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#1 am 11.02.2020 um 08:12 Uhr Diesen Beitrag zitieren
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Each week, writer Brett Okamoto provides his take on the hottest topics in the world of mixed martial arts.This week, Okamoto squares off with UFC featherweight Cub Swanson?to debate the latest news and preview Saturdays UFC 201 card. Swanson (22-7), 32, returns to the Octagon on Aug. 6 at UFC Fight Night in Salt Lake City against Tatsuya Kawajiri.1.?Heavyweight Mark Hunt has ripped the UFC for its handling of the Brock Lesnar?drug testing situation. Do you agree with Hunts take?Swanson:?I think he does have a great point. I dont know if I would have necessarily attacked the UFC about it, but I definitely feel like I would want some compensation for what happened to him. Its just not right, the whole scenario of somebody like Brock making that kind of money and then failing his drug test. I think when someone fails a drug test in general, its stupid now as far as the fines. I dont think athletic commissions should get any of that money. I think it should go to the fighter who went in there. Drug testing in this sport is better than what it used to be. I think it could always be better, but Im not sure exactly how. I dont know why, but I dont fully trust USADA [united states anti-doping agency]. Theres big money on the line, and Ive heard people from the boxing community speak negatively about them. I appreciate what theyre trying to do, though. I think guys are scared to do stuff, and the guys who have been caught, its definitely making waves.Okamoto:?All right, so heres what I dont like about Hunts take: He sort of knew what he was getting into. He cant complain about the UFC waiving that four-month testing window for Lesnar now, since he knew that going in and agreed to it. He even spoke about it before the fight, basically saying, Its not right, but Im gonna KO him anyway. If you say that, you just dont have a leg to stand on to complain about it after. The rest of what hes saying? I agree with a lot of it. I dont buy into this idea the UFC knew about Lesnars failed test before July 9. I do believe, however, they could have known the results had they expedited the process of getting them. From conversations Ive had with people in the know, the UFC can accelerate that process, but its expensive. Were talking about UFC 200 -- and an athlete in Lesnar who already wasnt tested the mandatory four months prior to his fight. If youre not ponying up for expedited results in that situation, when are you? In that regard, the UFC let Hunt down, and hes well within his rights to be angry about it.2.?Chael Sonnens two-year drug suspension officially ended July 23. Do you expect him to fight again and, if so, whom should it be against?Swanson:?The problem with Chael is that hes an exciting talker but a boring fighter. So, I dont really care to watch him fight again. I think hes better off as an analyst. I just ... no. He talks a big game, and thats it. I think what has been great about Conor McGregor is that he talks a big game but hes also an exciting fighter -- which Chael fell very short of. So, I dont want to see him fight again.Okamoto:?Nope. Hes never fighting again. He said he retired, guys. Why would he retire if he was going to fight again? ... Just kidding. Of course Sonnen will fight, and Oct. 1 in Portland seems like a soft landing spot, wouldnt you agree? He has been added to USADAs testing pool and very strongly hinted at the comeback everyone knew was coming. So, who does he fight? No. 1 option is Nick Diaz, who is coming off an 18-month suspension in August. That matchup works for both fighters and is clearly outstanding for television ratings. And with the UFC falling into new ownership, with an exclusive television deal set to expire in two years, good television ratings would be a nice way to increase its potential value. Sonnen-Diaz is the way to go.3.?If Tyron Woodley defeats Robbie Lawler for the UFC welterweight championship on Saturday, how does he do it?Swanson:?By keeping a high pace. Everybody seems to be fighting Robbies fight, letting him keep distance and come in and out when he wants to. Youve got to bull him, level change and make him fight completely on defense. Woodley is very capable of doing that; its just a matter of having the confidence to rush right forward, and then be able to do that for five rounds. Tyron looks great in some fights, and others he hasnt looked his best. If he shows up at his best, I could see him winning that fight.Okamoto:?Knockout. Nobody is better in championship rounds than Lawler. If this goes five rounds, Lawler will find a way to win at least three. Woodley needs a finish, and the most likely way he gets it is a knockout. Woodley is a very good wrestler, but I dont think well see him go heavy on takedowns here. Lawler is very, very hard to hold down and posture up on. Woodley doesnt have bad cardio, but hes not a lean, 170-pound track star, either, a la Carlos Condit. He can be aggressive, as Swanson suggests, but he also needs to pace himself. Blowing energy trying to outwrestle Lawler for 25 minutes? I dont see it. I think hell try to be opportunistic on the feet and see if any of Lawlers durability has been compromised by the wars he has been in.4.?With the womens 135-pound division as chaotic as it has ever been, play matchmaker: What fights should the UFC be looking to put together?Swanson:?I couldnt even tell you, with everyone beating everyone. I love that, personally. I think when we have a dominant champion over the years, the division kind of gets stagnant. With things switching over and over, you can really do any matchup you want. The one Id like to see is Ronda [Rousey] fighting Holly [Holm] again. I lost a lot of respect for her, not coming back yet. Youve got to come back after your losses. Look at Holly -- she came back; she has lost twice now; shell be back again, fighting to prove to herself shes as good as she is. I think Ronda needs to do that.Okamoto:?If its up to me: Amanda Nunes-Julianna Pena for the title. Why not? Holm, Miesha Tate and Rousey are all coming off a loss. Valentina Shevchenko just beat Holm, but she also just lost to Nunes back in March. Pena might be young, but shes mean and wont give an inch. Stylistically, thats a fun championship fight. From there, Tate-Cat Zingano II makes sense. First one was close, Tate felt it was stopped early. Tate probably needs some time after UFC 200, but thats a fight with a story behind it. Rousey? What if she were to come back against Shevchenko? Fans would probably jump all over that as a gimme fight, but if theres one thing Ive learned, there are no gimme fights in this division right now -- and after a full year off, you know what? Id be cool with Rousey not jumping immediately back into the fire against the champion (Nunes) or her worst style matchup (Holm). Yeah, Ill allow it. That leaves Holm versus either a midlevel bantamweight to get back in line for the title or, if she wants it, a 140-pound super fight against Cris Cyborg Justino.5.?Looking ahead to UFC 202, who has a greater advantage in the rematch: McGregor, because hes now familiar with 170 pounds, or Nate Diaz, because he has a full training camp this time?Swanson:?I think Nate has the advantage. I know Conor is smart enough to make those adjustments and come in a little more prepared for Nate in general, but I think the biggest factor is Nate not caring. Most guys Conor has fought, he has beat before even getting in there. Thats not the case with Nate. I think Nate will be even more dangerous this time around.Okamoto:?When it comes down to that part of it, I think McGregor benefits slightly more. The knowledge and adjustments hell make for the rematch, I see them as being even greater than what Diaz will gain having a full camp. That does not necessarily mean Im picking McGregor to win. I just think he will go into the rematch with a completely different (better) tactical approach, whereas Diaz will fight similar to how he did the first time, just in better shape with better timing. Both will benefit from actually knowing ahead of time who they are fighting, clearly. But I think McGregor will benefit from it more. He has more he can change. Jordan Bernstine Jersey Retro . The 43-year-old closer, in his 19th and final big league season, has said hed like to play the outfield. Yankees manager Joe Girardi says hes thinking about allowing Rivera to do it this weekend, when the Yankees finish their season with a three-game series at the Houston Astros. Walt Merrill Jersey Retro . Andreas Johnson had a goal and two assists while Jacob de la Rose also scored for Sweden (2-0-0). 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Gareth Batty could be forgiven for his roar of joy when Tamim Iqbal was caught behind.It wasnt just that it had been 11 years since he had claimed a Test wicket (Mohammad Ashraful caught at long-on by Matthew Hoggard on June 4, 2005).It wasnt just that, in the intervening years, he was obliged to shake himself out of his comfort zone at New Road to challenge himself anew at The Oval. Ive been meandering through things, he told ESPNcricinfo back in 2009. I felt a need to challenge myself more and test myself in conditions where I might be a match-winner. There have been times of late when Ive woken up, looked in the mirror and thought youre kidding yourself here, mate.It wasnt even that he had set-up a batsmen who looked in fine form with a series of loopy off-breaks and then beaten him with a quicker slider.It was also that, on a surface on which both his spin-bowling colleagues had already struck, he had already bowled 13 wicketless overs. After opening the bowling for what he believes is the first time in his career, he had beaten the bat a few times but been unable to replicate the success of other off-spinners Mehedi Hasan or Moeen Ali. It was a roar not just of triumph but relief.Batty admitted afterwards that he was more nervous than he could recall at any stage in his career. No English spinner has taken the new ball in the first innings of a Test since John Emburey did so against West Indies in 1988 and his first ball was, in his words, a pie that was cut for four, but he soon settled and provided a little more control than either of his spin-bowling colleagues.When youre just an average player you enjoy every little bit of success, Batty modestly reflected in regards to his wicket celebration. I felt like Id set Tamim up a little bit and hopefully skidded it through. And its nice to get very good players out.I was very nervous. I havent felt like that for years, if ever. But thats a good thing. You feel alive. The nerves are jangling and youve got an England shirt on. Wow! What a place to be!He accepted England had bowled some good balls but failed to hold the game as well as they might have done. And it is true that, after Moeen claimed two wickets with magnificent deliveries in his first over, Englands spinners failed to capitalise on the opening. While that is not entirely their fault - Bangladesh, and Tamim in particular, adapted expertly to the surface and the longer form of the game they play so rarely - they will reflect that there were too many release deliveries to allow them to maintain the requisite amount of pressure. Englands problem - and this really isnt breaking news - is that their spinners are either not quite quick enough or not quite tight enough. Not yet, anyway. On slow surfaces like this, good players of spin generally have time to adjust to the movement offered by Rashid or Batty and, while Moeens extra pace helped him gain more purchase, he was not quite controlled enough to reap the rewards.All three of Englands main spinners conceded at least three-an-over (Rashid, who mixed up some gems with some full-tosses and long-hops, conceded almost four-an-over) and delivered four maidens between them in 49 overs. Bangladeshs spinners, by contrast, barely conceded two-an-over (Mehedi went at exactly two-an-over, Taijul Islam conceded 1.95 an over and Shakib Al Hasan 2.42) and delivered 24 maidens in their 82.5 overs. As a result, pressure rarely built upon the Bangladesh batsmen.When the ball goes quicker the batsman cannot change his mind, Batty explained later. Moeens two wickets were magnificent balls and were bowled aat good pace.dddddddddddd Its a question of varying your pace, but for your wicket-taking balls, a quicker one that spins big is a good ball to bowl.This is the sort of surface on which Monty Panesar at his best - and we are going back the best part of a decade for that - might have proved devastating. While Batty, for example, turned the ball consistently, it tended to be gentle and fairly predictable. Panesar, by contrast, could hurry the batsman and punish any hesitation or error. Often it seemed he could gain more from the surface, too. But Panesars days are gone and Moeen is the only England spinner who bowls at the optimum pace to exploit such surfaces.While there are a few genuinely slow bowlers left in international cricket - Rangana Herath is probably the best exponent - you have to possess outstanding control and mastery of your variations to survive at that pace. Rashid, for all his tricks and skill, does not currently have that control. And when Batty attempt to bowl quicker, he loses his spin. Panesar, and to a lesser extent Moeen and Graeme Swann, were unusual in being able to retain their spin at an increased pace.It is desperately difficult - and rare - for spinners to succeed bowling at anything other than their natural pace. Its certainly not just a question of gym work. It is more about a strong bowling action and, perhaps, the angle of the seam when the ball is delivered.While Moeen found extra pace after some chance advice from Kumar Dharmasena there are countless tales of other bowlers losing their unique selling point in pursuit of more, or even less, pace: Rashid, for example, tends to drop short in pursuit of pace, while James Tredwell seemed to lose his spin, Even a bowler as skilled as Derek Underwood saw his performance suffer when he reduced his pace in search of more flight and variation.The scoreboard might not show it but England produced an admirable performance on day two of this game. Their ground fielding performance was exemplified by the sight of Stuart Broad, at fine leg, diving full length to save a boundary from a powerful sweep. Their catching performance, notwithstanding one drop by Adil Rashid, was exemplified by an outstanding diving effort by Joe Root that turned out, on review, to have come off the arm of Tamim.Jonny Bairstow kept almost faultlessly in tricky conditions. Yes, he fumbled one catch before securing it, but his work standing up to the stumps arguably represented the best glovework of his Test career to date.And in the last half-hour of another energy-sapping day, Englands seamers, led by the apparently indefatigable Ben Stokes, contributed a burst of pace and swing bowling, both of which had been absent until then, and gained an important wicket. To have produced a snorter that ripped past the nose of Mushfiqur Rahim on this sluggish surface was an almost miraculous effort. It was surely no coincidence that the same batsman, his equilibrium disturbed, nibbled at one outside off a couple of deliveries later.But, on the limited evidence we have seen here, Englands spinners will need to find a way to bowl a little quicker or tighten up appreciably if they are to succeed in India. They are not miles away. But on slow surfaces against batsmen especially proficient at playing spin, the margins between success and failure can be small: a few miles an hour or a foot or two in length. This was a decent day for England, but its not hard to see where they need to improve. ' ' '
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