Tag Archives: opponent

Lewis Hamilton needs worthy opponent but Max Verstappen's 2021 task is too tough

Lewis Hamilton needs worthy opponent but Max Verstappen's 2021 task is too tough
We came into the Formula 1 2021 season expecting to see Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominate once again, much like we’ve seen since the emergence of the V6 Hybrid era in 2014.
To put it in perspective, no other constructor has taken victory since the start of the 2014 season, and the stats are eye-wateringly good for the seven-time Constructors’ champions, and a mighty six of those came with Hamilton.

It eclipses Ferrari’s five-season run of title success with Michael Schumacher at the wheel at the turn of the century (I promise, F1 is not boring.).

And to quote Damon Hill, “Lewis is like Goliath, beating his chest with the question: ‘Who will challenge me?'”, he said on the F1 Nation podcast. “The great champions need someone they can spar with.”

And of course, all great champions need a worthy opponent, someone at the same level, someone who can really challenge for the win, so they don’t have to rely on being as ‘flawless’ as they can to make it happen.

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And actually, to add salt to the wounds of Red Bull, it looks like Verstappen is actively helping to make Hamilton even better, reigniting his fierce racing style – making the Briton have something to actually defend, rather than sleepwalk his way to a title.

Of course I am not suggesting a seven-time world champion has been sleepwalking his way to wins, he is ultimately one of the greatest racing drivers in history, there’s no denying that – but he hasn’t had the challenges maybe he could’ve had over the past few seasons.

No one is here to predict the future, but it’s very hard to discount Hamilton as the mighty driver that he is. He’s broken pretty much every single record put in front of him, most recently becoming the first driver in F1 history to hit triple figures for pole positions.

Formula One will oversee a huge shake-up in the rules, including a budget cap, major changes to the way F1 cars produce their performance from aerodynamic downforce, and the cars will become heavier.

The goal is to try and make the championship title fight closer and have more unpredictable racing on track, something I can’t wait to see.

So perhaps Verstappen will have to put champagne on ice this season in terms of title chances, however I do think we will see the championship go down to the wire – but it’ll be next season we can expect to see Verstappen shine.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

‘He tapped’: UFC legend Werdum stunned by bizarre KO defeat after claiming he was showing mercy by letting opponent escape (VIDEO)

‘He tapped’: UFC legend Werdum stunned by bizarre KO defeat after claiming he was showing mercy by letting opponent escape (VIDEO)

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has cried foul play after his Professional Fighters League (PFL) debut ended in defeat, with the veteran claiming opponent Renan Ferreira tapped out before gaining a TKO victory.

In his maiden outing for his new employers, ‘Vai Cavalo’ started off well as the two combatants let off a series of flying kicks at one another.

Ferreira took top position, but Jiu-jitsu expert Werdum refused to yield on an armbar hold that later became a triangle choke.

Carrying on regardless, Ferreira powered through with a barrage of punches that eventually caused referee Keith Peterson to wade in and call a TKO stoppage.

Controversy took center stage and the shine off Ferreira’s win when replays clearly showed that he tapped Werdum’s shoulder while stuck in the triangle choke. 

“I think everybody saw the fight,” the Porto Alegre native said in a post-fight interview, discussing how he had loosened his grip.

“He tapped and I have to respect my opponent. I have to stop. Maybe I [should have opted to] break his arm or put him to sleep.

“When he tapped, I automatically stop the fight but he kept going to punch my head. But I stopped because he tapped.”

Asked whether he would appeal the result that cost him six points in the tournament, the 43-year-old wasn’t entirely clear – but he has now filed one with the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, according to his manager, Ali Abdelaziz.

The PFL will send the governing body the footage for review, but there is no doubt for Werdum that he was done dirty.

“In my mind it was over because I feel when he tapped my shoulder. This is why I stopped the fight,” he said.

“I stopped and he keeps going to punch my head. The referee doesn’t see nothing. When you tap, you have to stop the fight.

“But it happened and everyone saw he tapped for sure and he knows he tapped.”

Onlookers laughed at the fact that Werdum lost his PFL debut to a guy who played him in a biopic of BJJ legend Fernando “Tererê” Augusto that is set to be released later this year.

Calling the scrap “crazy theater”, others questioned why Werdum relented – but MMA practitioners explained that the seasoned veteran has been taught to do so when his opponent has clearly submitted.

Werdum also addressed the saga on Twitter. “I’ve been fighting for 23 years, and one of the first things we learn when your opponent gives up [is that] we have to respect [them],” he said.

While debate played out over social media and UFC welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns demanded the result be overturned, one punter predicted that the controversy will “play out as a win for PFL”.

“Ambiguous enough ending that they can gift him points to make the playoffs, yet it’s generating 10 times the discussion a simple steamrolling — or even an uncontroversial upset — would have,” they added.

“And if they meet again in the playoffs? Hoo boy.”
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This post originally appeared on RT Sport News

Boxing superstar Canelo opponent Saunders mocked after claim

Boxing superstar Canelo opponent Saunders mocked after claim

Canelo Alvarez foe Billy Joe Saunders has been mocked after his father, Tommy, claimed that the fighter was preparing to fly back to Britain today because the two sides cannot agree over the size of the ring for Saturday’s scrap.

In an apparently emotional interview, notorious wind-up merchant Saunders’ dad insisted that the much-anticipated biggest fight of his offspring’s career was off, adding that his entourage had been told to pay for their flights home because of an argument centered around 2ft of ring space.

Modern great Canelo is said to want a smaller ring at the AT&T Stadium in Texas, where more than 60,000 fans are expected to watch the pair meet despite Saunders senior warning ticket holders and pay-per-view subscribers to ask for refunds just four days before the scheduled bout.

“The negotiations have broken down, big time,” he told iFL, comparing Canelo to a baby having a tantrum.

“I’m not going to let my son box in a 20ft ring against the supposed pound-for-pound king of boxing. They’re trying to take his legs away.

“He is adamant he wants to go home. We’re not going to take this bulls*** any more.

“Canelo’s chucked his rattle, bottle and whatever out of his pram because someone’s said no to him.”

Echoing the fighter’s earlier complaints, Saunders seethed that Canelo had initially asked for an “amateur” 18ft ring and moved up to 20ft, while his opponent’s team had moved down from a 24ft ring and are willing to accept a 22ft compromise.

He said he was “absolutely gutted” that the fight was seemingly off, strongly suggesting that Saunders’ renowned movement would be limited by a smaller ring.

The curious pre-flight flashpoint reminded many fans of the build-up provided by Saunders’ close friend and teammate, heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, before he dethroned Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf in 2015.

Fury’s uncle, Peter, angrily threatened to call that fight off at extremely short notice over a heated argument about the firmness of the ring canvas, making a clear point to Klitschko that he would not have everything his own way.

Saunders believes that Canelo has enforced similar advantages in the build-up to his previous wins over the likes of Briton Callum Smith, jibing that the Mexican megastar would love the opportunity to stipulate that Saunders should fight with a hand tied behind his back.

The wrangle has left Eddie Hearn with work to do to ensure a fight goes ahead during fight week for the second time this month.

Last week, heavyweight Derek Chisora’s mother had to be called to ensure that the Londoner proceeded with his encounter against Joseph Parker after he voiced a series of last-minute complaints.

Fury’s bull-headed mindgames paid off against the evidently rattled Klitschko, and team Saunders will be hoping for a similar upset on Saturday.

“I don’t think he wants to fight Billy Joe,” said his father. “He’s seen a few clips of him and he doesn’t fancy it.

“That’s what’s going to win this fight – his movement. If Canelo gets beat, it’s the end of the gravy train for them all. That’s what it comes down to.”

Fury beat the Ukrainian giant in a ring spanning the maximum 24ft of space. His emphatic victory in the US over Deontay Wilder last year took place in a 20ft setting.

British super-middleweight contender John Ryder, who is due to be on commentary duties for the fight, said he had packed his “gloves, gumshield and boots” in readiness to step in should Saunders go ahead with scuppering the multi-million dollar main event.

“I agree with the stance he’s taking,” Ryder told Boxing News about the man he lost to on points in 2013. “I agree with the fuss he’s kicking up.

“A bigger ring suits him but if it was that important, it really should be stipulated in the contracts and agreed way before fight week.

“His best way of winning is to have a bigger ring and get the movement off. Canelo sees himself as the A-side – he’s right to stick to his guns and say no.

“We know Billy Joe likes a bit of fight week antics and I’m sure Canelo’s happy to oblige him. [But] they’ve trained for each other: they both want to fight, they’re desperate to fight.”

Fans largely agreed. “Sounds like when Fury fought for the title in Germany,” observed one. “All mind games. No way the fight is off.”

Also on rt.com ‘Canelo’s never faced a Fighting Gypsy’: Fury backs ‘different breed’ Saunders ahead of blockbuster Alvarez clash

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This post originally appeared on RT Sport News

‘I’m grateful’: Magomed Magomedov hails Khabib Nurmagomedov & Zabit Magomedsharipov after choking opponent at Bellator 255 (VIDEO)

‘I’m grateful’: Magomed Magomedov hails Khabib Nurmagomedov & Zabit Magomedsharipov after choking opponent at Bellator 255 (VIDEO)

Russian bantamweight Magomed Magomedov extended his near-perfect professional record with a dominant win over Cee Jay Hamilton at Bellator MMA 255 – then said he hopes to emulate Khabib Nurmagomedov and Zabit Magomedsharipov.

Bellator newcomer Magomedov has two inspirational figures in his training camp in former UFC champion Nurmagomedov and childhood friend Magomedsharipov, who is unbeaten with the promotion.

After almost ending his second successful outing for Bellator in the first round, Magomedov won by rear-naked choke with little more than a minute of the second round gone before immediately consoling Hamilton and checking on the debutant’s wellbeing.

“I’m grateful to all the guys who helped me – Khabib and, especially, coach Javier [Mendez],” said Magomedov, who earned his 12th early finish out of 18 fights.

“I’ve known Zabit for a long time – he’s my childhood friend, we grew up together so he knows me better than I know myself, so he’s the only guy who it is tough for me to spar in the gym.

“I’m grateful that they accepted me in their camp and allowed me to train with them. It was a great camp – you saw a lot of things on the ground tonight that I learned in this camp.

“I have improved a lot on the ground with them and I would like to thank all my brothers. They did a lot in this camp.

“With someone like Khabib or Zabit, it’s always great advice and useful advice for someone like yourself.

“I’m learning a lot from these guys: from Khabib, for example, I’m learning a lot from watching his fights and his ground game, ground control.

“I take a lot from him and he gave me a lot of advice. He showed me a lot of my mistakes on the ground. I would like to be on the ground like Khabib and on my feet like Zabit.”

Magomedov’s victorious Bellator debut in December had been his only previous fight in almost two-and-a-half years, leaving him glad that his punishment of Hamilton was allowed to continue for more than three minutes.

“I’m grateful that the referee didn’t stop the fight in the first round because I had prepared for the fight for two or three months and I had a long layoff before that,” he explained.

“I’m glad that I had the opportunity to fight for more time and show [people] more skills.”
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‘That was awesome’: Ukrainian MMA pin-up Ekaterina Shakalova floors opponent with brutal body slam in latest win (VIDEO)

‘That was awesome’: Ukrainian MMA pin-up Ekaterina Shakalova floors opponent with brutal body slam in latest win (VIDEO)

MMA stunner Ekaterina Shakalova slammed opponent Izabela Badurek onto the canvas during an eye-catching win on a Polish MMA card on Saturday, with some fans responding by calling for the 23-year-old to be snapped up by the UFC.

Competing at the Lotos Fight Night event, Shakalova took on local rival Izabela Badurek and quickly had her opponent off her feet on her way to a fourth straight win in her burgeoning career.

Convincing the judges with her display, Shakalova won a unanimous decision on the cards at the end of a 15 minute, three-round bout.

Following Khabib Nurmagomedov’s lead at UFC Vegas 22, when the retired Russian legend streamed the main event while sat alongside promotion president Dana White, Shakalova dumped the whole bout on her Instagram to celebrate her victory. 

Improving her record to 5-1, the bantamweight is now on a hot streak since suffering defeat in her second ever outing, at WWFC 16, when she lost to Daria Chibisova via a guillotine choke submission. 

But it was her body slam that impressed fans most in the octagon.

“Who has that Ekaterina Shakalova slam? Not f*cking with [her],” said one new-found admirer on Twitter.

“That was awesome,” enthused another. “Ekaterina Shakalova has delivered on both her trips to Poland.”

Elsewhere, some have already suggested that Shakalova is on the “road to the UFC”, but little is known about the native from Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharviv.

A growing fanbase may be heartbroken to learn the grappler is already married, but that still doesn’t stop her sharing candid snaps with her thousands of Instagram followers.

The gym is one of her preferred locations, but Shakalova also likes to model for sultry snaps and show off the natural beauty of her homeland. 

“Turn your back on your opponent,” she said alongside a shot of herself throwing a rival to the floor at a tournament last year while calling herself a “grappling girl”. “That’s my style.”

Shakalova is never shy to dispense in-depth dietary advice to her online followers alongside her photos.

“Hard workouts, muscle pain, worries, fatigue – all this is nothing,” she told them, reflecting on her learning process when she finished second at a competition in 2019.

“All thanks to the support of people close to me, who inspired me and put their strength and soul into my preparation, believed in me and were with me all the time.

“[Coming second] does not mean that you need to give up and give up the fight. It means that there are mistakes and you need to correct them, prepare hard and win.”
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‘She’s such a tease’: ‘Blonde Bomber’ strips off ‘for the boys’ as Muslim opponent takes scales to toilet for 2nd weigh-in (VIDEO)

‘She’s such a tease’: ‘Blonde Bomber’ strips off ‘for the boys’ as Muslim opponent takes scales to toilet for 2nd weigh-in (VIDEO)

Saucy boxing babe Ebanie Bridges has enjoyed an eventful weigh-in as she prepares to contest the ANBF Australasian belt, stripping off to a bikini before her rival was forced to take the scales to a toilet for a second go.

While social media favorite Bridges feigned annoyance at making the bantamweight limit so easily that she could have treated herself to a pre-weight glass of water, her unfortunate opponent, 45-year-old Carol Earl, weighed in 3.4lb over the maximum.

In accordance with her Muslim faith, Earl, who initially wore a tracksuit and has come out of a three-year retirement to face Bridges for the vacant title, was allowed to take the scales to a bathroom for her second attempt to make weight.

“Of course, in respect of her religion we had to take the scales in the bathroom and get all her clothes off. She was on weight,” said excitable Aussie Bridges, sharing footage of herself showing off her tattooed body and changing into a tiny pair of white shorts in between proudly flexing her muscles. “We have a fight.”

When a Twitter critic asked whether Earl’s religion could be “getting in the way of her sport of choice” and suggested the veteran should “make a decision on which is more important”, Bridges assured them: “It’s not getting in the way.

“Just means we had to take the scales to the bathroom. She made weight. Just got in the way of her getting in her underwear in front of people.

“I don’t think that means she should choose boxing or her religion.”

Earl is a five-time champion who has described her latest shot at a title as “an opportunity that I couldn’t let pass.”

The New Zealander made her debut at the age Bridges is now, 34, and has had 42 fights.

By contrast, newcomer Bridges has had only four including her debut in 2019, winning all of them.

“Her clothes weighed 1.5kg?” laughed one fan of the weigh-in footage, referencing the high-profile ringwear catastrophe suffered by a better-known boxer last year. “She got the same tailor as Deontay Wilder?”

“She had a few layers,” confirmed Bridges.

“For your information, I didn’t want to put my shorts back on. Coach made me.”

A fight video account that shared the scenes said of the show-off: “Ebanie Bridges is about to break the internet with her weigh-in attire.”

It later added: “She’s such a little tease – even says at the end ‘here’s a little treat for the boys’.”

The fight is taking place in New South Wales on Saturday. Bridges confirmed that it will not be televised – much to the disappointment of some of her admirers.
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‘That was mad’: Uzbek MMA powerhouse breaks from choke on Brave CF card to knock out ‘disgusted’ opponent via vicious slam (VIDEO)

‘That was mad’: Uzbek MMA powerhouse breaks from choke on Brave CF card to knock out ‘disgusted’ opponent via vicious slam (VIDEO)

Beaten MMA fighter Ibrahima Mane has said he is “disgusted” after losing to Uzbek warrior Nursultan Ruziboev in a fight finish labeled “crazy” by fans, locking his opponent in a triangle choke before being lifted and knocked out.

Late replacement Mane looked to have caused 29-win Ruziboev huge problems at Brave Combat Federation 47, threatening to choke out his opponent in the first round after both fighters had made submission attempts in a quickfire epic.

Just when he could have been forgiven for capitulating, toughman Ruziboev swept Mane off the floor and slammed him backwards onto the canvas, causing the referee to rush in and wave the fight off with the floored victim apparently unconscious.

“Holy f***ing s***,” said one stunned viewer, watching the action with a little over three minutes of the first round gone at the “Asian Domination” event in Bahrain.

“Slam KO from Ruziboev. Crazy scrambles and then that huge slam when Mane had a triangle locked in. That was mad.”

Super-welterweight Ruziboev showed why he has ended almost all of his wins by submission, while Mane, who has now won eight of his 12 fights, was understandably frustrated afterwards.

“I dominated the fight standing up,” said the man who stepped in at five days’ notice after Ruziboev’s original opponent was injured, describing himself as being “very confident” and applying “big pressure in the center of the cage” during the brief-yet-memorable scrap.

“Then the opponent, on lowkick, managed to bring me to the ground. Even there, I was in a comfortable, good position.

“I started on a submission and on a triangle the guy gets up and he slams me. Suddenly I fall on my head and I lose by KO like that.

“I am disgusted and very frustrated because I was really good and I had this fight –but there it is.”
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