A realistic matchup for Donald Cerrone after UFC Vegas 11

Donald Cerrone

Saturday night at UFC Vegas 11, Donald Cerrone (36-15-1, 1 NC) fought to the first draw of his career against Niko Price (14-4-1, 1 NC). However, Cowboy was looking at it as the fifth straight loss for him inside the octagon.

If it had not been for a point deduction in the first round, Cerrone would have lost a split decision. The fight was close, but it should have been a fifth straight UFC loss for Donald Cerrone. Many thought it was do or die for Cowboy leading up to UFC Vegas 11.

Cowboy, who is notorious for staring slow, almost appeared to be out before the fight even started. Price blitzed him to start and nearly got a finish, but Cerrone hung in there. He battled back and even won the third round on all scorecards.

Cerrone was clearly dejected after the fight was over. Dana White suggested that the UFC needed to have a talk with Cerrone which could signal the end. However, Cerrone isn’t ready to give up. He’s looking for one more chance to prove himself.

Intriguing matchup for the UFC to consider

I kept trying to wrap my brain around who I would pair Cerrone with in his next fight. Who could the UFC give him that would make for a compelling fight, but it would be a winnable fight for Cerrone?

It’s crazy to think, but we are just a little over a year removed from Cerrone being a win away from a UFC title shot. Cerrone’s fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 238 was considered a title eliminator. If Cerrone had won that night, he would have fought for the title.

Instead, that night started this steep downhill tumble for Cowboy. I think I’ve come up with the perfect opponent for Cowboy and it’s an opponent who’s going to be fighting this weekend at UFC 253. That opponent is Diego Sanchez (30-12).

Sanchez will be taking on Jake Mathews this weekend, but regardless of the result, a fight with Cowboy makes sense. Both guys are obviously past their primes, and there’s a little history there. Sanchez really wanted to fight Cowboy back in 2018.

The options for the UFC and Cerrone are relatively limited. I don’t think the promotion should book him with a top contender or an up and comer. Give him someone with a name, but someone that he can fight competitively with. The original ultimate fighter makes a lot of sense to me.

 

The New York Yankees played the J.A. Happ situation perfectly

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

One of the most pleasant surprises for the New York Yankees this year has been J.A. Happ. The expectations were not high for Happ given how bad he was during the 2019 season. Last year the Yankees‘ weakness was starting pitching.

Despite that being an obvious weakness, Happ didn’t start in the postseason because of how bad he was in 2019. 12-8 with a 4.91 ERA, a WHIP of 1.295, and giving up more than 30 home runs doesn’t earn you a spot in the postseason rotation.

Going into the shortened 2020 season, the Yankees were going to do everything they could to prevent Happ from vesting his option. No way did the Yankees want to be on the hook for $17 million in 2021 after what they had seen from Happ.

However, Happ has surprised everyone this season with his pitching. So far this year he’s pitched to a 3.25 ERA and a 2-2 record. However, if you take out his first two starts, Happ has pitched to an ERA of 1.93 which is absolutely incredible.

The Yankees got the best of both

The Yankees re-signed Happ after he looked great for them in the 2018 season. The market was fierce so the Yankees had to give Happ a 2 year deal at $17 million per year with a vesting third year option. The Yankees were hoping for the best of Happ, but only for two years.

Well, with the shortened season, it looks like they are going to get their wish. Happ is pitching the best the Yankees could have hoped for, and his option doesn’t appear likely to vest. Happ needed ten starts or 61.1 innings pitched. Happ is at eight starts and 44.1 innings pitched right now.

With the amount of games left, Happ will only get one more regular season start with the Yankees. Thus, his option is not going to vest and he will be a free agent after this year. The third Yankees starting pitcher that will hit the market this offseason (James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka).

The Yankees have played this perfectly. Happ is pitching at his best, and the bombers know that they won’t be on the hook for $17 million. Happ’s pitching is good enough to get him another 1-2 year deal with someone, but it won’t be for $17 million, and it won’t be with the Yankees.

Should Tyron Woodley retire after UFC Vegas 11?

UFC, Tyrone Woodley

Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) could not stop the bleeding at UFC Vegas 11. The former welterweight champion had his back against the wall, and he had the fight that was supposed to motivate him more than any other. A grudge match with Colby Covington (16-2).

Woodley was in sink or swim mode leading up to UFC Vegas 11. The former UFC welterweight champion had lost two straight fights. However, he didn’t just lose those fights, he was thoroughly dominated losing all ten rounds of both fights.

If there was going to be any fight that could motivate him to get back to his former self, you would think the Covington fight would be it. However, we saw basically the same result as his previous two UFC outings. Woodley was completely dominated before a rib injury stopped the fight.

Should the former UFC champ hang it up?

UFC President Dana White said that he believes that Woodley should hang it up after Saturday night. That’s a popular feeling among a lot of people in the sport. Woodley has just looked like a shell in his last three contests.

Entering the fifth round against Covington, Woodley had lost 14 straight rounds. He’s been shutout in three straight UFC contests, and he didn’t even have moments in any of the fights where he remotely resembled his former self.

Woodley turns 39 next year, and he just doesn’t seem to have his head in it anymore. With no real path forward in the UFC, I think it’s probably a good time to walk away for Woodley. Nobody wants to walk away on a losing streak like this, but what else is there?

If Woodley wants to keep fighting, the UFC isn’t going to give him anyone at the top tier because he’s proved that he can’t hang anymore. That’s why I believe that it would just be better for him to hang up his gloves after Saturday.

He’s had a very good career which included capturing the UFC welterweight title and defending it four times. However, he’s not that same guy anymore, and it’s time to face reality if you’re Tyron Woodley.

Yankees’ catcher competition is good for Gary Sanchez

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

Throughout the entire 2020 season, fans have been frustrated with Gary Sanchez. The New York Yankees catcher has been pretty terrible overall when you look at the numbers. Sure he’s hit some home runs, but he’s left a lot to be desired.

Despite his abysmal performance, Sanchez wasn’t really pushed from the backups. Last year, the Yankees had Austin Romine who really pushed Sanchez in terms of internal competition. If Sanchez couldn’t perform, Romine was right there for the Yankees.

However, the Yankees didn’t have the luxury of someone like Romine this season. However, Kyle Higashioka has completely turned heads over the past week. Higashioka smacked three home runs in the Yankees win over Toronto on September 16th.

He’s hitting the ball hard, and Higashioka looks very comfortable at the plate. Not to mention the fact that Gerrit Cole loves pitching to him. Cole has looked sensational with Higashioka catching him. All of these attributes for Higgy are actually good for Gary Sanchez.

Yankees Catcher Competition = Motivation

If there’s been one knock on Gary Sanchez over the past few years it’s been his motivation. We hear stories all the time of how the Yankees say he’s working hard, but a lot of the times it leaves fans scratching their heads due to the lack of improvement.

Sanchez has been called out by Yankees fans for his lack of hustle. However, Sanchez didn’t have to experience too much pressure because nobody was threatening his job. That’s been changing as of late.

Now that Giancarlo Stanton is healthy, there’s a very real chance that Gary Sanchez doesn’t get to start the Yankees first playoff game. I’m not sure the Yankees will deviate from having Higashioka catch Cole.

However, Sanchez can force their hand if he continues to play well. We’ve seen an uptick in Sanchez’s performance as of late. His batting average has climbed over 30 points in the last ten days, and he’s looking more comfortable at the plate.

The Yankees catcher needs all the motivation he can get. Higashioka playing as well as he is will only motivate Sanchez. Sanchez is looking at being benched to start the Yankees playoff run, and if that doesn’t motivate him, I don’t know what would.

What’s next for Colby Covington after UFC Vegas 11

On Saturday evening at UFC Vegas 11, Colby Covington (16-2) arguably earned the most satisfying victory of his career. Covington dominated Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) over the course of five rounds before a rib injury stopped the action in the final round.

The former UFC interim champion used his high level pace and pressure to break Woodley. After years of build up, Covington did what he said he would do in dominating the former UFC champion. It was a big bounce back win for Covington.

Since 2016, Covington is 8-1 with his lone loss coming to Kamaru Usman back at UFC 245 for the undisputed title. This was Covington’s first fight since losing the fight to Usman back in December of last year. So after this victory, what’s next for Colby Covington?

What should the UFC do?

If you ask me, there are a few avenues that the UFC could pursue with Colby Covington. The first option is they could just have him wait for the winner of the Kamaru Usman – Gilbert Burns fight that is scheduled for UFC 256 in December.

Dana White has said how much he loved Usman and Covington’s fight from UFC 245, and he absolutely believes that Covington is in the mix for another title shot. With the current state of everything, Covington could be first in line for the winner.

Another option, and the one I personally think they should do, is pairing Covington with Jorge Masvidal. There is so much heat right now between Masvidal and Covington. Their fight is a fight that UFC fans are dying to see. The storyline is there for a massive event.

Now, the UFC has been working on a Masvidal – Nate Diaz rematch for January, but that fight is still not finalized. The UFC might pivot to make the Covington fight if Masvidal is willing to do it. That’s still up in the air at the moment.

The other option for Covington would be Leon Edwards. Edwards still doesn’t have an opponent despite calling out nearly everyone for a fight in the UFC. The third ranked contender has just been sitting on the sidelines.

The fight would make sense from a rankings perspective, but I’m not sure Covington wants that fight. I think Covington will hold out for either Masvidal or another shot at the welterweight title.

UFC President on Khamzat Chimaev: “I’ve never seen anyone like him”

Last night at UFC Vegas 11, Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) was supposed to have his toughest test yet. He was going into the octagon against a guy in Gerald Meerschaert (31-14) that was going for the record for most submissions in the UFC middleweight division.

Meerschaert was supposed to pose some interesting challenges for the Russian prospect to overcome. However, Chimaev silenced everyone in just 17 seconds. Chimaev pushed forward and turned the lights out on Meerschaert quick.

UFC Vegas 11 reinforced the fact that Chimaev is supremely talented. Chimaev has great wrestling and he just proved that he possesses dynamite in his hands. After the fight, Dana White said that, “I’ve never seen anyone like him,” referring to Chimaev.

What does the UFC do with Chimaev?

It’s going to be fascinating to see what the UFC decides to do with Chimaev after this performance. Despite him only having three fights, it’s clear that he’s on a completely different level than the guys he’s fighting against. Chimaev is ready for the top ten.

The logical next step for the UFC would be to continue with booking the Demian Maia (28-10) as planned. Maia is a jiu jitsu world champion, and he’s been a top contender for years. He’s currently ranked 7th in the UFC‘s welterweight division.

However, he would be a massive underdog in a fight with Chimaev. There’s no chance in the world that Maia would be able to take down Chimaev, and he can’t strike with him. If Chimaev takes Maia down, I’m not sure Maia would be able to submit him through the shots he’d take.

It’s crazy to sit here and say that a legend like Demian Maia would have no chance, but I can’t see him having a chance. Khamzat Chimaev is not a normal prospect. He’s very special, and I think the UFC should turn up the competition, but be smart. Chimaev has superstar written all over him.

 

UFC: Is tonight do or die for Cowboy Cerrone?

Donald Cerrone

One of the more popular UFC fighters over the last decade has been Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15, 1 NC). Cowboy gained popularity due to his attitude regarding fighting. Cerrone would step in on a minute’s notice to take any fight.

Over the years, Cerrone has put together an impressive UFC resume. While never capturing a UFC title, Cerrone holds multiple records with the promotion. He holds the most wins, the most finishes, the most bonuses and the most knockdowns in promotional history.

However, going into this next fight, the tune is a little different for Cowboy. Cerrone is starting to get up their in age, and he’s entering this contest on a four fight losing streak. That being said, is this fight at UFC Vegas 11 tonight do or die?

Cowboy’s UFC Future

There is no doubting the fact that Cowboy loves to fight. This week he was smiling at all of his media obligations because this is truly what he loves to do. Cowboy certainly didn’t sound like someone who was thinking about hanging it up.

He shut down retirement talks saying, “I’m going to leave when I’m done.” Still the UFC losing streak cannot be ignored. Granted, the losses have all come to former champions Conor McGregor, Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, and Tony Ferguson.

This fight against Niko Price (14-4, 1 NC) is much different. It’s different because this is the first time Cowboy isn’t fighting someone truly elite. If he can’t get past Price, he can’t lean on the fact that he’s only lost to top competition.

This is a fight that Cowboy should win if he comes at his best. If he can’t win, his UFC future starts to look a little bleak. It’s hard not to root for someone as lovable as Cowboy, but his back is definitely against a wall tonight.

UFC: What to make of this Dustin Poirier – Tony Ferguson situation

A few weeks ago, UFC President Dana White smiled at a press conference when hinting that Tony Ferguson (25-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) would be the co-main event at UFC 254 on Fight Island. Everyone assumed the fight would happen.

Then, we started to hear that there were troubles in the negotiations between Poirier and the UFC. Shortly after, we learned that the UFC scrapped the fight and was moving on. White said that the promotion would move on to give Tony Ferguson another fight.

A confident White said that he didn’t believe Ferguson would turn down the fight that they would offer. However, Ferguson appeared to, “go quiet,” on the UFC according to White. Without hearing a confirmation from El Cucuy, the promotion pulled him from the 254 lineup as well.

White said that he’s looking for guys right now who are willing to jump in no matter what. Well, Poirier wants to be compensated more by the UFC for his next fight, and it appears that Ferguson is only interested in a fight with Poirier.

What does the UFC do?

It’s obvious now that we won’t see Ferguson and Poirier square off inside the UFC until at least November when the promotion returns from Fight Island. Now that we know that Ferguson is also off the 254 card, I expect the UFC to try to make this fight again for a later date.

We don’t really know how far Poirier and the promotion were apart on the negotiations. I believe that there is a middle ground somewhere in order to make the fight happen. It’s clear that both guys want the fight, the money just has to be right.

This is such an interesting situation. Here you have Tony Ferguson essentially standing up for his future opponent. Normally the UFC could just make another fight for Ferguson, but that’s not the case here.

Since Ferguson is also taking a stand, I think the likelihood of the fight eventually coming together goes up. These are two of the best that the promotion has to offer, and I can’t imagine they will just let both sit. A deal will eventually get worked out, and I think we will see this fight by the end of 2020.

Should the New York Giants try Evan Engram at WR?

New York Giants, Evan Engram

After his porous Week 1, New York Giants fans are already banging the drum for the team to cut ties with Evan Engram. While the criticism of the 26-year-old is expected and understandable given his play, the Giants would be silly to get rid of him after one very underwhelming performance in his first game back since Week 9 of last season.

However, if Engram’s play Monday night becomes a regular occurrence and more than just a matter of him needing to shake off some rust, it might make sense for the Giants to explore different ways they could utilize his services before they consider moving on from him.

What do I mean by that exactly? Moving him to wide receiver.

Now, before I make a case for the switch, I should make it known that I’m confident Engram will improve and find his footing as the season progresses. He’s too talented, and Jason Garrett’s offense is going to maximize his potential as a tight end. There are ways to scheme around his horrid blocking, and the mismatch he represents at his current position is extremely valuable.

According to reports, Engram generated a lot of hype during training camp and looked very explosive. He quickly caught the eye of head coach Joe Judge, and Judge has not been shy about praising what he’s seen from Engram. Here’s Judge practically gushing about Engram back in August:

“He’s very in-tune, he’s very intelligent, he’s very deliberate about how he works and what he’s focusing on within each period,” Judge said. “I turn his tape on and see him flying around. He’s a fun guy to watch play because he has a lot of ability, but he loves the game, too.”

It’s clear that Judge and the Giants are excited about Engram and the value he brings. They are looking to get him involved a lot, and I doubt one bad game is going to change that. But on the flip side, moving Engram to wide receiver could make sense for multiple reasons. For one, as I mentioned earlier, Engram has never been a good blocker, and that proved to be the case still Monday night.

He’s been trying, so you have to give him credit for that, and he has shown that he is not afraid to get his hands dirty, but throughout training camp, that has been a department where he’s struggled and has just continuously gotten beat my his man. It was no different against Pittsburgh, as there were multiple occurrences where Engram just whiffed completely. The defender lined up against him was able to get past him with ease, causing trouble for Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. He was so bad that out of the 64 tight ends that Pro Football Focus graded from Week One, Engram was dead last, being last in run-blocking and second-to-last in pass-blocking.

While there’s always a chance he could improve as a blocker, the likelihood at this point is that he’ll probably always be below average in that area. The Giants can’t keep having him as a blocker, it’s only going to hurt them. Having Engram play most of his snaps on the outside will require him to block a lot less, and when he does, he’ll be facing corners or safeties who he should fare better against than the linebackers and edge rushers he mainly ends up having to block now.

The Giants also have another young tight end, Kaden Smith, who is a very good blocker, so having him replace Engram as the top tight end on the roster would allow Smith do most of the blocking, and that, in turn, would be a better situation for the offense. Levine Toilolo and Eric Tomlinson, the other tight ends on the roster, are also much more capable as blockers than Engram and would be better options as well.

In this scenario, Engram would be able to focus on catching passes, where he’s thrived over his career, and Smith would be able to not only bring a more consistent blocking presence at the line of scrimmage but become more of a focal point in the offense. With his increase in snaps, Smith can build upon the potential he showed as a pass-catcher himself last season.

Additionally, another reason for Engram to make the switch is his height. Standing at 6’3”, Engram has excellent size for the wide receiver position, and the Giants have been needing a big-bodied receiver. Engram has always been a glorified wide receiver, and although he might not get as many mismatches against linebackers as he does currently, he is a good enough route runner with great speed to be able to succeed and make plays on the outside.

Again, I want to reiterate that I only see this as a possible opportunity if Engram continues to struggle in the coming weeks. I still believe he’ll get his act together and improve, and the Giants will definitely still be looking to get him the ball as much as they can. However, this could pose an interesting compromise to trading him or letting him go.

What do you think, Giants fans?

Are the New York Yankees peaking too early?

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

It’s truly remarkable how quickly the tide has changed for the 2020 New York Yankees. Just ten days ago, the team hit the lowest point of their season. They lost a 2-1 game to the Toronto Blue Jays that marked their seventh loss in eight games.

The team just looked defeated. The Yankees offense couldn’t get blowing, the bullpen was consistently blowing leads, and the starting pitching was all over the place. It was a dark time for Yankees fans, and some thought the team might not make the playoffs.

All of a sudden, the Yankees got an incredible start by rookie Deivi Garcia which led to a win, and they haven’t looked back. The Yankees have now won eight straight games. The offense is setting major league records with the way they are crushing the ball.

The bombers have scored an astonishing 43 runs in their last three games that came against the Blue Jays. The starting pitching has looked good, and the team looks to have all the confidence in the world. Not too mention they just got Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back.

Have the Yankees peaked too early?

The Yankees are playing their best baseball of the season right now. They are just demolishing their competition, but I’m honestly a little concerned. The team still has ten games to go before the season ends. Will this hot streak carry into the postseason or have they peaked too early?

So far, we have seen three waves in the Yankees season. They started out 10-6 before going on a six game winning streak that pushed them to first in the division. That’s when the Rays came into the Bronx and broke Yankees fans hearts.

The Rays swept the bombers, and the Yankees went on to lose seven straight games. The Yankees looked to be a shell of themselves as they were 5-15 in the 20 games following their six game winning streak that pushed them to 16-6.

Now, the bombers have won eight straight games to get them to 29-21. Minus having Paxton, the team is healthy and looks ready for the postseason. Gerrit Cole is pitching up to his talent level and the team is smacking home runs left and right.

Despite feeling good about those areas, this team has been so hot and cold that I am slightly concerned. The Yankees are still extremely reliant on the home run ball, and we know how that doesn’t always translate in October.

Maybe I shouldn’t be concerned. Maybe the Yankees will ride this wave all the way to a 28th World Series champion. Or maybe the wave crashes right when the playoff start. Either way, I’m still not feeling 100% confident as we head closer to the playoffs.