Zhang Weili knocks out Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 275

On the main card of UFC 275, we saw a strawweight matchup that is a rematch from the 2020 Fight of the Year. Former strawweight champions Zhang Weili (21-3) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4) met for the second time inside the octagon.

Their first fight took place at UFC 248 just a little over two years ago. It was an absolute war with both fighters landing huge shots on the other. In the end, Zhang Weili defended her title at the time and won by split decision.

Since then, Joanna Jedrzejczyk hasn’t fought. She took some time away to heal and refocus. Now, she’s back and she looks happier than ever as she tries to climb back up the mountain to once again become champion.

Speaking of climbing back up the mountain, Zhang Weili was looking to do that. After having a dominant run to capture and defend the UFC title, Weili lost the title to Rose Namajunas last year. She then lost the immediate rematch to Namajunas. She’s looking to defeat Jedrzejczyk for the second time to get back to the title.

UFC 275 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 275 strawweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Jedrzejczyk immediately takes the center and starts working feints. Low kick starts the striking for Jedrzejczyk. Powerful answer for Weili with a kick of her own.

Another nice low kick from Jedrzejczyk. Weili counters with a nice right straight. Both step forward with big shots but it was hard to tell who landed the best shot there. Massive leg kick from Jedrzejczyk takes Weili off her feet.

Powerful body kick from Weili and these two are getting after it. Overhand from Weili misses but she times a nice takedown. She gets Jedrzejczyk down and she’s landing bombs against the fence. Jedrzejczyk works her way up to the fence but Weili drags her right back down.

Weili has a dominant position and she’s landing big shots. Jedrzejczyk is looking to defend here. More big shots from Weili and Jedrzejczyk gets back to her feet. However, it doesn’t last long as Weili gets her right back down.

Big right hand from Weili and she gets full mount. Massive elbows from Weili here and she’s dominating Jedrzejczyk here on the ground. Jedrzejczyk is trying to defend, but Weili is all over her.

Jedrzejczyk somehow spins out and she’s back to her feet. Pressure here from Weili on the feet. Both ladies land big shots in the center. Big right straight from Jedrzejczyk and the round comes to a close. Goodness gracious, Weili is up 1-0 at UFC 275.

Round 2

The second round at UFC 275 begins and both exchange big leg kicks. Jedrzejczyk pressing forward here and she lands a nice 1-2 over the top. Nice side kick lands for Weili. Beautiful combination from Jedrzejczyk and then Weili answers right back.

Massive body kick lands from Weili and Jedrzejczyk takes deep breath. Big leg kick from Jedrzejczyk lands. These two are just throwing massive heat and it’s hard to keep up. They clinch and Jedrzejczyk lands a nice knee to the body. Big elbow in the clinch from Weili and they break.

Nice 1-2 from Weili and that stung Jedrzejczyk. Out of no where a spinning back from Weili lands and Jedrzejczyk face plants. Zhang Weili just made a massive statement at UFC 275.

Zhang Weili def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by KO – Round 2

Kamaru Usman – Leon Edwards 2 announced as UFC 278 headliner

The UFC will be heading to Salt Lake City in August and tonight they announced the main event. The welterweight title will be on the line in a rematch as the champion Kamaru Usman (20-1) will defend his title against Leon Edwards (19-3, 1 NC).

As mentioned, the matchup will headline UFC 278 on August 20th in Salt Lake City. For Edwards, he’s finally getting the shot that he’s been waiting years for. In his last ten fights, Edwards is 9-0, 1 NC.

The last time that he was defeated inside the octagon, it was against Kamaru Usman. Edwards last fought in 2021 when he took on Nate Diaz at UFC 263. Leon Edwards looked sensational in that fight, however, things got really dicey in the final round.

Diaz rocked Edwards badly and nearly finished him, but “Rocky” held on and won the lopsided decision. Now, he’s getting his shot at UFC gold and he’s getting the chance to show everyone that he’s the best in the world.

Another UFC title defense for Usman

Kamaru Usman isn’t just the UFC welterweight champion, he’s the pound for pound king at the moment. He’s been flawless inside the octagon and with every fight, he seemingly gets better and better.

The last time we saw The Nigerian Nightmare it was at UFC 268 when he fought Colby Covington for the second time. Just like the first fight, the second fight was very close, but Kamaru Usman got his hand raised and retained his title.

The champion has been nursing a hand injury that’s kept him out of action for all of 2022 thus far. However, he’s been cleared to resume full time training and the UFC has Leon Edwards waiting for him.

When these two men first fought, Usman’s wrestling was just too much for Edwards. However, both men are so much better than they were the first time and this UFC 278 main event is going to be a completely different fight. I personally can’t wait for this one.

New York Giants have a sleeper in the outside cornerback competition

New York Giants, Darnay Holmes

The New York Giants are being rebuilt after switching regimes this offseason. Out with the old front office and coaching staff, and in with the new. General manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll have spent the offseason retooling the roster and implementing new schemes. They inherited a Giants team that was in bad shape financially and had to cut ties with some key players, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants moved on from starting safeties Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers as well as starting outside cornerback James Bradberry. There will now be a competition to fill Bradberry’s former position and third-year corner Darnay Holmes could be a sleeper in this battle.

Darnay Holmes was drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the last Giants regime. Since entering the league, Holmes has played slot cornerback for the Giants. This was a positional change for Holmes as he spent his collegiate career on the boundary. Darnay had a successful college career playing outside cornerback, but height and weight limitations caused him to move inside with the Giants. Now that there is an opening at boundary cornerback, Darnay Holmes could look to transition back to his original position.

Darnay Holmes could compete at outside cornerback

Some fans and analysts have always believed that Darnay Holmes could be more than just a slot corner. Holmes was cross-trained at both slot and boundary cornerback during his rookie season, but the Giants ultimately decided to play him as a nickel. Darnay has seen the field quite a bit since his rookie season. He played 12 games in 2020, and 11 games in 2021, and has logged 9 starts through his two-year career.

In that time, Darnay Holmes has totaled 2 interceptions, 7 passes defended, and 59 combined tackles. He is physical in the slot and does not shy away from ball carriers. The issue, however, is that Darnay has been dealing with injuries. He wore a red jersey in minicamp nursing a minor foot injury. Holmes is coming off of a 2021 season that ended with an injury.

Darnay Holmes needs to stay healthy in 2022. But if he does, there is a chance he could compete at outside cornerback. Adoree’ Jackson is being elevated to CB1, but there is a competition for CB2 that Holmes could mix his way into. Aaron Robinson, Dane Belton, and Cor’Dale Flott are all young Giants defensive backs that can play slot cornerback. Changing Darnay’s position will not leave the defense short-handed at nickel. Instead, it will give young guys even more opportunities to see the playing field. It has been a couple of years since Darnay lined up on the boundary, but he has proven to be a physical corner with good ball skills during his NFL career. Do not sleep on Darnay Holmes as a potential outside cornerback for the New York Giants in 2022.

Clint Frazier falls flat on his face after throwing shade at Yankees

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees allowed Clint Frazier to walk in free agency this past off-season after years of inconsistent play. In 2021, Frazier made 66 appearances, recording a .186 average with a 30% strikeout rate. He hit just five homers and recorded 15 RBIs, justifying the Yankees’ decision to let him go.

During Frazier’s tenure with the Bombers, he suffered through adversity. Dealing with vertigo and concussion symptoms that lasted over a year, Frazier was unable to make a full return, hurting his progression. The Yanks once believed Frazier would be an everyday outfielder for them, but he ended up joining the Chicago Cubs this past off-season on a one-year, $1.5 million deal.

However, Clint had some interesting words regarding his time with the Yankees before his team traveled to the Bronx for a three-game weekend series.

“You had to be a cookie-cutter version to be on that team,” he continued of the Yankees. “If not, then you were like a really bad distraction, it seemed like. So I don’t miss being told how I had to look for the last five years.”

In the classic fashion, the Cubs DFAd Frazier the very next day:

“He was upset,” Ross said of Frazier’s reaction. “Emotional would be a good word. I think he likes it here [the Cubs] a lot and he believes in his baseball skills, which we do too. I think it’s just one of those really tough decisions we have to make sometimes, which stink. … He’s worked his tail off and done nothing but be a great teammate here. All of his [teammates] like him, the coaches like him a lot. Again, just a roster spot, a move we had to make.”

This season, Frazier is hitting .216 over 19 games and 45 plate appearances. He has only tallied one RBI, but even a struggling Cubs team doesn’t have a place for him in the lineup.

Nonetheless, it was hilariously ironic that Frazier was demoted just hours after offering a glowing review of their acceptance of unique personalities.

Why the New York Giants may cut WR Darius Slayton

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

The New York Giants have a few decisions to make prior to the start of the 2022 season. One of them is regarding wide receiver Darius Slayton.

Slayton has been inconsistent for the Giants the past few seasons, seeing his production drop off significantly last year. As a rookie in 2019, Slayton recorded 740 yards and eight touchdowns. During his sophomore season, he produced 751 yards and three scores, showing an increase in receiving yards but not as much success in the end zone. However, he had his worst season to date in 2021, posting 339 yards and just two scores.

Slayton’s regression can be partially justified by the existence of Jason Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator. With Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka taking over the unit, the expectation is that the receivers will benefit. Slayton finds himself in a peculiar situation, despite better coaches.

The New York Giants could go for money over speed:

The fourth-year veteran is projected to earn $2.6 million this season, a nice chunk of change the Giants can reallocate toward another spot. The team signed former Las Vegas Raiders receiver Keelan Doss on Friday, who could compete with Slayton.

Nonetheless, Darius has been showing dependability during OTA, but that might not be enough to sustain his roster spot.

“He’s been dependable,” Daboll said of Slayton earlier in OTAs. “He’s known what to do. He doesn’t talk a whole lot. Pretty quiet guy but a pro. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, how he handles his business both on and off the field. He’s done a good job.”

Slayton‘s biggest issue has been his drop rate over the past three seasons. Last year, he posted an 18.8% drop rate, collecting six on 55 targets. That is an unacceptable number that can’t be tolerated at the NFL level, especially when the Giants are trying to rejuvenate a malnourished offense.

With the team drafting Wan’Dale Robinson in the second round, there’s an argument to be made that Slayton is currently the 5th receiver on the roster. Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Robinson, and Sterling Shepard all rank ahead of him, but none contain his speed.

Slayton‘s route tree is limited, but he’s extremely fast on 9-routes, beating defenders over the top. The Giants would like to have one speedster on the roster, so I can see why they would retain him for the final year of his rookie contract. However, if they want to save the $2.6 million in salary space, I wouldn’t be surprised if general manager Joe Schoen moved on in favor of a more cost-efficient option.

Yankees have found their spark-plug in unexpected catcher

jose trevino, yankees

The emergence of Jose Treviño has been something of a legend for the New York Yankees this season. They expected to go into the 2022 campaign with a platoon at catcher, featuring Kyle Higashioka and Ben Rortvedt, acquired in the Twins trade.

Unfortunately, Rortvedt joined the Yankees with an existing oblique injury and further picked up a knee issue that dampened his rehab. The Yankees acquired Treviño in a three-player trade with the Texas Rangers to supplement the loss. The veteran immediately became the second option behind Higashioka.

However, after Higashioka started the season with significant struggles in the batters box, Treviño quickly over took him and became one of the team’s unsung hero’s.

The Yankees can rely on Treviño to get the job done:

The Yankees have called upon Treviño on multiple occasions to come through in extra innings this season. He picked up his second walk-off win of the year on Friday night against the Chicago Cubs in the bottom of the 13th inning.

“Credit to [Trevino], he was ready to roll all night,” manager Aaron Boone said. “With him and Higgy … whoever’s playing, they’re [both] engaged and essentially playing the game anyway. Just a great job of being ready. Really good at-bat, got a pitch he could handle and stuck it.”

Jose earned the day off, but manager Aaron Boone gave him a chance to win the game when it mattered most. He slapped a single to left field, driving in Joey Gallo, who was on third base.

Despite his magisterial at-bat, he gave the credit to his teammates, who carried the load all the way to the 13th inning, giving him a chance to win the game.

“Our defense played well tonight,” Trevino said. “Our bullpen did what they’ve been doing, coming in and throwing up zeroes and giving us a chance to win the game. That kind of carried us over. We just needed one hit.”

Afterward, Treviño indicated that he wanted to do something special for his son, who was celebrating his fourth birthday.

“I don’t know what everybody believes in, but I know what I believe in,” Trevino said. “I believe I got a little extra help every time something like that happens.”

On the year, Treviño is hitting .290 with a 34% on-base rate and a 13% strikeout rate. He’s hit four homers and 17 RBIs, having his best season as a professional by a long shot. It has always been Jose’s dream to play for the Yankees, and he’s not letting a single second go to waste.

Report: Yankees will be active at the trade deadline seeking pitching support

David Bednar, yankees

With the trade deadline quickly approaching on August 2 at 6 PM, the New York Yankees are expected to be active in the hunt for more pitching support. This season, they’ve had a few positions that have presented liabilities, notably the outfield and the bullpen, with injuries arising.

Both Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo have struggled to get going this year, but both players have performed much better to start the month of June, indicating they might be hitting a turning point. Gallo has performed valiantly over the past seven games, hitting .250 with a 30.8% on-base rate, three homers, and six RBIs. On the other hand, Hicks is hitting .344 with one homer, four RBIs, and a 44.7% on-base rate. If they can begin to produce consistently, general manager Brian Cashman won’t have to supplement them at the deadline.

However, with Jonathan Loáisiga suffering a shoulder injury, Aroldis Chapman dealing with Achilles tendinitis, and Chad Green undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Yankees have to look for bullpen support.

Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees will be active in the veteran bullpen market:

The Yankees are planning to look for bullpen help. They will be far from alone. Top relievers who could be available include David Bednar, Michael Fulmer, and former Yankees Mark Melancon, Ian Kennedy and David Robertson. … The Yankees told Miguel Andjuar that though they’ve tried to trade him. the offers haven’t been good enough.

One bullpen arm the Yankees could take a swing at:

One name that stands out is David Bednar of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 27-year-old is having a stellar 2022 campaign, logging a 1.33 ERA over 27 innings. He’s recording 12.33 strikeouts per nine, 0.67 home runs per nine, and an 87.9% left on base rate.

Bednar hosts a variety of pitches, including a fastball, curveball, and split-fingered fastball. His velocity hovers in the 96.6 mph range regarding his fastball, which is a healthy number the Yankees will be attracted to. The question is, what would it cost Cashman to acquire Bednar from the Pirates?

With team control until the 2027 season, Bednar has an extraordinary value at this point in time. It would take a hefty package of minor leaguers for the Yankees to acquire him. We are talking about one of their exciting young prospects and a few middling options. Bednar will likely be out of their price range, so they might look for a player that doesn’t have as much team control and won’t cost them an arm and a leg.