British heavyweight Joe Joyce was sensationally knocked out in the third round by Zhilei Zhang in London, leaving his dream of securing a world-title shot – and perhaps his career – in tatters.
Joyce once again struggled against the power of ‘Big Bang’ Zhang before a thunderous counter right hook floored the Londoner at Wembley’s OVO Arena.
The 38-year-old admirably rose to his feet on the count of 10 as the referee waved off the contest. Joyce looked stunned. Moments later, he sat on his stool receiving oxygen.
The result comes five months after 40-year-old Zhang’s shock sixth-round stoppage win over the previously undefeated Joyce.
The Chinese boxer retains the WBO ‘interim’ title and mandatory challenger status to unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
“Like I said before the fight, it’s going to end sooner than the first one,” Zhang said on TNT Sports.
“Joe, I like him, I respect him and I will let everyone witness Chinese power again.”
A distraught Joyce left the ring without conducting a post-fight interview, as a jubilant Zhang embraced his team.
Joyce has now lost twice in 17 professional outings, while Zhang extends his record to 25 wins, with one defeat and one draw.
Zhang makes shorter work of Joyce in rematch
A must-win fight to keep his world-title hopes alive ended in heartbreak for Joyce, once again in brutal fashion.
As challenger, Joyce walked to the ring first. His music began with Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’ and soon turned into a vastly different vibe – a rap song with the chorus “You don’t want to war with big Juggernaut”.
With pockets of travelling fans waving China flags scattered around the arena, Zhang made his entrance. The 2008 Olympic silver medallist became an even bigger star in his home country after beating Joyce first time around.
April’s bout at London’s Copper Box Arena was a beatdown from Zhang, with Joyce’s right eye swollen shut when the referee halted the contest.
But after all the build-up to Saturday’s rematch, it was a quiet opener with neither man throwing anything of note.
The fight came alive in the second. Zhang landed a one-two combination before unleashing a ferocious straight left which pierced through Joyce’s guard.
It was very much a case of repeat, rather than revenge. Just like the first fight, each time ‘Big Bang’ landed, Joyce looked staggered, hurt and uncomfortable.
Having weighed 22lbs lighter than Zhang in the first fight, Joyce came in at a career-heaviest 20st 1lb for rematch, but the added weight made no difference.
Joyce had started the third round well, with good footwork and movement. But a terrific counter right hook from Zhang, sweetly set up by a jab, ended proceedings.
The home fighter was stunned, looking helplessly at his team. He once again came unstuck against the hard-hitting southpaw, and looked a shadow of the fighter who knocked out 14 of his first 15 opponents.
‘Do you want me to shut Tyson Fury up?’
After winning silver at Tokyo 2020, Olympian Joyce was fast-tracked in the paid ranks on a mission to win a world-title in super quick time.
But with age not on his side nor a clear path back to mandatory challenger status, hopes of becoming world champion are now fading.
“It’s very disappointing,” Queensberry promoter Frank Warren said. “First couple of rounds he got it right and he was moving left.
“Then he went toe-to-toe and got caught. If he continued to do what he was doing past five or six rounds then it would have been interesting. He got caught with a really good shot.”
Zhang is now in prime position to fight Usyk, or whoever the champion is when the WBO mandatory is called.
But with his shot unlikely to happen until middle of next year at the earliest, he has now set his sights on the WBC champion.
“I want to ask the audience a question. Do you want to see me shut Tyson Fury up?”, Zhang said.
After a disastrous — by their lofty standards — weekend in Singapore, Red Bull and Max Verstappen appear poised to resume their dominance at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Verstappen won a rain-soaked race at Suzuka last year and clinched his second straight F1 world drivers’ championship in the process. Despite coming off his worst finish — fifth at Marina Bay — since the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, Verstappen is once again the overwhelming favorite.
Ferrari will be energized coming off a stellar weekend, McLaren is suddenly resurgent and Mercedes have steadily improved over the course of the season, but will any of that be enough to topple Red Bull again?
Here’s everything you need to know for the Japanese Grand Prix:
Japanese Grand Prix TV/streaming schedule
All times Eastern
Thursday 10:25 p.m.-11:30 p.m.: Free practice 1 (ESPN2, F1 TV Pro)
Friday 1:55-3 a.m.: Free practice 2 (ESPN2, F1 TV Pro) 10:25 p.m.-11:30 p.m.: Free practice 3 (ESPN2, F1 TV Pro)
Saturday 1:55-4 a.m.: Qualifying (ESPN2, F1 TV Pro) 11:30 p.m.-12:55 a.m. (Sunday): Pre-race show (ESPN)
Sunday 1-3 a.m.: Japanese Grand Prix (ESPN, F1 TV Pro)
Japanese Grand Prix starting grid
Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes
Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes
Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari
Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes
George Russell (63), Mercedes
Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Liam Lawson (40), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault
Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes
Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault
Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Nico Hülkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari
Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes
Japanese Grand Prix circuit, lap count, tire compounds
Circuit: Suzuka International Racing Course (3.608-mile, 18-turn permanent facility) in Mie Prefecture, Japan Race length: 53 laps for 191.05 miles Lap record: 1:30.983 (Lewis Hamilton, 2019) Tire compounds: C1 (Hard), C2 (Medium) C3 (Soft) 2022 winner: Max Verstappen, Red Bull-RBPT
Top drivers and best bets for the Japanese Grand Prix
Verstappen once again enters as the overwhelming favorite, according to BetMGM. Oddsmakers are apparently unfazed by his record-setting 10-race win streak getting snapped in Singapore last weekend and speculation about new technical directives being the reason for Red Bull’s dip in performance at Marina Bay. Sergio Perez has the next-best odds at 11-to-1.
Best odds to win Max Verstappen -350 Sergio Perez +1100 Lando Norris +1400
Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg wrote earlier in the week on some bets he likes for Suzuka, including both McLarens to finish in the points (-250), last week’s winner Carlos Sainz to finish in the top six (-225) and Lewis Hamilton to score a second straight podium (+175).
F1 world drivers’ championship standings
1. Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT – 374 2. Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT – 223 3. Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes – 180 4. Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes – 170 5. Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari – 142 6. Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari – 123 7. George Russell (63), Mercedes – 129 8. Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes – 97 9. Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes – 47 10. Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault – 45 11. Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes – 42 12. Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault – 36 13. Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes – 21 14. Nico Hülkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari – 9 15. Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari – 6 16. Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari – 4 17. Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 3 18. Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari – 3 19. Liam Lawson (40), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 2 20. Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes – 0 21. Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 0 22. Daniel Ricciardo (3), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 0
Japanese Grand Prix entry list
Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes George Russell (63), Mercedes Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari Nico Hülkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari Liam Lawson (40), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes
Japanese Grand Prix weather
The forecast calls for a 52% chance of rain for Friday’s practice sessions but dry, partly cloudy conditions for Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race. Should rain wipe out FP2 — when teams conduct qualifying simulations and collect long run data — we could be in for a jumbled grid. Otherwise, expect Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren to be at the top, likely in that order.
It was the tail end of another long, hot Tokyo summer, and salarymen across the city were looking at their wardrobes with dread.
Every year from May to September, Japan’s famously conservative corporate workers and government employees set aside their stiff, dark suits for more casual attire. Out go the neckties and starched shirts; in come short-sleeved polos and linen shirts, even the occasional Hawaiian. Then, as the calendar approaches October, formality returns, if not drastically cooler temperatures.
The metamorphosis is part of a Japanese initiative known as “Cool Biz,” a glass-half-full description of what could just as easily be called “Hot Office.” Starting on May 1, workplaces set their thermostats at 28 degrees Celsius, or above 82 degrees Fahrenheit, to save energy, a sweaty proposition in humid Tokyo.
Uncomfortable though they may be, Japanese offices offer a model for how countries around the world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions that have contributed to record-breaking heat waves and extreme weather events. This August was the hottest ever recorded in Japan, according to its meteorological agency, and daily highs in Tokyo remained above 32 degrees Celsius, or 90 degrees Fahrenheit, into the latter part of September.
Cool Biz is one of a number of simple, cost-effective energy savings initiatives in Japan, a resource-poor country that relies on fuel imports for nearly 90 percent of its energy needs. The measures have helped keep Japan’s per capita energy consumption to roughly half that of the United States, according to statistics from the Energy Institute, based in London.
Unlike Japanese workers, Americans have been hostile to the idea of thermal discomfort. During the oil shock of the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter became a national punching bag for daring to ask people to turn down the thermostat and put on an extra layer. In the summer, many American offices are still kept so cold that workers resort to space heaters and sweaters.
In Japan, Cool Biz became especially popular with women, who tended to wear lighter clothes and often complained about the cold temperatures needed to make business suits comfortable for their male colleagues. Women are still vastly underrepresented in decision-making roles in Japanese offices.
Today, more than 86 percent of workplaces participate in the Cool Biz program, according to an Environment Ministry survey. The program’s success was achieved without any rule-making or financial incentives, said Yusuke Inoue, the director of the ministry’s zero-carbon lifestyle promotion office.
Instead, the government encouraged politicians and business leaders to strip off their jackets and ties, modeling behavior that quickly became ubiquitous. As people turned to lighter clothes, they no longer wanted the thermostat set so low, Mr. Inoue said.
Tatsuya Murase, 29, who works for a shipping company, said clients had come to expect less sartorial stuffiness.
“Nowadays when I visit my clients, all seem to be very flexible and generous about the no-jacket style,” said Mr. Murase, who was wearing a blue-and-white-checked button-down shirt as he saw off two colleagues near Tokyo Station on Wednesday.
Keita Janaha, 34, the deputy branch manager of a local bank, said that while some of his male colleagues found the office to be too warm, it was acceptable to customers walking in from the sauna-like conditions outside.
Cool Biz traces its roots to the 1970s, when Japanese were heeding some of the same advice that Americans shunned. Even so, the appearance of Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira in a short-sleeved suit jacket — the “energy-saving look,” as newspapers called it — was considered too unsightly to abide.
Yuriko Koike, currently governor of Tokyo, introduced Cool Biz to government offices in 2005 during her time as environment minister. The initiative coincided with commitments Japan had made under the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 international agreement to reduce greenhouse gasses.
Learning from Mr. Ohira’s safari suit debacle, the government engaged in a full-court press to convince office workers that it was OK to abandon their familiar coat and tie, even when meeting with clients.
The program’s name was chosen from among 3,200 suggestions. Appropriately suave looks were modeled by the colorful prime minister at the time, Junichiro Koizumi. Officials even persuaded Kenshi Hirokane, who wrote a popular comic book about salarymen, to put his characters in short sleeves.
While the initiative led to complaints from necktie manufacturers, which said business had fallen, it was a boon for retailers like Uniqlo, with its line of inexpensive, casual clothing made from lightweight, sweat-wicking fabrics. Its polos have become the de facto summer uniform for many office workers.
The program has been so successful that it has led to a broader “casualization” of summer style in Japan, said W. David Marx, the author of a cultural history of Japanese men’s wear, “Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style.”
“As much as it’s an environmental-saving technique, also on a personal level, I think, everybody realizes that it’s too hot to wear suits,” he said.
Cool Biz’s wintertime counterpart, Warm Biz, introduced at the same time and encouraging workplaces to keep thermostats low, has been less successful. Even its cartoon mascot — an adorable ninja — has had a hard time persuading office employees to bundle up in scarves and blankets and shiver at their desks.
As Cool Biz has thrived, it has also evolved. In 2011, after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima prompted Japan to shut down reactors nationwide, the country loosened dress standards once more and called on its citizens to reduce air-conditioner use even further in an effort to avoid rolling blackouts.
So-called Super Cool Biz helped save the electric grid, but may not have been great for productivity, according to research that found that workers became less productive with every additional degree above 25 Celsius, or 77 Fahrenheit. Even more worrying, one study linked the reduction in home cooling to a rise in mortality among older people from heatstroke.
Last year, with Japanese summers getting longer and hotter, the Environment Ministry did away with the official campaign period, encouraging workplaces to naturally transition from Cool Biz to Warm Biz as temperatures demand. Still, most office workers don their casual attire in May and don’t switch back to more formal wear until the end of September. Some municipalities have said they will continue Cool Biz into October.
Not everyone has adjusted well to the change, said Yoshiyuki Morii, a fashion consultant who helps companies and their employees navigate the country’s shifting dress norms.
In a nation where uniforms were once common even in desk jobs, many people are unsure what constitutes appropriate attire in the Cool Biz era, he said. It’s a problem that can have serious implications: In 2019, business-suited South Korean trade officials accused their short-sleeved Japanese counterparts of disrespect.
Other countries have tried programs similar to Cool Biz with varying degrees of success. In Spain, the public proved less willing to put up with the heat, said Daniel Sánchez García, a professor at the University Carlos III in Madrid who studies thermal comfort.
When the Spanish government introduced the program, “people said that 27 degrees” — nearly 81 degrees Fahrenheit — “was too high,” he said.
Even in Japan, not all buildings are cooled equally: Shops and restaurants tend to keep their thermostats low to ensure their customers’ comfort.
Masato Ikehata, a spokesman for Itochu, a trading company that relaxed its business suit policy in 2017, said the firm had set up special “cold compartments” where employees and clients can cool down after entering the building, and before holding meetings in the warmer office spaces.
The soaring temperatures have prompted a host of other adaptations. Personal air-conditioners hung on lanyards, hand-held electric fans and collars filled with cold packs are common accessories. Construction and delivery workers have taken to wearing vests with two small electric fans sewn in.
At EAT Grill and Bar, a Western-style cafe in central Tokyo, the owner, Michikazu Takahashi, keeps the thermostat at 28 degrees.
Some customers feel that’s too warm, he said on a recent day as he took a break from the hot grill. “They say this isn’t normal,” Mr. Takahashi said, gesturing to his shop, where a small shiba inu named Momo reclined comfortably on the wooden floor.
He disagreed. Freezing temperatures on a hot summer day? “That’s what’s not normal.”
Barely three years after its entire fleet was grounded, Qantas Airways has never been more profitable. But as Australia’s national airline has emerged stronger from the pandemic, it has alienated its most important constituency: Australians.
They bemoan that its flights are unreliable and expensive. They are aghast at how government protectionism has made Qantas by far the biggest airline in Australia and pushed up the price of travel. They are stunned by allegations that it sold tickets for flights it never intended to fly. They cannot square how Qantas unfairly laid off hundreds of workers, then handed out enormous paychecks to its chief executive and board of directors.
Now, as the baying for blood intensifies, labor unions and lawmakers are calling on the company’s board to resign en masse.
The anger is personal for Australians, who feel profound ownership over the carrier that bills itself as “the spirit of Australia,” said Geoffrey Thomas, the Perth-based founder of AirlineRatings.com. “We’re fiercely proud of it — so we expected better of it.”
Qantas is rooted in Australian aviation history and long enjoyed a reputation for safety and comfort. Air travel is an indispensable part of everyday life in this sparsely populated country roughly the size of the United States, with some cities hundreds of miles from the next major center. Qantas operates three of every five commercial domestic flights, and signing up for a Qantas frequent flier account is a rite of passage for many.
The recent scandals, which many Australians see as betrayals, sting acutely.
Seeking to reassure her compatriots, Vanessa Hudson, the airline’s new chief executive, posted a video message of apology online on Friday. “I know that we have let you down in many ways, and for that I am sorry,” she said, adding: “We want to get back to the national carrier that Australians can be proud of.”
Qantas may be scrambling to apologize — but its balance books are in exceptional health. Last month, it posted a record annual profit of 2.47 billion Australian dollars, about $1.6 billion, as well as multimillion-dollar bonuses for the previous chief executive, Alan Joyce, and other top brass, and a share buyback program of 500 million Australian dollars.
Those blockbuster results have come at a cost, with the pursuit of short-term profits above all else tarnishing the brand in some customers’ eyes, said Angus Aitken, a Sydney-based stockbroker and the founder of Aitken Mount Capital Partners. “Profitability is one thing, but you also have to look after your clients.”
Investors have taken note: Qantas shares have fallen 20 percent since July.
Mr. Joyce, who is credited with turning the company around after the global financial crisis, tried to quiet the din in early September, resigning as chief executive two months before he was scheduled to step down. But since then, Qantas has not been able to move on, lurching from one challenge to the next as new difficulties seem to come to light in the Australian news media almost daily.
Despite the hits to its reputation, Qantas is well positioned for a recovery as the country’s largest carrier, aviation experts say, and with plans to introduce ultralong-range nonstop flights that will connect Australians to the rest of the world in record time on new Airbus A350 planes in late 2025. For the first time, passengers will be able to fly nonstop between Australia’s eastern seaboard and Paris, New York and London.
“It’s going to be the ultimate flying machine, and passengers are going to flock to it,” Mr. Thomas said of the new planes. In a year’s time, he said, Australians will be having “a totally different discussion about what a wonderful airline Qantas is.”
There are many hurdles on that path. One of the first big tests comes next week when Ms. Hudson, the new chief executive, begins court-ordered mediation with a labor union. That follows a finding that Qantas illegally outsourced the jobs of nearly 1,700 baggage handlers during the pandemic, in part to prevent union action. The airline, which has apologized, now faces a compensation bill of as much as 200 million Australian dollars, and calls for the board to resign.
“You have to ask yourself, where is the line?” Bill Shorten, a cabinet minister, said after the court’s decision. “If this is not it, what is the test? Is there nothing they would ever resign over?”
For as much as Australians feel that Qantas owes them something, the airline is far from being publicly owned. Founded in 1920 and nationalized in 1947, the carrier was slowly privatized in the 1990s, and only 51 percent of shares in it must be held by Australians, while the rest may be held by offshore investors. Still, the Sydney-based airline is critical to the ordinary functioning of Australian life, operating 61 percent of domestic flights.
After Australia closed its borders in 2020, Qantas parked its planes and limped along, propped up by almost 900 million Australian dollars in government aid. Returning to the skies was a painful process: Passengers cited poor service at premium prices, chronic luggage losses and difficulty in getting refunds for canceled flights and in redeeming vouchers and air miles.
In 2022, regulators say, Qantas advertised and sold tickets for more than 8,000 flights that it knew would never take off, a move designed to muscle out competition. The national consumer watchdog has said it is seeking a record fine of at least 250 million Australian dollars to set an example for other companies.
At the same time, the authorities have buttressed Qantas’s dominant position. This year, the federal government blocked Qatar Airways from adding more flights to Australia, on the grounds that it would hurt Australian enterprises — even though it would have most likely made flights less expensive for Australian customers. (Qantas had previously lobbied to keep Qatar from hubs in Australia’s eastern states.)
The interference is not new. Governments led by both major national parties have been “quite openly supporting a business which is patently market dominant and which is anticompetitive,” said Kyle Kimball, a commercial litigator based in Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
The relationship between Qantas and figures in government has also been criticized as too cozy. Recently, there was outrage in the domestic news media about the 23-year-old son of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese getting access to a Qantas members-only lounge that is typically reserved for celebrities, business executives and top politicians.
“To me, they’re just so intermingled,” Mr. Aitken, the stockbroker, said of the government and Qantas. “You can smell it, I can smell it.”
It is challenges like these that Qantas has to overcome to regain its status as a beloved brand.
“Reputation takes a lifetime to build and five minutes to ruin,” Mr. Kimball said. “They’re going to have to work awfully hard to rebuild that brand.”
UNC quarterback Drake Maye’s right arm has thrown 43 touchdown passes for the Tar Heels. His left arm just got on the board.
The much-hyped NFL Draft prospect had a touchdown to remember in the second quarter of UNC’s 41-24 win over Pitt on Saturday, scrambling to hit wide receiver Kobe Paysour as a southpaw.
Maye’s right arm was busy holding off Pitt pass-rusher Nate Temple, leaving him to throw a wobbly prayer as defensive back A.J. Woods bore down on him.
The score was part of a 41-24 win for UNC, but Maye’s only passing touchdown. He finished 22-of-30 for 296 yards, plus two rushing touchdowns.
Maye is coming off redshirt freshman season in which he posted 4,321 passing yards, a 66.2% completion rate, 8.4 yards per pass attempt, 38 touchdown passes, seven interceptions, 698 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, good for a 10th-place finish in Heisman Trophy voting.
That breakout performance saw UNC go 9-5, losing to Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. Maye entered this season widely hyped as a top Heisman candidate, though the Tar Heels had to replace offensive coordinator Phil Longo and top receivers Josh Downs and Antoine Green.
So far this season, Maye hasn’t quite posted stats at the same clip, with 891 passing yards, four touchdown passes and four interceptions in his first three games against South Carolina, Appalachian State and Minnesota, but he also still has UNC undefeated as it looks for its first conference championship since 1980. A 1-0 record in ACC play is a good place to start.
Ohio State scored with no time left to get a 17-14 win over Notre Dame.
The Buckeyes got the ball back with 1:26 to go and just one timeout and needed nearly every second of that drive as Chip Trayanum got the ball just across the goal line on a dive play with one second left.
Ohio State needed 15 plays to go 65 yards on the game-winning drive that included multiple conversions on third and fourth downs. After failing to pick up a yard on its first two plays of the drive, Ohio State converted a third and 10 for 23 yards to Emeka Egbuka. Four plays later, Kyle McCord found Julian Fleming for seven yards on fourth and seven with less than 45 seconds to go.
Not long after that, McCord was called for intentional grounding and Ohio State was forced to use its last timeout with 15 seconds left. On the next play — a third and 19 — McCord hit Egbuka for a 21-yard game to the Notre Dame one with seven seconds to go.
LAS VEGAS — Rafael Fiziev has earned a deserved reputation as perhaps Justin Gaethje Lite, one of the most exciting fighters in mixed martial arts. His bout Saturday against Mateusz Gamrot in the main event of UFC Vegas 79 figured to be outstanding, considering the stakes and the styles of the fighters.
Ultimately, though, it turned out to be a dud when Fiziev injured his left knee when throwing a kick in the second round and the bout was stopped. It went into the record books as a TKO for Gamrot.
Fiziev entered the bout ranked sixth at lightweight, a spot ahead of Gamrot. Given how deep the division is, this bout carried significant stakes. But after an exciting first round that Fiziev won on all three cards, it came to a premature and disappointing ending.
Fiziev was taken to a local hospital for examination and there was no word on his condition. He was helped out of the Octagon and walked to his locker room with his arms draped over the shoulders of his cornermen, putting no weight on his left leg.
Gamrot was pleased with the win but disappointed in the manner it occurred. He said he knew Fiziev would kick him a lot and was happy with his defense.
“I am not super happy because this is an unfortunate situation,” Gamrot said at the post-fight news conference.
He said, “First thing first, a win is a win. We are sportsmen, but we are competitors, as well. If you go through camp and you prepare attacks and you prefer to [throw] punches. But I also prepared my defense because I knew Rafa likes to kick a lot. His punches are really strong and in my camp, I prepared a really good defense and maybe this was the [reason] he got his injury.”
He didn’t seem thrilled by the notion of a rematch with Fiziev. He said he expected Islam Makhachev to defeat Charles Oliveira next month when they rematch for the lightweight title on Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi. If that comes through, he said he wanted to fight Oliveira because he believed Oliveira would be willing to go to the ground and grapple with him.
He said he has elite grappling skills that he wants to show off.
Bryce Mitchell’s grappling leads him to win over Dan Ige
Bryce Mitchell had an interesting week. He declared himself the UFC’s cash cow after being submitted by Ilia Topuria in December, and then he suffered a cut bad enough in his fight with Dan Ige that referee Mark Smith brought in the doctor to check on it.
Ige showed fantastic takedown defense, but Mitchell was relentless. He hit five of his 15 takedown attempts and was able to out-grapple Ige on the ground. He took Ige’s back in the third and had a body triangle locked in, making it difficult for Ige to get the fight to the feet.
Mitchell never really came close to a submission, as Ige defended superbly, but he controlled the action and clearly took the final two rounds. He won by unanimous decision, by scores of 29-28 twice and 30-27. Yahoo Sports gave Ige the first round and had it 29-28 for Mitchell.
Mitchell, who said he would donate $5,000 to victims of the wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, was impressed by Ige.
“He’s the hardest hitter I ever fought,” Mitchell said of Ige. “I wasn’t expecting him to be so fast and move so well. His grappling defense is so good, too. I fought for survival in here tonight.”
Mitchell then said he’d make a donation to the victim’s fund in Maui in honor of Ige, a native Hawaiian.
“I know he lost friends and they lost their homes, they lost their children, and I love these people with all my heart,” Mitchell said. “We have to show Satan he can’t do nothing through the power of Christ.”
Mitchell then began to throw out a conspiracy theory regarding the origin of the wildfires, saying he felt they were man-made. UFC television analyst Michael Bisping had no time for that and quickly ended the interview.
Marina Rodriguez absolutely brutalized Michelle Waterson-Gomez, opening a huge cut on her face in the first with a knee and leaving it filled with welts, bruises and lumps. Rodriguez finished the bout in the second when referee Kerry Hatley essentially called a mercy stoppage at 2:42. Rodriguez dragged Waterson-Gomez to the mat and was opening up on her when Hatley wisely stopped it.
It makes one wonder about Waterson-Gomez’s future. Known as “The Karate Hottie,” she’s lost four in a row and six of her last seven. She’ll be 38 in January and it doesn’t seem like she is going to be a factor at 115 pounds. This fight could have been it for her.
Her one-time teammate, UFC Hall of Famer Rashad Evans, rose from his seat at ringside and applauded as Waterson-Gomez left the Octagon. She stopped when he passed him and they embraced. She spoke to him briefly with tears in her eyes.
She was 17-6 after defeating Karolina Kowalkiewicz on March 30, 2019, her third win in a row. She had legitimate championship aspirations. But the 2020s haven’t been kind to her and she’s struggling to compete at the highest level.
Bryan Battle, ‘The King of Apex,’ chokes out A.J. Fletcher
Welterweight Bryan Battle, the middleweight winner of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ in 2021, continued his hot streak with a rear naked choke submission victory over A.J. Fletcher at 4:32 of the second round.
He declined to make a call-out when it was over, saying fighters in the rankings are too worried about protecting their position to risk it by fighting him.
“When you consider TUF, nobody has won here more than me,” Battle said. “I’m the King of Apex.”
Coming off of a 14-second KO victory of Gabe Green in May, Battle got off to a bit of a slow start. But he shook it off and looked good in finishing Fletcher.
Mizuki returns after a three-year absence to edge Goldy
Mizuki Inoue last fought in the UFC on Aug. 22, 2020, when she dropped a decision to Amanda Lemos. She was sidelined ever since by a series of injuries until Saturday, when she met Hannah Goldy. Despite the layoff, Mizuki used her striking to pull out a unanimous decision, winning 29-28 on all cards. Yahoo Sports had it 29-28 for Goldy, who has now lost four of her last five and has to be concerned about her job security.
“That was my first fight in three years, so it took me a while to get back in the rhythm,” Mizuki said. “Actually, I couldn’t get into my rhythm until the end of the fight. Halfway through the fight, I thought I was losing it so I really had to get myself into it.”
There was a lot of clinching, and that was where Goldy seemingly had the edge. She scored well with knees in those situations. But Mizuki was picking her apart at range and that led to the long-awaited victory. She hadn’t won since Aug. 31, 2019, when she defeated Wu Yanan by split decision in Shenzhen, China.
Usman rallies to defeat Jake Collier
Mohammed Usman didn’t have a great opening round against Jake Collier in their heavyweight bout on the preliminary card, and it looked as if it could get much worse early in the second. Usman inadvertently poked Collier in the right eye and Collier went down in pain.
He used the entire five minutes allotted for an accidental foul. At one point, after the ringside physician examined his eye, he pounded his fist on the mat, making it seem as if the bout was over. But Collier insisted he was OK and referee Dan Miragliotta opted to let the bout continue.
Usman picked up his game considerably after that, using a thumping jab to break open Collier’s face, and he took a unanimous decision. The win, his fifth in a row, came by scores of 29-28 twice and 30-27. Yahoo Sports had it 29-28 for Usman, the brother of former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Usman said he was staying awake at night thinking of Collier because he had so much respect for his skills. Collier showed why in a strong first, but he wasn’t the same after Usman made an adjustment. After the first, his coaches urged him to move his feet and when he did, he took total control.
“There is no question that I’m here to stay and I’m going to be here for a long time,” Usman said. “I can do everything in the Octagon.”
Jacob Malkoun gave up a victory with an ill-timed illegal strike
Australian Jacob Malkoun was dominating Cody Brundage in their middleweight fight and seemed on the verge of a first-round finish when he made what was perhaps the worst decision of the night. He had been battering Brundage and was on his back. Brundage was on all fours and Malkoun was looking directly at his back.
That’s one time he knows he couldn’t throw a strike. But inexplicably, he apparently lost his composure and threw an elbow. It hit Brundage on the back of the head, an illegal blow. Brundage looked in no condition to continue, and appeared not to want to continue.
When it was determined he was unfit to continue, referee Mark Smith halted the bout and disqualified Malkoun. He was completely dominant and was destroying Brundage, but it was Brundage who won for the third time in a row — and collected a win bonus — after getting the nod by DQ.
Malkoun had only himself to blame. Brundage never moved his head and Malkoun was looking directly at the target when he threw the illegal blow.
Star Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. had his right ankle rolled up on while blocking during the third quarter of the No. 6 Buckeyes’ game against No. 9 Notre Dame.
Harrison was engaged with his defender on TreVeyon Henderson’s TD run as Henderson rushed to Harrison’s side of the field. As Notre Dame’s Xavier Watts pursued Henderson and dove to tackle him, Harrson’s ankle severely turned inwards as Watts crashed into him from behind.
Harrison had to be helped off the field by two Ohio State trainers after he was face down on the field for a couple of minutes after the play.
However, Harrison didn’t miss a single offensive play. Harrison had his ankle taped in Ohio State’s injury tent and jogged along the sideline as Notre Dame held onto the ball for nearly half the third quarter on a 13-play touchdown drive. When Ohio State returned to the field leading 10-7, Harrison made a catch on the Buckeyes’ first play back on offense.
The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison is considered the best wide receiver eligible for the 2024 NFL draft and a possible top-three pick. Harrison had 77 catches for 1,263 yards and 14 TDs as a sophomore in 2022 and entered the game with 14 catches for 304 yards and three scores through three games in 2023.
Savannah Chrisley has issued a statement she never imaged she would have to make.
On Saturday afternoon, the USA Network personality took to Instagram in order to mourn her former fiance, Nic Kerdiles, who passed away hours earlier in a motorcycle crash.
He was 29 years old.
“Heaven gained the most beautiful angel today. I miss you and I love you,” the Chrisley Knows Best alum wrote.
“I’ll forever save our last messages of ‘I love you’… Please send me a sign that you’re ok… maybe it’ll be thru a ham and cheese crepe.. or pasta with white sauce… or maybe even your favorite carrot cake.”
Savannah also shared a video (below) of the pair kissing, scrawling over the top:
“I’m still hoping you’ll respond to my text…”
The former professional hockey player, who split from Chrisley in 2020, was killed in a motorcycle accident around 3:30 a.m. on September 23.
Police told local TV station WKRN that he was driving his Indian Motorcycle west on a street in a residential area when he went through a stop sign and struck the driver’s side of a BMW SUV… which immediately stopped after the collision.
From there, Nic Kerdiles transported to a hospital and later pronounced dead from his injuries.
Chrisley started dating athlete in November 2017.
“He’s great, he’s so sweet and so supportive of what I do, and just wants what’s best for me, whether it’s traveling for work, the next opportunity,” she told Us Weekly in May 2018.
Investigators have said o signs of impairment on behalf of either driver involved in this fatal accident and no charges are anticipated against the BMW driver.
Following news of his death, Nic received a tribute from his former NHL team, the Anaheim Ducks.
“We’re heartbroken to hear the news about Nic Kerdiles, who died in a motorcycle accident this morning,” the club tweeted.
“An Irvine native, Nic became the first player from Orange County to play for the Ducks, in 2017. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family and loved ones.”
Kerdiles made appearances on Chrisley Knows Best during his two-year long engagement to Savannah.
In early 2022, he held a gun to his head and said he may have pulled the trigger… if not for Savannah and her dad, Todd, arriving on the scene and talking him out of it.
“I don’t know where I was at in my mental state,” he said during an Instagram Live session with Savannah and Todd afterward.
“But between the depression, anxiety, the COVID effects, the medication, the alcohol, I did something that I never thought I would ever do.”
Three days before his death, Nick shared a photo of himself on a night out with a group of friends in the city.
And then weeks before his passing, he shared snapshots from a visit to his family.
“Getting to go home this past weekend and seeing my family was something that I need more than I knew,” Kerdiles wrote on Instagram at the time.
“Time in this life goes by quicker and quicker each day.”
Nic Kerdiles, a former professional hockey player known in entertainment circles for having been engaged to reality star Savannah Chrisley, died Saturday morning in Nashville.
He was 29 years old.
According to local authorities, Kerdiles passed away from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident that took place around 3:30 a.m.
TMZ was the first outlet to confirm this horrible news.
Reports indicate Kerdiles ran a stop sign and crashed into the driver’s side of a BMW.
He was then taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The night before this fatal crash, Kerdiles took to his Instagram Story and posted a photo of himself on his motorcycle.
He added the caption, “Night rider.”
Kerdiles gained small prominence after he was featured on Chrisley Knows Best while dating Savannah.
The couple called off its engagement for good in September 2020, just months after they decided to end their engagement and “go back to dating.”
“Nic and I have decided to call it quits. There’s no hatred between the two of us…and in all honesty…that makes saying goodbye even harder,” Savannah told followers at the time.
“We have nothing but love, respect, and admiration for one another but it’s time for us to move forward individually.
“These past 3 years have been some of the best years of my life…but I have to trust that God has a far greater purpose for my life…I believe that He will take this hardship and make something beautiful out of it.
“Now please be kind with this news that I am sharing.”
In early 2022, meanwhile, Kerdiles held a gun to his head and came close to committing suicide.
In an emotional Instagram video, with Savannah and Todd Chrisley by his side, Nic said a few days later:
“With COVID and some of the things that I’ve had from COVID, I’ve been on medication and I decided to mix alcohol with it to a point that…
“I don’t remember anything that happened that night and I was in a full blackout…
“I don’t know where I was at in my mental state but between the depression, anxiety, the COVID effects. the medication, the alcohol, I did something that I never thought I would ever do.”
Kerdiles emphasized his hopes back then that if the video “can help at least one person out there that’s going through it,” to which Todd responded:
“I think you’re going to do better than that. I think you’re going to help a lot more than one.”
We send our condolences to the friends, family members and loved ones of Nic Kerdiles.
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