It was called as the “Fight of the Century”, Conor McGregor fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor was making his long-awaited return to the Octagon to fight a hungry Nurmagomedov. The pre-fight press conferences could easily be described as a circus. McGregor did what McGregor does, he tried to sell the fight by taking personal jabs at Khabib’s religion, family, fight record, and pretty much everything else. It was Conor’s world and Khabib was just lucky to have the chance to stand in the octagon across from Conor.
Every fighter on the UFC 229 benefited from out of this world press conferences. McGregor was selling the fight and helping the pay-per-view get much needed hype. When the main event entrances began, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada already had electricity in the air. Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis had just gone to war in the octagon. Quite possibly the fight of year was ended when Pettis’ corner threw in the towel due to a broken hand. Even though the Pettis-Ferguson fight was fantastic, the overall feeling was that the main event would be even more epic. Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor, no fight could keep up with this one. Or could it?
The main event of UFC 229 started out with animosity. No glove touch to get started. Round one was fairly even as McGregor was able to neutralize most of Nurmagomedov’s take down attempts. The first round fizzled out without much action. Nurmagomedov took the round and a 1-0 lead on McGregor. The second round was when Nurmagomedov began to take over. He landed several hard shots on McGregor and began to take him down with impunity. Nurmagomedov clearly won the round and was up 2-0 on McGregor. The third round was a much closer round as much of the battle was conducted on their feet. McGregor landed several shots, but Nurmagomedov simply overwhelmed him. Nurmagomedov barely won the round and held a 3-0 lead on McGregor. The fourth round would prove to be the final frame. Nurmagomedov moved in fearlessly and was able to take McGregor down. Nurmagomedov took McGregor’s back and sunk in a deep rear naked choke. McGregor tapped and Nurmagomedov retained the lightweight title via submission.
After the champion submits a contender, that is usually where the event winds down and the belt ceremony takes place. Unfortunately, months of hype and incessant insults appeared to take their toll on Nurmagomedov and his team. Nurmagomedov leapt over the top of the cage and attacked McGregor’s jiu-jitsu coach. Several members of Nurmagomedov’s corner entered the cage and attacked McGregor. Each of the fighters ended up without any injuries from the post-fight melee, but they were kept apart by armed security. Dana White, the UFC President, did not conduct a title belt ceremony fearing for the safety of himself, Nurmagomedov, and every individual still inside the octagon. Nurmagomedov issued an apology to everyone at the post-fight press conference, but added that his opponents should not talk about his religion, his family, or his country.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission quickly issued 10 day suspensions for both fighters as it begins a more thorough investigation. Most likely, fines will be issued and the fighters will not face any more serious penalties. The leap in to the crowd and the ability to get in to the octagon raised some serious safety questions. How is Dana White going to protect his fighters and the fans in the seats?
The ease in which members of a fighter’s entourage were able to enter the cage and assault a fighter is staggering. The times this has happen in any fighting organization are minimal. A defeated fighter or winning fighter should never have to face a punch or kick from an opponent that was not officially in the octagon for a fight that night. It is not fair to either fighter to be sucker punched by an upset member of the other team. What would have happened if those jumping in to the cage decided to use some type of weapon? No one in that arena could have responded quickly enough to end the carnage before some catastrophic happened. Luckily, for McGregor enough people were in the octagon to stop him from receiving more than a few punches. Dana White must address fighter safety. Should any member of a team enter the octagon and assault a fighter, they should be banned for life or their fighter’s purse reduced. An aggressive approach must be taken by White to protect those who are bringing in his viewers.
On the other hand, White must also take aggressive action and punish any fighter that leaves the octagon to fight in the crowd. Fortunately, for White, no spectator was injured. What would it look like if a spectator had taken an errant punch or kick from a world class fighter? That spectator could have suffered serious injury. Spectators go to these events to watch a fight in a confined area where there is no threat to life or limb for them. They go to UFC fights to enjoy the atmosphere, have a few drinks, and watch incredible athletes fight. No spectator goes to the fights hoping to catch a fighter in their lap as the fighter attempts to attack someone’s team member. White must have a heavy-handed response to these fighters leaving the octagon. So far, White has expressed his disappointment, but has not addressed any serious repercussions for jumping in to the spectators’ seats.
It is unknown how this post-fight melee will change how the UFC approaches safety for their fans and fighters. The UFC will continue to draw huge numbers. However, if events like this continue to spiral out of control, they could face serious lawsuits from fans and fighters’ team members. Let’s hope Dana White has a plan and can implement it before the next pay-per-view.
NFL Week 6 Game Preview: Ravens vs Titans
NFL Week 6 Game Preview: Ravens (3-2) at Titans (3-2)
Their records indicate an even matchup, but when the Titans face the Ravens Sunday, they will have the advantage of being a team without a definitive identity playing a squad with a proven game plan.
Tennessee put themselves on top of the AFC South with creativity, as much as skill. They’ve survived an overtime thriller and a defensive slog. But, they lost an opening day shootout and come off a bitter last-second loss in another defensive gem.
What kind of team are the Titans? They are a running team that is not running well. They have a franchise quarterback who can’t carry them. Scrappy is the term that comes to mind when we see the manner in which they play. Never out of it, but never quite in control, either.
Meanwhile, Baltimore tries to exert authority behind a powerful defense and a veteran offense. Sometimes it works… and sometimes they lose a field goal battle to the Browns like they did in Week 5.
Both teams will try to rebound from unexpected losses to boost their 2018 playoff aspirations. But can the Baltimore defense keep the scrappy Titans under control? Can the scrappy Titans defense give Joe Flacco and company another week of disappointment?
Injuries and roster moves
Baltimore has three cornerbacks among five defensive players listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Brandon Carr missed practice Wednesday and appears to be at risk for the game against the Titans.
Tennesse has a similar issue at linebacker. Wesley Woodyard, Robert Spillane, and Will Compton are all listed as questionable.
Safety Kenny Vaccaro is already ruled out for Week 6.
Offensive tackle Taylor Lewan is questionable with a foot injury.
The Ravens 3-2 start has lessened discussions about John Harbaugh’s future after his 11th season in charge. Harbaugh followed up five straight years of playoff appearances with a Super Bowl Championship in 2012, but that was six years and only two winning records ago.
With long-time general manager Ozzie Newsome already announcing his retirement at the end of this season and a quarterback change imminent, Harbaugh’s departure would make a new regime truly complete.
Mike Vrabel’s first coaching experience hasn’t been easy, but he is getting the most out of a flawed team. Already, he’s adeptly worked around injuries to his quarterback and lead rusher, as well as a malcontent in the receiving corps to keep his team’s playoff aspirations in play.
How to watch the Ravens-Titans game
CBS will provide this late-game broadcast to fans in and around Tennessee and the greater Baltimore area. Many fans will watch the CBS Sports broadcast on Sling TV without the need for expensive cable or satellite providers.
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Who will win the Ravens-Titans game?
Baltimore is hoping division rival Pittsburgh the best this week as a Steelers victory could let the Ravens pull into a first-place tie with the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFC North if Baltimore can take care of the Titans.
Tennessee owns the AFC South tiebreaker with 3-2 Jacksonville, with another head-to-head battle still pending. They need a win to hold onto first place in the meantime.
The home fans in Nashville are anxious to see their Titans crack the tough Baltimore defense, but the odds seem to favor Baltimore holding serve.
Final score: Baltimore 17, Titans 12
NFL Week 6 Game Preview: Chiefs vs Patriots
Sunday Night Football features the greatest quarterback of all time against the greatest quarterback of the young 2018 season. Tom Brady will host young Patrick Mahomes in Week 6’s most anticipated matchup.
Brady comes off consecutive 38-point outings against the Dolphins and Colts. The return of Julian Edelman and emergence of rookie rusher Sony Michel stabilized a shaky Patriots offense in time for the second quarter of the season.
Mahomes just put 30 points up against what was the top-rated defense in the league. He continues his assault on Peyton Manning’s season touchdown record.
Kansas City’s defense came alive last week, with five turnovers and several important stops when Jacksonville’s offense looked like it might start revving up. Any semblance of defense could keep the Chiefs unbeaten for years with the way its offense is playing.
Kansas City didn’t even need Tyreek Hill to pile up his usual yardage and scoring totals to keep their winning streak alive at 5. Running back Kareem Hunt had a slow start but emerged as a vital component of the Chiefs attack in Week 4.
Brady, the master craftsman, doesn’t need the explosive weapons the upstart from the Midwest surrounds himself with. He’ll bring a cadre of veterans with him who know a thing or two about winning football games.
Injuries and roster moves
Kansas City put guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and safety Armani Watt on injured reserve Wednesday. Coach Andy Reed all but ruled out linebacker Justin Houston (hamstring) for Sunday’s tilt.
Safety Eric Berry got limited practice time in this week, but it will be at least another week before he gets back on the field.
In New England, wide receivers Josh Gordon and Chris Hogan, tight end Rob Gronkowski, and running back Sony Michel were all limited in practice Wednesday. The quartet is listed as questionable, but it would be a surprise if any of them was not active Sunday night.
Two of the longest tenured head coaches go head-to-head in this classic matchup. Offensive guru Andy Reid versus the defensive scientist, Bill Belichick.
Both coaches are future Hall-of-Famers when they most likely leave the game on their own terms. Each calls the other a genius. They’ll bring their best stuff to New England this week.
How to watch the Patriots-Chiefs game
NBC Sports broadcasts Sunday Night Football across the nation and overseas. Millions of Americans fed up with rising satellite and cable costs will follow the NBC broadcast on their favorite internet device instead.
Sling, Fubo TV, and DirecTV Now are just some of the internet TV providers offering a low-cost alternative to traditional television service. They provide all the NFL-related networks in most regions of the US at a fraction of the costs of cable and satellite.
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Who will win the Patriots-Chiefs game?
Pat Mahomes could give an early victory to the young guns trying to steal the mantle from their veteran counterparts. But Tom Brady has made it clear he has no intention of going away quietly.
Both defenses look improved from just a couple of weeks ago, but they haven’t faced quarterbacks nearly as skillful as this pair.
Each passer looks unstoppable, but each coach will find a moment to introduce something new or unexpected. Brady’s experience gives him the edge in a battle of the coaches’ wits.
Final score: Patriots 38, Chiefs 31
NFL Week 5: Falcons vs Steelers Game Preview
Pittsburgh has their first game out of the national spotlight in three weeks, facing the Falcons at home in the early set Sunday.
Baltimore shut down the Steelers for the most part last week, allowing 14 points in a short stretch of the first half, before clamping down in their 26-14 victory.
Pittsburgh doesn’t anticipate a repeat performance against a Falcons defense that just gave up 80 points over two weeks to the Saints and Bengals.
Atlanta lost both of those games despite scoring 74 points of their own. Their defense is struggling after the loss of three starters since opening day. They could not make late-game stops that could have provided a win in either of the two contests.
Ben Roethlisberger has to be anxious to put last week’s struggles behind him against the Falcons secondary. Pittsburgh’s diminished running attack in the absence of Le’Veon Bell shouldn’t matter much in this game.
Matt Ryan undoubtedly looks forward to facing the Steelers secondary, too. Atlanta’s passing game has new life with the addition of rookie Calvin Ridley. Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones find themselves more open. Even tight end Austin Hooper is seeing a few passes.
Running back Devonta Freeman will also return to the Falcons lineup after missing a few weeks with a knee injury. Freeman and Tevin Coleman are no liability in the pass game, either.
This could come down to which front line can put the most pressure on the opposing passer. Neither team can hold coverage very long in a normal game, but with the plethora of passing targets on the field, the defensive secondaries could be exhausted by halftime.
If you like offense, this could be a fun game to watch.
How to watch the Steelers vs Falcons game:
Fox Sports will produce this early game and broadcast it in much of the Southeast and up into the Pittsburgh market for cable and satellite television viewers.
Millions of savvy NFL fans will follow the live stream of Pittsburgh-Atlanta on Sling TV or DirecTV Now. Fubo TV also offers live stream NFL action in most US markets.
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Check out the providers’ websites to see what they offer in your neighborhood.
Who will win the Steelers vs Falcons game?
Atlanta is desperate for a win after their two consecutive heartbreakers left them 1-3 and at the bottom of the NFC South standings. They face division rival Tampa Bay next week before the Giants send them on their bye.
Pittsburgh already has a loss and a tie in their division and don’t the 3-1 Bengals or Ravens to extend their lead. With rumors of a Le’Veon bell return coming soon, they want to stay close enough for it to matter.
Atlanta’s passing attack was ramped up when Freeman was injured. How the Falcon offense approaches this game could make a difference. With the problem their defense has stopping the ball, we expect them to keep the pedal down and chase points.
Roethlisberger is at home, which means the “good” Ben should show up. There is a little concern about the beating he took the past two weeks and the letdown of a “normal” game.
But that will prove to be unfounded. Pittsburgh’s defense will come through one more time than the Falcons’. But it will be fun. Final score: Steelers 44, Falcons 38