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UFC on ESPN 9 predictions – MMA Fighting

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As has often been the case, Tyron Woodley isn’t getting the fight he wanted, but it might just be the one he needs to get him a shot at regaining the welterweight championship.

“The Chosen One” meets surging contender Gilbert Burns in the main event of UFC on ESPN 9 in Las Vegas on Saturday, with Woodley’s No. 1 spot in the rankings potentially on the line. Burns has been campaigning for high-profile opponents for the past two years and after dispatching Brazilian legend Demian Maia inside of a round this past March, he now sets his sights on a marquee name.

This is Woodley’s first fight since losing the welterweight title to Kamaru Usman 14 months ago. Is he due for his rematch or is it time for Burns to build his resume off of him? We’ll find out tonight.

In the co-main event, heavyweight veteran Blagoy Ivanov looks to hold off Augusto Sakai, the former Bellator standout who is 3-0 to start his UFC career. An impressive performance will likely earn one of these big men a top-10 ranking.

Also on the main card, Billy Quarantillo and Spike Carlyle meet in what should be a high-paced catchweight (150 pounds) bout, lightweight Roosevelt Roberts looks to continue his winning ways against Brok Weaver, and jiu-jitsu ace Mackenzie Dern meets Hannah Cifers in a strawweight encounter.

What: UFC on ESPN 9

Where: UFC APEX in Las Vegas

When: Saturday, May 30. The entire event will air on ESPN and ESPN+, with the six-fight preliminaries starting at 6 p.m. ET, and the five-fight main card starting at 9 p.m. ET.


Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns

Tyron Woodley isn’t ready to pass that torch just yet.

In his most recent outing against Kamaru Usman, Woodley looked awful, there’s no disputing that. Much of the credit has to go to Usman for taking the fight to Woodley and never giving him a chance to breathe, but it’s easy to digest the narrative that Woodley just wasn’t himself in that fight based on his stunning lack of output. As patient as Woodley can be, he looked utterly lost at certain points against Usman.

If you believe that’s simply how Woodley is now that he’s just a couple of years shy of 40, then Burns is the easy pick here. “Durinho” has been brilliant at 170 pounds, showing off his elite jiu-jitsu while adding flashes of the potent striking that make him such a compelling dual threat. This is not an opponent that will be intimidated by Woodley in the slightest. Burns is going in there to finish on Saturday.

I’m in the camp that thinks Woodley still has a lot left in the tank and his skill set shouldn’t be forgotten just because it was absent in one critical fight. He’s still an outstanding wrestler with a dynamite right hand and even though his time on the shelf was due mostly to circumstances outside of his control, the rest will likely do him more good than harm.

A rejuvenated Woodley could be scary, and while I don’t know if he’ll be able to put away the durable “Durinho,” I do see him walking out with a win on the scorecards.

Pick: Woodley

Augusto Sakai vs. Blagoy Ivanov

With respect to Blagoy Ivanov, youth will be served in this matchup.

At 29 years old — four years Ivanov’s junior — Augusto Sakai looks to be peaking at the right time and sharpening up his striking with every appearance. He doesn’t do anything fancy and from a technical standpoint Ivanov might be superior, but Ivanov doesn’t have the power of Sakai. Even if he frustrates Sakai early, I don’t know if Ivanov can avoid that monster right hand of Sakai’s for three rounds.

One concern for Sakai would be hurting Ivanov early and prematurely emptying his gas tank in search of a finish. Ivanov has never been knocked out and his defense could cause Sakai to wear himself out if he isn’t careful. With his strong striking fundamentals, Ivanov could surprise a tiring Sakai with a counter-punch KO of his own.

However, I’m leaning towards Sakai becoming the first fighter to finish Ivanov via strikes.

Pick: Sakai

Billy Quarantillo vs. Spike Carlyle

Shifted onto the main card after Kevin Holland fell out of his bout with Daniel Rodriguez, Billy Quarantillo and Spike Carlyle are as good a choice as any to showcase that there are hidden gems at this event. Quarantillo is an aggressive grappler, while Carlyle has impressed with his explosive and unorthodox standup style (not to mention his confidence on the mic).

It’s not quite a classic grappler vs. striker matchup as Quarantillo will mix it up on the feet. He’s going to want to close the distance and pressure Carlyle, limiting the creativity of “The Alpha Ginger” while hunting for trips and takedowns. We’ll see how effective Carlyle’s movement is against a more aggressive opponent than he faced in his first UFC outing.

I actually like Carlyle’s chances of either outlasting Quarantillo with his takedown defense or at least having enough submission defense to hang in there on the ground until he can scramble out. This is a fun matchup on paper and I think it ends with Carlyle scoring another knockout win.

Pick: Carlyle

Brok Weaver vs. Roosevelt Roberts

Both of these guys have great size at 155 pounds and they’ve shown they’re comfortable going the distance if the early finish isn’t there. Brok Weaver hasn’t lost in MMA in almost four years and Roosevelt Roberts has never been finished.

Roberts is trending upward. After being outclassed in his first career loss to Vinc Pichel, “GoGetta” looked improved in all aspects in his subsequent win over another veteran in Alexander Yakovlev. Making the most of your physical gifts can be a tricky thing for long, rangy fighters, but it looks like Roberts is figuring it out.

Another thing to like about Roberts is how well he paces himself. The third round is usually a good one for him so if this fight is close through the first two frames, Roberts knows how to save his best for last. Weaver is no slouch in the cardio department either. However, his lack of a more well-rounded game will cost him here.

Roberts by decision.

Pick: Roberts

Mackenzie Dern vs. Hannah Cifers

Hannah Cifers isn’t an easy bounce-back opponent for Mackenzie Dern. If Dern hasn’t shored up her striking deficiencies, she’s going to be eating counters and short combinations for 15 minutes.

When the two meet in the cage, expect Dern to be the bigger fighter, which will go a long way towards her imposing her will on “Shockwave.” Cifers has some pop, but Dern has shown that she can take a punch even if her own standup is a work in progress, and she’ll absorb some damage if it means she can get a hold of Cifers and take this one to the ground.

In the grappling department, Cifers is a gamer, but her inherent toughness will only take her so far against a jiu-jitsu practitioner of Dern’s caliber. Dern is going to tie Cifers up at some point and the submission will be there for the taking.

Pick: Dern

Preliminaries

Antonina Shevchenko def. Katlyn Chookagian

Daniel Rodriguez def. Gabe Green

Klidson Abreu def. Jamahal Hill

Brandon Royval def. Tim Elliott

Louis Smolka def. Casey Kenney

Vince Morales def. Chris Gutierrez

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MLS postpones Toronto FC vs. DC United; match to be rescheduled – MLSsoccer.com

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Major League Soccer announced that today’s D.C. United vs. Toronto FC match has been postponed and will be rescheduled.

What follows is the full league statement: 

Major League Soccer announced that today’s D.C. United vs. Toronto FC match has been postponed and will be rescheduled. MLS will announce details later today for the rescheduled match.

Under the league’s health and safety protocols, clubs are tested the day before each match. The results of yesterday’s tests for D.C. United and Toronto FC produced an initial unconfirmed positive COVID-19 case for one player and an inconclusive test for another player. Because of the arrival time of the clubs in Orlando, the league’s protocol called for retesting both teams this morning and to await the results of those tests prior to playing the match.

Major League Soccer will continue to prioritize the health and safety of all participants of the MLS is Back Tournament in making these decisions.

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Usman eases past Masvidal on UFC 'Fight Island' debut – CNN International

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Kamaru Usman improved to 17-1 with a unanimous decision over late replacement Jorge Masvidal to retain his welterweight crown in UFC 251.
The 33-year-old — who was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States as a child before becoming a wrestling champion in university — also made it 12 straight wins to tie lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov for the longest active streak in the sport.
Given Usman’s pedigree, a Masvidal win would have been an upset. But even more so because the bout was only finalized last week after Usman’s intended opponent, Gilbert Burns, pulled out when he tested positive for coronavirus.
The ongoing pandemic prompted UFC President Dana White to seek as safe a place as possible to hold fights and in early June he picked Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, which has been a previous UFC destination.
All fighters, their teams and workers have been tested for the virus that has, according to Johns Hopkins University, killed 565,000 people around the world and infected nearly 13 million.
In a quirk for major fights, the showpiece bouts were held in the early morning hours local time Sunday for the prime time US television market but it didn’t seem to affect Usman.
All three judges gave him a hefty advantage. Two scored it 50-45 while the third had it 49-46.
Kamaru Usman won a unanimous decision in UFC 251.
“Gamebred is the biggest, baddest dude out there right now,” Usman said, referring to Masvidal’s nickname. “I had to prepare for him, switch gears on six days’ notice. I know a lot was made of him taking a fight on short notice but he’s prepared.
“All these guys have prepared for one guy, and that’s me at the top of the mountain. I had to take a mental shift. I trained for Gilbert, I had a completely different game plan.
“Gamebred is tough and he showed it out there. He took a lot of big elbows there at the bottom but he kept getting up, kept fighting and didn’t quit.”

‘Very tired’

Masvidal — who recorded the fastest UFC knockout last year, in five seconds — acknowledged Usman won “fair and square” but added his “gas tank” was a little empty.
“But I’m still a dangerous man,” said the American, now 35-14. “I’m going to come back better than ever. I’m not going to disappear from this sport without this belt being wrapped around my waist one way or another.
“It wasn’t my best performance tonight but everyone can see I have a dog in me. That dog doesn’t shut up or roll over for anybody. I was very tired at some spots.
“But I was able to dig down and get back on my feet. I’m not happy with my performance but I’m telling everybody I’ll be back strong.”
Both men wanted a rematch. For the time being, though, Usman is keen to return to the US to spend time with his five-year-old daughter, Samirah.
“I need to get back to my daughter,” he said. “I need to sit on my couch, eat some Thai food and watch some Netflix with her. And then watch a couple of (her) gymnastics training and ju-jitsu trainings, and then we’ll start thinking about fighting someone again.”
Kamaru Usman, left, kicks Jorge Masvidal in their title bout at UFC 251. Kamaru Usman, left, kicks Jorge Masvidal in their title bout at UFC 251.
Elsewhere, Alexander Volkanovski successfully defended his featherweight title by beating Max Holloway — whom he toppled in December to first take the belt.
But the result wasn’t as straightforward.

Controversy

Two judges scored it 48-47 for the Australian while the other gave it to the American by the same score. White felt Holloway did enough to win.
Russia’s Petr Yan, meanwhile, became the bantamweight champ by stopping veteran Jose Aldo of Brazil in the fifth and final round.
Many onlookers, including White, felt the affair should have been stopped sooner.
“Horrible, horrible stoppage by the referee. It should have been stopped sooner,” said White. “Looks like we have to tighten up our refs and judges on Fight Island.”
Three more events are scheduled, beginning on July 16.

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UFC 251 post-fight press conference video live stream – MMA Mania

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As soon as UFC 251 wraps up later tonight (Sat., July 11, 2020) live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) on “Fight Island” from Abu Dhabi, fight fans can check out the live post-fight press conference video above for all the best reaction and official bonus winners.

On a night that features a main event clash between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and budding superstar Jorge Masvidal, a co-main event rematch pitting featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski against former champ Max Holloway, and a bantamweight clash staging top contender Petr Yan opposite Jose Aldo for the vacant 135-pound crown, there will be much to talk about when the action winds down.

The post-fight presser is scheduled to go live at 1:15 a.m. ET (Sunday), and feature the biggest winners and losers from the card.

For complete UFC 251 results and coverage click here.

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