing up for an interesting trade deadline in a few weeks, especially with their outfield going through liability issues. Aside from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, both Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo have been complete disappointments this season.

Hicks has been arguably the worst player on the team offensively. Gallo has followed close behind despite slight improvements this month.

Gallo posted a .180 average with two homers and 11 hits over 61 at-bats to start the season in April. He struck out on nearly 50% of those at-bats but has brought that number down a bit this month. He’s still only hitting .171 since May 4, posting seven hits and three homers. Gallo is making solid contact and picking up a few walks along the way.

Nonetheless, he has still been an offensive liability, making him a potential trade piece for general manager Brian Cashman.

According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Yankees could be in the seller’s market:

The most intriguing name mentioned by an executive this week was Joey Gallo, who has struggled since being acquired by the Yankees last summer. Gallo slashed .167/.298/.383 with 18 home runs and 29 RBIs in his first 90 games with New York, including .182/.289/.343 with five home runs and seven RBIs in 33 games this season.

Gallo is currently on a one-year, $10.275 million deal, so a prospective team would essentially be renting him for the remainder of the season. However, a change of scenery could be good for Gallo, as wearing pinstripes isn’t for everybody.

The question is, what exactly is he worth?

According to Baseballtradevalues.com, Gallo has an 11.7 numerical value, giving him a net positive rating. It is important to note that Gallo does have two Gold Gloves in back to back years, including an All-Star appearance in 2021. For a team that loves home run hitters and good defensive outfielders, Gallo is an attractive player on the market. The Yankees might be looking for bullpen support in exchange.

Gallo ranks in the 98 percentile in barrel percentage, 91st percentile in hard-hit percentage, and 92nd percentile in walk rate. He has struck out an exorbitant amount at 37.8% this year, but he should gradually improve as the season wears on.

It should be interesting to see how Cashman addresses the outfield, especially with offensive problems arising. Luckily, injury issues haven’t been the primary catalyst behind trade rumors.

Mets will be without top two starters for a while

Could the New York Yankees pursue Max Scherzer in a trade?

The New York Mets are already down Jacob deGrom, the best pitcher in baseball, as he recently started his throwing program following a stress reaction on his right scapula. Now, however, their other ace went down, too: Max Scherzer will miss the next 6-8 weeks as he recovers from a “moderate to high-grade internal oblique strain.”

Scherzer suffered the injury in the Mets’ game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. He threw a pitch and immediately called in the trainer, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to continue pitching.

He underwent an MRI on Thursday morning, and the results showed the injury. He also has some blisters, but the longer absence will be related to his oblique strain.

Who will return to the Mets’ rotation first?

deGrom and Scherzer are making $78.8 million combined this season, and now, the Mets will be forced to be without them for weeks. Now, the question will be who returns first: deGrom needs about a spring training worth of reps, bullpens, and minor league games, so his return will likely be delayed into July, around the All-Star break.

Additionally, given the fact he is 37 years old, the Mets will likely be careful with Scherzer and have him return closer to the eight-week timetable than the six-week one.

“It definitely sucks, but it’s more so just next man up,” said No. 3 starter Chris Bassitt, who is now the Mets’ de facto ace. “We have the depth to withstand this. This is why I think the front office … brought me in, and brought Max in to really shore up the starters. When things happen — because things happen to everybody — we’re able to still win games. We didn’t lose him for the year, so it is what it is.”

The Mets’ pitching depth will be tested in the next few weeks, and names such as Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Megill, David Peterson, and Trevor Williams will have step up.

How and when will the drama between Nate Diaz and the UFC end?

One of the biggest stars in the UFC is begging to fight. That star is Stockton’s own Nathan Diaz (20-13) who has been sitting on the sidelines since June of last year while he waits for a fight from the UFC.

Diaz currently has one fight left on his current contract. As things currently stand, it doesn’t appear that Diaz is interested in resigning with the UFC. Diaz has been with the promotion since he was on The Ultimate Fighter back in 2007.

However, he’s been very vocal that he’s been annoyed with the way he’s been treated by the UFC as of late. To understand Diaz’s frustration, you have to understand how contracts work with the UFC.

The promotion is obligated to offer a fighter a certain number of fights a year. If a fighter is on the final fight of their contract, all the UFC has to do is formally offer a fight. If the fighter declines the fight that was offered, the contract is automatically extended to allow the promotion more time to offer a new opponent.

UFC Standstill

The UFC has essentially been giving Diaz an ultimatum for this final fight of his contract. Diaz has been very vocal about wanting to fight former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. Poirier has also said that’s the fight that he wants to make.

With both fighters wanting the fight, it seems pretty cut and dry that the fight should be made. Well, it’s not that easy. While Poirier would likely be favored in a matchup against Diaz, it’s a fight where Diaz does have a pretty clear path to victory.

The UFC doesn’t love the idea of giving Diaz a fight that would give him a win and raise his star power just to watch him walk out the door. As a result, they’ve formally offered him a fight against Khamzat Chimaev twice and the word is that Diaz declined.

It’s an awful stylistic matchup for Diaz and would lower his value entering free agency. I think the UFC is willing to give Diaz the Poirier fight, but only if they are allowed to extend him to keep him with the promotion for the rest of his career.

Thus, we have this standstill where nothing is happening. Diaz even posted a photo of himself pissing on the UFC PI because of these negotiations. Something has to give and one way or another Diaz needs to get back in the octagon. This is all about who is going to blink first.

My gut tells me that it will be Diaz. Either signing a longer contract or just agreeing to the Chimaev fight to get out of the promotion. No telling when this will happen, but we know Poirier wants to fight him on July 30th. That seems like a good time for Diaz to get back in the cage regardless.

Willis Reed’s iconic Knicks NBA Finals warm-up jacket up for auction

A hobbling Willis Reed inspiring the New York Knicks to an incredible Game 7 win for their first NBA championship in 1970 is undoubtedly the greatest moment in franchise history.

Owning a piece of that iconic moment would be priceless for a die-hard Knicks fan.

The warm-up jacket that Reed has worn before that game and during the postgame celebration is up for grabs at Grey Flannel Auctions. The jacket’s authenticity has been guaranteed after being photo-matched to his post-game interview with ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell.

The white jacket featuring the classic Knicks’ interlocking “NY” logo was made by Gerry Cosby and Co., an institution for Knicks & New York Rangers apparel. It also has a customized, embroidered ‘Reed’ patch signifying it belongs to the former Knicks captain.

According to Grey Flannel Auctions, the jacket originally came from a car dealership employee who made a trade with a Madison Square Garden employee who likely traded a car for the jacket.
In December 2009, Grey Flannel Auctions sold a game-worn Reed jersey during the 1973-74 season for $39,000. Reed’s warm-up jacket is expected to fetch more than that, given the event’s historical significance.
“This one will blow that price away,” Sam Heller, a representative from Grey Flannel Auctions, told Empire Sports Media.
The Knicks went into the Game 7 uncertain whether Reed would play after tearing a muscle in his right thigh in the fourth quarter of Game 5. The Knicks survived in Game 5 but was outmatched in Game 6.
The packed Madison Square Garden went into a frenzy when Reed emerged wearing the warm-up jacket from the tunnel. Reed hit two jump shots against Wilt Chamberlain and never scored again. But his presence was enough to inspire the Knicks, who led by as many as 29 points in the first half, to nail their first NBA title with a 113-99 victory at the expense of their bitter rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Reed was honored as one of the 50 greatest NBA players in 1996. He was later honored again as part of the NBA’s 75th anniversary team. He won two championships with the Knicks and was the Finals MVP in both series. He also won the regular-season MVP in 1970.
As of posting time, the current bid for Reed’s iconic warm-up jacket is $16,106. The bidding will close on June 4.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

UFC Vegas 55 Co-Main Preview: Santiago Ponzinibbio – Michel Pereira

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 55, we are going to see an absolute banger in the welterweight division. Two of the more exciting fighters in the division will battle it out as Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio (28-5) takes on Brazil’s Michel Pereira (27-11).

Ponzinibbio enters the cage ranked fourteenth and that ranking is something that Pereira desperately wants. Pereira will enter UFC Vegas 55 riding a four-fight winning streak. The last time we saw him was at UFC 270 when he got a decision win over Andre Fialho.

Since making his debut back in 2019, he’s gone 5-2 in seven fights. Granted one of those losses was to Diego Sanchez in a fight he dominated but lost by DQ after he landed an illegal knee in the final round. Pereira is poised to give Ponzinibbio a tough fight tomorrow night.

Santiago Ponzinibbio at one point looked like he was going to be a future UFC champion. Back in 2018, he knocked out Neil Magny and was sitting at 27-3 in his career. However, injuries sidelined him for a couple of years and that through everything off.

He was knocked out by Li Jingliang upon his return and then he’s split his last two fights. Granted, many believe he won his last fight against Geoff Neal. While he’s looked solid, he hasn’t looked quite like the guy who many pegged to be a future champion.

UFC Vegas 55 Prediction

In this fight I’m seeing a wild man taking on someone who is aggressive but a bit more calculated. Pereira is a straight up wild man and we’ve seen that during his UFC fights. He will throw massive shots with a ton of power, but he’s not the most accurate striker.

He’s also not the most sound defensively. With the loud movements and ineffective defense, we’ve seen his cardio look suspect in some of his UFC bouts. That could come into play tomorrow night considering the style of Ponzinibbio.

I’m expecting Ponzinibbio to pressure Pereira but keep himself out of a fire fight. Pereira is the most dangerous when things are chaotic. If Ponzinibbio remains composed and attacks with accuracy, I think this is a really good fight for him.

While it’s always hard to pick against someone on a four-fight winning streak, I have to do it here. I just think Ponzinibbio is going to be too sharp and that will ultimately win a close but entertaining decision.

Prediction: Santiago Ponzinibbio by Decision

UFC Vegas 55 Main Event Preview: Holly Holm – Ketlen Vieira

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 55, we will see a pivotal matchup in the women’s bantamweight division. Former bantamweight champion Holly Holm (14-5) returns from a lengthy injury layoff as she takes on surging contender Ketlen Vieira (12-2).

For the former UFC champion, this will be her first fight since October of 2020. A number of injuries have kept Holm out of action, but she’s back and she’s ready to show that she’s ready for another crack at the title.

Entering UFC Vegas 55, Holm has won two straight. The last time we saw her was on Fight Island and she put on a clinic against Irene Aldana. In that fight, Holm truly looked better than ever.

Irene Aldana is a shared opponent between Holm and Ketlen Vieira. Aldana was actually the first person to defeat Vieira. Vieira started her career 10-0 which included wins over Cat Zingano and Sara McMann.

Injuries set her back and she went 1-2 in her next three. However, she looked better than ever in her last fight. Vieira took on former UFC champion Miesha Tate and won a unanimous decision.

UFC Vegas 55 Prediction

I’m very interested to see how both of these fighters look tomorrow night. Vieira looked better than ever back in November when she defeated Miesha Tate and Holm looked sensational when she defeated Irene Aldana.

However, being 40 years old and having this lengthy of a layoff isn’t ideal for the UFC champion. That being said, if anyone can bypass that, it’s someone with the experience and pedigree of Holly Holm.

Throughout Holm’s career, she’s shown really solid takedown defense. I think she’ll need that tomorrow as I can see Vieira trying to take her down. For the most part, I’m expecting this fight to take place on the feet.

Not sure if I see a finish, but instead I think we see a technical points battle. With that in mind, I really like the former UFC champion in this spot. While Vieira has really nice pop in her shots, I think she’ll be at a speed and technical disadvantage.

I’m expecting Holm to remain on her bicycle throughout the fight and frustrate Vieira. When the scorecards are read, Holm will pick up the decision win and likely get herself in line for another shot at the UFC bantamweight title.

Prediction: Holly Holm by Decision

Yankees Rumors: Aaron Judge could be Mets top target in free agency next off-season

aaron judge, yankees

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman took an incredibly risky approach with Aaron Judge’s contract extension this past off-season. The Bombers offered him seven years and $213.5 million to stick around for the foreseeable future. Judge’s representatives declined, looking to capitalize on a dominant 2022 season.

After 36 games of action, Cashman is likely pounding his fist on the table, watching Judge’s numbers increase daily. He currently hosts a .307 average with 14 homers and 30 RBIs. His 38.1% on-base percentage is one of the best on the team, and he’s striking out at just 26.3%, below his career average.

The Yankees are seeing the best of Aaron Judge:

At 30 years old, Judge hasn’t lost an ounce of power either, recording a 65.3% hard-hit rate and 27.6% barrel rate. His average exit velocity is the highest in his career at 97 mph. Judge ranks in the 97th percentile or better in seven advanced batting metrics, including average exit velocity, barrel rate, batting average, and hard-hit rate. His whiff rate has evened out at average, meaning he’s seeing pitches extremely well.

Against fastballs, Judge is hitting .305 this season, but against breaking balls, he’s hitting .400. Opposing pitchers are desperately trying to figure out how to attack Aaron. He’s experienced a slight increase in fastball usage, which has done absolutely nothing against one of baseball’s best hitters.

However, the open market will have a chance to jump on Judge this upcoming off-season. The Yankees will have their hand in the mix, undoubtedly. I wouldn’t rule out the crosstown rival Mets as a prospective buyer.

According to Kiley McDaniel of ESPN, the Mets have routinely come up among MLB executives discussing where Judge could land in free agency:

Mets owner Steve Cohen. He came up in every conversation I had with execs about Judge — partly because the Mets could stand to upgrade their outfield, but mostly because he becomes the Kool-Aid Man when a cost control is put in front of him.

The Mets could be a real competition in the market:

With Mets owner, Steve Cohen sitting atop a mountain of cash, stealing Judge away from the Yankees would make him the most loved person on Long Island.

There is reason to believe that Judge could find his contract approaching $300 million over eight seasons. Given his deal with expire at nearly 40 years old, there’s a legitimate possibility that Cashman lets him walk.

With the league slowly moving away from behemoth contracts for players over 30, there’s a real possibility Cashman sets a price limit. Over in Queens, Cohen could be licking his chops, preparing to make Juge a very rich man.