Al Iaquinta isn’t happy that his longtime rival and someone he’s now calling his “son”, Kevin Lee missed weight at UFC Brasilia.
On Saturday night, in the main event of UFC Brasilia, Lee was set to battle Charles Oliveira in a very intriguing lightweight contest. Yet, at weigh-ins on Friday, “The Motown Phenom” missed weight by 2.5 pounds and to no surprise, Iaquinta was quick to give his thoughts on it.
Very disappointed in my son
— Al Iaquinta🗽 (@ALIAQUINTA) March 13, 2020
“Very disappointed in my son,” Al Iaquinta tweeted.
Kevin Lee has only missed weight once in the UFC before this. But, he has had tough weight cuts in the past and has been vocal about wanting a 165-pound division. But, if Iaquinta was in charge, he makes it clear he would not be making a new division for Lee.
Nooooo definitely not creating a weight class for an undisciplined welterweight
— Al Iaquinta🗽 (@ALIAQUINTA) March 13, 2020
“Nooooo definitely not creating a weight class for an undisciplined welterweight,” he added.
Kevin Lee did try his hand at welterweight but he lost by submission to Rafael dos Anjos. That very well could be what Al Iaquinta means by saying The Motown Phenom is an undisciplined welterweight.
Lee, as mentioned, is set to battle Oliveira on Saturday in a closed-door UFC Brasilia. The American is coming off a spectacular first-round knockout win over Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244. The win snapped his two-fight losing skid and put him back into contention at 155-pounds. He has also made it clear he wants to fight Islam Makhachev in June as the main event of UFC Moscow.
Al Iaquinta, meanwhile, is on a two-fight losing streak after dropping decisions to Dan Hooker and Donald Cerrone. Before that, he had beaten Lee for the second time to get back into the win column after the loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223.
There is no doubt the feud between Al Iaquinta and Kevin Lee is alive and well. But, given Iaquinta won both fights already, it seems unlikely a trilogy will happen.
What do you make of Al Iaquinta saying he’s disappointed in his son Kevin Lee for missing weight? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/13/2020.
Sim debut first step toward racing return – Wickens – RACER
Late Thursday evening, Robert Wickens got his first taste of driving an Indy car since his life-altering crash in 2018. The laps came in one of the more dynamic simulation rigs on the market, and as the Canadian tells it, the time spent navigating iRacing’s Barber Motorsports Park circuit ahead of Saturday’s IndyCar Challenge race were an important first step in his career.
“It’s very early days. The sim finally was set up by SimCraft. Finished yesterday at around 3:00. I was able to put in a couple laps last night for the first time,” the Arrow McLaren SP driver said.
“It’s weird. It’s kind of a mental overload. My brain was exploding from trying to figure out how to use the handbrakes, to learn the feeling of it and everything,” Wickens explained. “A lot of work to do in a short amount of time. I was hoping I’d pick it up a lot quicker than I am. I’m spinning a lot more than I intend to. I’m just so happy that I can get back and compete with these guys. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
“The biggest thing for me is although this is fun, I see this as the long-term project of getting me back into the race car. I always knew through simulation was going to be the best way to trial different handbrake or paddle configurations. This is step one of a hundred to get me back into the NTT IndyCar Series.”
Wickens’ inspiring journey from paraplegia to regaining incremental use of his legs has kept the racing world glued to his video updates on social media. The need to drive iRacing’s Dallara DW12-Chevy — and every other vehicle — through brake and throttle controls on the steering wheel, is a learning process that will serve the 31-year-old when it’s time to go testing in a real AMSP Indy car.
“Simulation was always step number one for me,” he said. “Unfortunately, through one reason or another, it was very challenging to basically do it right. I didn’t want to purchase an Amazon setup, try to learn on that. I wanted to build a good foundation that you can evolve and make better.
“Like I said, I see this as a great training tool for me to make my hand control second nature, but I didn’t want to do it on a budget. That was always the challenge. Now obviously with what’s going on in the world, current pandemic, the simulation, the virtual racing, Esports, basically took center stage and made it all reality very quickly. I guess you could say I’m almost a beneficiary of what’s happening in the world right now. I’m excited to drive something. Last night was the first time I’ve driven any form of race car since the accident in Pocono. Even though it was virtual, it still felt pretty good.”
Wickens, along with the rest of the IndyCar field, will go racing on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET at Barber, with the event aired live on NBCSN.
COVID-19 isolation means dog days for Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Edmonton Sun
Every dog has its day, especially Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ golden retriever Sophie, who wouldn’t know COVID-19 from a milk bone.
But her tail has been wagging with all the times the Edmonton Oilers centre has gotten out her leash lately.
“I think she’s the only one that’s happy with the whole quarantine thing that is going on. She gets lots of attention, lots of walks right now,” said the longest-serving Oilers player at 604 games, who is currently camped out with wife Breanne at their house in Edmonton during the stoppage, rather than return to their off-season home in Vancouver.
Like pretty much everybody staying inside and practising social distancing during the coronavirus threat, he’s safe but bored, sleeping in later than usual, trying to get some exercise, watching Netflix.
Yeah, he’s seen Tiger King.
“Pretty bizarre, the whole thing,” he said, not stick-handling around the question on whether Carole Baskin’s departed husband had been fed to the tigers.
“Sure seemed that way to me,” said Nugent-Hopkins on SportsNet’s Hockey Central.
He’s spending more time in the kitchen than usual. Not as big on take-out with Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats.
“I’ve been cooking a lot, something I don’t usually do during the season, lunches and dinner, a little unusual for me but cooking is something I’ve wanted to get more into and my wife and I are trying to come up with creative dishes to try out,” said Nugent-Hopkins.
Getting creative is what he’s done with his playing too, moving to left-wing from centre. This may be his true NHL calling if McDavid and Draisaitl are the NHL’s best tag-team at centre. Just as Joe Pavelski moved to wing with Joe Thornton in San Jose with Logan Couture as the other Sharks’ centre.
Nugent-Hopkins had 61 points in 65 games at the stoppage, 41 of those in 30 games since New Year’s Eve, when he and Draisaitl found themselves with Kailer Yamamoto.
This may be the start of Nugent-Hopkins’ second chapter, the first player taken in the 2011 draft, now a winger like so many other centres in the NHL because all those Canadian Olympic teams are populated with centres who have to move over.
Either Nugent-Hopkins stays with Draisaitl, the NHL’s scoring leader, or shifts to left-wing with McDavid because the Oilers third-best forward can’t be a No. 3 centre; not nearly enough ice-time for a guy who was on pace for a career high 70-plus points before the stoppage.
“Playing the wing changes your game a little bit, it does open up a little more offensively for you,” said Nugent-Hopkins on a video conference call. “When you’re centre, you’ve always got to make sure you’re coming back and playing deep in your own zone. You’re kind of catching up to the rush more so coming out of the defensive zone, transitioning to offence.”
“Whereas as a winger, you’re usually the one leading with the puck or at least supporting the guy who’s leading with the puck. So it’s kind of, as soon as we get it, we have that offensive mindset. At least, that’s how I saw it once I went onto the wing. I got to play with obviously Leo and Yamo and we got some chemistry going right away. Definitely a lot of fun,” said Nugent-Hopkins.
Yamamoto’s arrival from Bakersfield saved the season for the Oilers, gave them a second-line, taking the heat off McDavid on the first unit. Yamamoto has 25 points in 26 games, and nobody’s looking at the 150-pound winger like he’s a work in progress any longer.
“What do I like about Yamo? The way he goes and gets pucks, he’s not afraid to go into the corner with anybody. He battled with (Zdeno) Chara — a little height difference there, but he’s not afraid,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “He wants to win the puck battle and get pucks back for us.”
It’s a strong scouting report, just like the one he’s got on 14-year-old forward Connor Bedard, who was just granted exceptional-player status by the Western Hockey League, who will welcome him as a 15-year-old.
Nugent-Hopkins can relate because he was the first-overall pick in the bantam draft by Red Deer Rebels in 2008, just as Bedard will be when the Regina Pats call out his name.
“I’ve skated with Connor with Power Edge Pro in Burnaby. I think we started skating with him when he was 12 and when we found out how old he was, we were pretty shocked. He’s a bigger kid for his age (165 pounds), I definitely wasn’t that big at that age, but everything he does is so advanced,” said Nugent-Hopkins.
“His shot is already very good, hard and so accurate and a great skater. Pretty special player for sure and for him to become the first guy to be granted exceptional-player status in the WHL is pretty impressive.”
Nugent-Hopkins would rather be talking about the other Connor, and Saturday’s game in Calgary to end the regular-season, bringing back the fire on ice in the Battle of Alberta. But, we won’t be getting that now.
“I’ve thought about all the games we’ve missed. We had that one eastern road trip left and then a lot of home games left,” he said.
“It’s hard not to think about that when you’re going over those days we should have been playing. Everybody’s kind of just taking it one day at a time now, waiting for updates. It’s definitely strange, knowing we would have been playing our last regular-season game on Saturday.”
On Twitter: @NHLbyMatty
Battalion to pick Nelson at No. 1 in OHL Draft – TSN
TORONTO — This time last year, the Guelph Storm were playing their way to an Ontario Hockey League title and a spot in the Memorial Cup.
But with the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season and playoffs cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Storm front office has let go of the dream of back-to-back championships and has put all of its attention on the OHL Priority Selection draft.
“You feel badly for our kids at the OHL level, kids in their (NHL) draft year, kids trying to sign pro contracts, 20-year-old’s last kick at playoffs, a lot to consider and it’s really unfortunate that they haven’t had a playoff season,” said Guelph general manager/head coach George Burnett.
“Having said that, our focus has been on the draft.”
The OHL will hold its annual online draft this Saturday amidst the novel coronavirus outbreak that has halted the majority of sporting events across the world, including the Memorial Cup for the first time in its 102-year history.
The Priority Selection has been held online every years since 2001. However this time around teams will be working remotely and adhering to all government and public health guidelines on physical distancing when selecting the 2004-born skaters.
Team staff are not allowed to work the draft from their hockey offices or arenas and will be making their announcements through a conference call, most likely, from home.
Players will not be able to enter into league offices for introductions and sweaters on draft day, or to meet their new fans, and interviews are out of the question.
The league also reminded prospects and families about the province currently prohibiting organized public gatherings and social gatherings of more than five people, keeping celebratory groups tight, while American-based OHL teams are following the rules set in place by their state.
“We’re trying to create some positives in a very difficult and anxious time for players and their families. They’ve been looking forward to this opportunity, some for many years, and we’re all working remotely, respecting all the government guidelines,” said Burnett.
“You’ve got a scouting staff that has worked diligently and the kids have put in the hard work and training, and at a very difficult time if we can provide some good then I think that’s the thinking at this time.”
Burnett doesn’t make a selection until the No. 12 spot rolls around. The Storm have 16 total picks in the 15-round draft that will see 300 players chosen.
The top selection of the draft has already been announced, with the North Bay Battalion saying Friday that they will use the pick on 16-year-old defenceman Ty Nelson of the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens. North Bay has the first overall pick after sitting in last place when the season was cancelled on March 18.
Nelson led all GTHL defencemen in regular-season scoring with 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) over 33 games. He then posted a league-best 12 points over 11 playoff contests as he helped lead the Jr. Canadiens to the league title.
The top five is rounded out by the Niagara IceDogs, Sarnia Sting, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Kingston Frontenacs.
Another potential prospect is Adam Fantilli, six-foot-two 181 pounds, who spent 2019-20 with Kimball Union Academy — a US high school prep program based in Plainfield, N.H. However, the Toronto native signed with the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel on March 25, making it highly unlikely he comes back north while allowing him to keep the NCAA route open when he turns 18.
Shane Wright was taken No. 1 in 2019 by the Kingston Frontenacs after the Burlington, Ont., native was granted exceptional player status and entered the OHL a year early as a 15-year-old.
The GTHL led the way with 81 players selected from 11 different organizations at the 2019 draft, while 66 players were chosen from 34 different American-based clubs. All but two of the remaining skaters were taken from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, Alliance Hockey, Hockey Eastern Ontario, Northern Ontario Hockey League and Hockey Northwestern Ontario.
Each OHL team has a 50-player protection list to begin the season that allows them to hold the rights of drafted players that don’t make the junior squad in the fall. An OHL team can only carry four 16 year olds, so the majority of the players picked will end up in major midget (now under-18), Junior B or a tier-2 league somewhere else.
Come March, teams have to cut their list to 35 skaters, forcing them to keep the ones they believe can be a part of the team in the near future while parting with the others so they can pursue other opportunities.
“Everybody’s ego gets in the way sometimes, wanting to play junior, but sometimes it’s better to be in a midget program, be a leader, be a captain, continue the process,” said Burnett. “The decision they make is extremely important.”
The Western Hockey League Bantam Draft is scheduled for April 22 while the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft goes June 6.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 3, 2020.
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