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Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya defeats Vettori to retain UFC middleweight title

 

Israel Adesanya successfully defended his middleweight Ultimate Fighting Championship title on Sunday morning, beating Italian Marvin Vettori in the main event of UFC 263 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Adesanya put up a dominant display over Vettori, winning 50-45 on all of the judges cards.

Adesanya and Vettori first did battle in 2018, with the Nigerian winning via a split decision in just his second trip to the Octagon.

The win is Adesanya’s third title defence after losing to Jan Blachowicz in a bid to add the light heavyweight title to his laurels.

Vettori believed he won his 2018 clash with Adesanya and never stopped calling for a rematch with the man who would go on to become UFC middleweight champion.

He got his rematch on Sunday in the main event of UFC 263 and came up empty, with Adesanya taking a clear decision victory in Arizona.

Adesanya showed improvements on his ground work as he expertly untangled himself from all of Vettori’s takedowns.

Renowned as one of the best strikers in the division, the 31-year-old landed several leg shots and jabs as he dimmed Vettori’s dream of becoming the first Italian UFC champion.

Vettori had only a few successful moments in the fight, scoring with a handful of takedowns, but Adesanya showcased improved grappling skills as he escaped back to his feet every time, including spinning out of a rear-naked choke attempt to end up in top position. Outside of those fleeting moments for Vettori, the fight was all Adesanya’s as he worked Vettori over with a steady diet of leg kicks.

In the end, Adesanya took every round on all three official scorecards, winning by scores of 50-45 across the board.

Moreno dethrones Figueiredo

The co-main event was another title fight, and Brandon Moreno took his chance dethroning Deiveson Figueiredo as the flyweight king by submission in the third round of their title fight to become Mexico’s first UFC champion.

Moreno dominated the first round, dropping the champion and landing several heavy punches and leg kicks.

But Figueiredo asserted his authority in the second round with an early takedown but Moreno handled his time on the ground and got his own take down.

Their first fight had ended in a draw but Moreno ensured he got the job done in the second round, this time around.

Maia vs Muhammad

In the welterweight category, Belal Muhammad secured the 10th win of his UFC career with a unanimous decision win over 43-year-old Demian Maia (30-27, 29- 28, 29-28).

Maia attacked Muhammad’s legs in all three rounds, recording just one successful take down.

The win takes Muhammad to ninth in the welterweight ranking.

Edwards vs Diaz

Undefeated since his 2015 loss to Nigerian Kamaru Usman, Leon Edwards beat Nate Diaz in the “Battle of The Southpaw” in a fight rated as one of the top performance of the day, winning 49-46, 49-46, 49-46 on all of the judges card.

An elbow to the face in the third round after a successful take-down by Edwards left American Diaz bloodied.

Edwards landed over 65 per cent of his significant shots and successfully achieved four take-down attempts.

Diaz gave Edwards a late scare in the fifth round after landing two devastating punches with 50 seconds to go but the Brit held on for the victory.

The win takes Edwards closer to a rematch with Usman.

In other prelims, Pannie Kianzad defeated Alexis Davis via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28); Lauren Murphy beat Joanne Calderwood via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29); Brad Riddell triumphed over Drew Dober through a unanimous decision (29-28 x3) and Eryk Anders beat Darren Stewart via unanimous decision (29-27 x2, 29-28).

News Sports

EURO 2020: Eriksen stable after collapsing on the pitch – Danish FA

 

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen remained in hospital but is in a “stable” condition after collapsing in his country’s  Euro 2020 game against Finland on Saturday, the Danish Football Union (DBU) said Sunday.

“This morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his teammates. His condition is stable, and he continues to be hospitalized for further examination,” the football body said in a post to Twitter.

DBU also said that the team and staff had “received crisis assistance and will continue to be there for each other after yesterday’s incident.”

The Inter Milan star suddenly collapsed in the 43rd minute of Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game against Finland, lying motionless as medical personnel administered CPR.

He laid on the field for about 15 minutes before being carried off the pitch and rushed to the hospital.

The game was temporarily suspended awaiting confirmation that Eriksen was alright but after reports that the player was in a stable condition and awake, the game was resumed later in the evening, ending in a 1-0 win for underdogs Finland.

A Sunday press conference with the DBU was cancelled in the morning and the team’s scheduled training session has also been postponed indefinitely, broadcaster TV2 reported.

AFP

News Sports

Algeria become first African team to record 27-match unbeaten run

Captain Riyad Mahrez scored as Algeria defeated Tunisia 2-0 in an international friendly this weekend to create a record 27-match unbeaten run by an African national team.

An Ivory Coast side that included Yaya and Kolo Toure and Didier Drogba set a 26-match benchmark in 2013, and Algeria began their remarkable run by winning 4-1 away to Togo five years later.

Popularly known as the Desert Foxes, the north Africans set the record by winning 20 matches, drawing seven, scoring 58 goals and conceding 17. 

They faced 24 opponents from Africa plus Mexico, Colombia and Qatar, played nine matches at home, six away and 12 at neutral venues.  

Facing Tunisia away was a huge challenge as reigning African champions Algeria sought to overtake the mark set by the Ivorian ‘golden generation’.

The Tunisians are ranked second in Africa, two places above Algeria, had home advantage and took a 12-match unbeaten run into the north African showdown.

But Algerian fears that they might trip at the final hurdle were soon allayed as Qatar-based Baghdad Bounedjah and Manchester City winger Mahrez scored within 28 minutes of the kickoff. 

Rattled after conceding twice, there was no way back for the hosts against an Algerian defence marshalled by Aissa Mandi and Djamel Benlamri.

The centre-backs were among eight starters in Rades who also began the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final against Senegal in Cairo, which Algeria won 1-0 through a Bounedjah goal.

AC Milan midfielder Ismail Bennacer missed the wins over Mauritania, Mali and Tunisia this month due to a foot injury that required surgery.

Right-back Mehdi Zeffane and midfielder Adlene Guedioura were the other absentees and Youcef Atal, Ramiz Zerrouki and Haris Belkebla took their places.

Guedioura did come off the bench during the second half only to be red-carded two minutes from the end of regular time.

The line-up was composed exclusively of Algerians based in Europe and the Middle East, including three playing in France and two in Qatar while Mahrez the sole English Premier League representative.

Having broken the African record, coach Djamel Belmadi can now adjust his sights to the 36-match world mark set by then world champions Brazil in 1996.

Algeria are scheduled to play back-to-back 2022 World Cup qualifiers in September, October and November in a group that includes Djibouti, Burkina Faso and Niger.

The toughest of the six fixtures should be the visit to Burkina Faso, who defeated Algeria the last time the countries met in a World Cup qualifier in Ouagadougou. 

Algeria will then defend the Cup of Nations title from January 9 in Cameroon, where they hope to become the first country since Egypt in 2010 to successfully defend the title.

News Sports

Cameroon vs Nigeria: All you need to know about Tuesday’s friendly, match details, TV schedule

 

Nigeria will play Cameroon in a second friendly game this Tuesday.

 

It is the second time both teams will face each other within four days, with the Indomitable Lions winning 1-0 last Friday.

 

André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who stars for relegated English side Fulham, scored the winner in the first half.

 

The matches have been put together to help the Super Eagles prepare for their 2022 World Cup qualification games against Liberia and Cape Verde in September.

 

This will be Nigeria’s fourth international game in 2021. Their first two outings have been qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations.

 

Today’s international friendly will be played at the Wiener Neustadt Stadium in Vienna and has been scheduled for 17:00 (West African Time).

 

It will not be aired on television as this is considered a practice match and will be played behind closed doors.

News Sports

Cameroon vs Nigeria: Rohr confirms players that will start Tuesday’s friendly

Head coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has confirmed that the trio of Ahmed Musa, Francis Uzoho and Valentine Ozornwafor will start against Cameroon in Tuesday’s international friendly.

Rohr stated this after the team trained on Monday at Wiener Neustadt Stadium.

He was answering questions on the changes he will make, as Nigeria faces the Indomitable Lions for the second time within four days.

Musa came on in the second half to replace Kelechi Iheanacho in the first game, while Uzoho was left out for Maduka Okoye.

“There will be some changes in the team, Francis Uzoho will be in goal, (Ahmed) Musa will start because he is fit, we lost Troost-Ekong so Valentine (Ozornwafor) will come in for the first time.

“There matches are made to test some players who have not played so much and also to have new organization maybe try something different and we want to win it also because we have never won in Austria after four games,” Rohr told the Super Eagles media.

News Sports

Serena Williams offers support to Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams offered her support to Naomi Osaka on Monday after the Japanese player’s decision to withdraw from the French Open in the wake of her boycott of press conferences.

In a statement on Monday, Osaka said she did not want her stance to become a distraction and said that she had been dealing with mental health issues since 2018.

Williams, 39, was inevitably asked for her reaction to Osaka’s decision following her first-round win over Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.

“Honestly I just found out before I walked into the press conference. So, that’s the extent of it right now for me,” Williams told reporters.

Pushed for her opinion on Osaka’s claim last week that post-match media conferences were damaging her mental well-being, and Monday’s unexpected development, Williams said: “The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi.

“I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions.

“We have different personalities, and people are different.

“Not everyone is the same. I’m thick (skinned). Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently. 

“You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can, and that’s the only thing I can say. I think she’s doing the best that she can.”

Williams said it was important for players to have someone to use as a “sounding board” in tough times.

“You have to be able to make an effort and say, I need help with A, B, C and D, and talk to someone,” she said.

“Whether it’s someone at the WTA or whether it’s someone in your life. Maybe it’s someone that you just talk to on a weekly basis. I’ve been in that position, too.

“I’ve definitely had opportunities to talk to people, kind of get things off my chest that I can’t necessarily talk to anyone in my family or anyone that I know.”

News Sports

COVID-19: AFCON draw in Cameroon postponed

 

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations draw, scheduled for Yaounde on June 25, has been postponed due to Covid-19, the Confederation of African Football confirmed on Monday.

A CAF official said the delay of the ceremony to an undecided date was due to “logistical reasons related to Covid-19”.

The seeded draw will create six groups of four teams with the winners and runners-up in each plus the four best third-place sides advancing to the knockout second round.

Among the 23 countries who have qualified are defending champions Algeria, hosts Cameroon and record seven-time title-holders Egypt.

Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia and Zimbabwe have also secured places.

The last place will be filled by Sierra Leone or Benin, who meet between June 12-14 after a dispute over coronavirus tests prevented the qualifier from taking place last March.

Benin refused to play in Freetown because five of their stars were barred having tested positive for Covid-19 in tests conducted by Sierra Leone medical officials.

All five tested negative for the illness before travelling to Freetown and when they returned to their clubs in Europe.

The Cup of Nations was originally set for January and February this year only to be postponed because of the pandemic.

News Sports

Nigerian footballer drowns in Belarus

 

Twenty-year-old Nigerian footballer, Kelvin Odenigbo who plied his trade at FC Vitebsk in Belarus has drowned in Lake Beloye.

The incident occurred on June 5, 2021 on the Lake Beloye in the area of ​​the tourist base “Verasy”

OSVOD employees found the drowned Kelvin Odenigbo in the Lake.

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News Sports

Knee Injury: Federer says ‘au revoir’ to French Open

Swiss tennis legend, Roger Federer has withdrawn from the French Open citing his concerns over his knee.

Federer beat Dominik Koepfer in a thrilling third-round match on Saturday night, winning 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5.

The former world No.1 was due to play Matteo Berrettini in the fourth round on Monday.

But the 39-year-old has now withdrawn from the tournament as he is keen to protect his knee following surgery.

‘After discussions with my team, I decided that I should withdraw from the French Open today,’ Federer said in a statement on Sunday.

‘After two knee operations and more than a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and not rush back into competition.’

The tournament director for the French Open, Guy Forget, responded: ‘The Roland-Garros tournament is sorry about the withdrawal of Roger Federer, who put up an incredible fight last night.

‘We were delighted to see Roger back in Paris, where he played three high-level matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season.’