Can Westbrook Succeed in OKC?

1_westbrook_knicks_nsb_gettyimages-626335972

Credit image: NBA.com/thunder/gallery/Knicks

 

Russell Westbrook will be an MVP candidate at the end of the season, but will he be in contention for the NBA championship?

Westbrook has been impressive so far in the early season. People expected the Oklahoma City Thunder to have some trouble and take a step back from where they were, but nobody could expect Westbrook to play at this level. He had eight triple doubles so far in the season, with people comparing him to the great Oscar Roberson. He is averaging 30.9 PPG, 11.3 APG and 10.3 RPG and have carried the Thunder to an 11-8 record. The question is can he keep this up?

View post on imgur.com

Last night in a competitive game , Westbrook led the Thunder in a win against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks would control the game and make it a close game in the First and Second Quarter. By the end of the Second Quarter and on, the Thunder would turn the tables and control the lead the rest of the game. Westbrook would finish the game with 27 points, 14 assists and 18 rebounds. He had help from Enes Kanter who provided 27 points and 10 rebounds coming off the bench and Steven Adams with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Westbrook has been impressive and is a superstar in the NBA, but he’s going to need more to make it in the playoffs. The Western Conference is stacked, with teams like the Lakers or the Kings wanting to get into the playoffs this year. Their is also teams like the Trailblazers, Grizzles and the Rockets having a talented roster to compete for the playoff picture as well.

Westbrook is going to have to play at this level consistently, especially if his team is not going to back him up. Last night was a good night for Kanter and Adams, but more players on the team have to step up and become consistent as well. The NBA season is very long and grueling. If the Thunder gets into the playoffs and even become considered championship contenders, Westbrook will have to play at this extraordinary level and players need to continue to step up. On a positive note, NBA fans are witnessing something special watching Westbrook compete at this level.

Whittaker Makes His Case

a79ehaj0gcjcomd

Whittaker steals the show this past weekend.

Robert Whittaker made his case this past weekend as a potential title contender for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Whittaker displayed a show stealing performance, stopping Derek Brunson in a incredible first round by Technical Knockout. He came into the Octagon looking focused and had to survive an early flurry by Brunson. He would take big shots and looked as if he was going to be stopped himself. Whittaker would then comeback, stopping Brunson from getting a takedown and landing powerful strikes himself in the process.

View post on imgur.com

View post on imgur.com

Brunson would get to careless and Whittaker would land a powerful left hook that rocked Brunson. Brunson would never fully recover and Whittaker would pressure Brunson, taking out Brunson with a straight punch and following it up with a head kick. Brunson would try to survive, but Whittaker was all over him and finished him on the ground. Whittaker made a statement and earned the attention of the UFC. After this performance, he deserves a top five opponent and moves closer to title contention. He already called for a potential Gegard Mousasi fight, who is ranked number five. At twenty five years old, Whittaker future looks bright and he put the world on notice this past weekend.

 

Are the Raiders Super Bowl Contenders?

8e2470a18e6ac4c354737b8a2a79019b

Is it time to start thinking about another championship coming to Oakland?

The Oakland Raiders are on a roll in the NFL and have become arguably the most improved team of the season. Led by Quarterback and MVP candidate Derek Carr, the Raiders are 9-2 and are at the top of the AFC West. They are also tied with the New England Patriots as the best team in the AFC. So how did they get so good?

Derek Carr is making the argument as one of the best Quarterbacks under thirty years old. He has thrown for 22 touchdowns for the season and has only threw 5 interceptions for the year so far. He is also on track to possible have over four thousand passing yards for the season. He has shown to also be a clutch player by winning the majority of close games heading into the fourth quarter.

View post on imgur.com

Carr also has offensive weapons like Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, with Crabtree having 6 touchdowns and 711 yards. The Oakland raiders offensive line has also improved, giving Carr more opportunities to make a play. The only downside for the Raiders is their defense, which is slowly starting to improve. Their defense needs to improve, but the raiders having Khalil Mack has been the step in the right direction. Mack is a big time defensive player and will only continue to get better.

View post on imgur.com

The Raiders have a serious chance to potential be playing in the Super Bowl this season. Things can still change before the season is over, but critics can no longer doubt this team. Other than their great offense, they also have a mentality to win at all cost. This mentality the Raiders have, is what makes this team so dangerous. Their aren’t many teams in the NFL that has the same mentality, which has helped become one of the best teams in clutch moments. As of now, the only team standing in their way of the playoffs is the Patriots. Although the Patriots defense is not the same as they were last season, which with the Raiders offense can be a disadvantage. The Raiders chances to be in the Super Bowl are legit and with how they are playing the could possibly give the Bay another championship team.

Miesha Tate Retires in MSG

ufc-205-tate-v-pennington

Miesha Tate may have had her last fight this past weekend.

The former champion Miehsa Tate loss to Raquel Pennington by Unanimous  Decision. In the fight it didn’t look like the same Miesha Tate, that fans had come to know. She couldn’t really get herself going in the fight and didn’t seem to mentally be in the fight as well. After the fight, she announced that it was it for her. If this is indeed true at thirty years old, she will be missed and has had a hall of fame career.

Tate is arguably the toughest female fighter to ever fight in the UFC and maybe the toughest UFC fighter to fight in the UFC ever. She is known for being able to take a lot of punishment in a fight and still come back to beat her opponents. Always trying to get better, she never became complacent. She also is responsible for helping get female fighters on the platform they are now in the UFC and in MMA. Her rivalry with Ronda Rousey, was legendary and broke barriers for females competitors.

View post on imgur.com

Her best moment was this year, when she would beat Holly Holm for the Woman Bantamweight Championship in classic Miesha Tate fashion. She was getting beat in the fight with Holm, with Holm just minutes away from retaining her championship.  In the last round, she would get the back of Holm and put her in the rear naked choke to submit her. It showed the toughness and the heart of Tate to not give up, even if it seems impossible to win. Miesha Tate will go down as a legend and an influence on all fighters to never give up. She will be in the UFC Hall of Fame and their may never be another fighter like her.

Mystic Mac Makes History

000d29c8-800

Conor McGregor continues to do the impossible.

This past weekend on a historic night in Madison Square Garden, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor would close the show in impressive fashion. In his entrance he was able to capture the attention of everyone with his walk out song “I get money” by 50 Cent. As lyrics in the song would say “I run New York” as he would walk to the Octagon, it spoke to the confidence and courage of McGregor. When Eddie Alvarez came to the Octagon, it was interesting to see that McGregor looked bigger then Alvarez.

As soon as the fight had started, it was just pure domination on the part of McGregor. His accuracy, power and speed was just to much for Alvarez. Alvarez looked stunned by the power of McGregor after the first knockdown. He would knock him down three times in the very first round, with his powerful left hand.  Alvarez would try to get a leg lock off his back, but McGregor showed excellent defense.

View post on imgur.com

By the second round, McGregor would finish Alvarez.  At one point he would put his hands behind his back, taunting Alvarez. Alvarez would try to comeback and would land some powerful shots on McGregor, but McGregor wasn’t fazed. He would get Alvarez near the center of the Octagon and land a four punch left-right combination to knockout Alvarez.  The last two punches, McGregor would catch Alvarez on his way down.

McGregor would cement his legacy as one of the best of all time. At twenty eight years old, he has become the first person to win two UFC belts simultaneously.   He also would help set a new attendance gate with over 17 million dollars. After a impressive performance, the world wants to know what will he do next?

UFC 205 prediction: Yoel Romero vs Chris Weidman

weidman

Can Weidman bounce back from a loss?

At UFC 205 middleweights Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero and Chris “The All-American” Weidman will face off, in a fight that can determine the next challenger for the UFC Middleweight Championship.  Both fighter are on the verge for a shot at the Middleweight Championship, if either fighter win it will be hard to dispute being the next challenger. At thirty nine years old  Romero wants to finally get his chance at the belt, as time is his worst enemy. The former champion Weidman wants to get back the  championship, he feels still belongs to him. What also makes UFC 205 special for Weidman is that it will be in his hometown of New York.

Yoel Romero is a special kind of athlete. Even at thirty nine years of age, he has one of the best physique in the UFC. He is a Silver Medal winner of the 2000 Olympics in wrestling. With his wrestling ability, he can take opponents down and avoid being taken down as well.  He also has dangerous knockout power, that can put anyone to sleep. He is on a seven fight win streak and has the longest win streak in the Middleweight Division today.  If he beats Weidman in his hometown, he will send a message as the next in line for the championship.

Chris Weidman is of the best Middleweights on the planet. He can do it all in the octagon, whether it’s striking on the feet or fighting on the ground. He also has a decorated wrestling background, being a two time Division 1 All-American. He has also has evolved into a good striker and can submit his opponents on the ground. Having shocked the world beating one of the greatest champions in UFC history Anderson Silva, he would be a dominate champion until his loss to Luke Rockhold. By beating Romero, he can get back to dominating the Middleweight Division once again.  Weidman is responsible for helping MMA become legalized in New York and its only right that he is apart of the debut of the UFC i n Madison Square Garden.

Prediction: This is going to be a great fight and something that will have an effect on the Middleweight Division. Both fighters are so close to a title shot, but I believe  Weidman will be victorious.  I believe he will take the fight to Romero early and try to dominate Weidman. Weidman has great cardio, which has been Romero biggest weakness and can make Romero tire himself out. Weidman will try to get in the clinch against the cage and make Romero use his energy. Although if Romero lands a clean punch, he can knock Weidman out. On this night and in  his hometown, I don’t see Weidman losing this fight.

Chris Weidman by Unanimous Decision

 

Money Talks

01_28mcgregormoney_2287029a

Conor McGregor has become one of the most interesting man in all of sports.

Conor McGregor has become a box office draw for the UFC and has set records in attendance and Pay Per View buys as well.  It’s not just because of how amazing he is as a fighter, but also his ability in trash talking. Each fight he has, he talks trash about the opponent he is facing or how he is the major attraction of any fight card he is on. He makes fans want to listen to what he has to says and see how he backs it up when he fights. McGregor has become a self promoter, which helped grow his brand and transcend the sport of MMA. People that aren’t even familiar with MMA, know of McGregor just because of how good of a trash talker he is. Its what Muhammad Ali did in his career and Mcgregor has also become an icon because of it as well.

The question is what about everyone else?

Other fighters feel Conor McGregor trash talking is unnecessary and feel their only responsibility is to fight. It’s just not that simple. For fans to become invested in a fighter and watching them fight, it has to be more than just skill. Fans need to care about the fighter and what they are fighting for.  For the average man or woman, they don’t want to spend sixty dollars or seventy dollars(Hi Definition) on watching people fight that they don’t care about. That also goes for paying over one hundred dollars to go see a fight live they don’t care about. With so many entertaining attractions like sports, television or technology, we need to feel like the fight is must see.

Their are amazing fighters in the UFC, with many having incredible stories and personalities that we don’t get to see or hear. There are also many talented and intelligent fighters that could be superstars in their own right. This week on the legendary Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharp show on Fox Sports 1 called Undisputed, they had former Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate and Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic. Skip Bayless would ask them about Conor McGregor trash talking and why they don’t do it. They both respectively gave credit to McGregor as being the best and said they couldn’t do what he can. McGregor is a very talented trash talker, but other fighter don’t have to be just like him to help promote themselves and their fight.

Yesterday on the  Undisputed, they had current Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes as a guest. She was promoting her upcoming fight with Ronda Rousey and was asked a question about McGregor trash talking. She talked about how it was disrespectful and unnecessary, what many fighters have said in the past. Then when she was asked about her fight with Ronda Rousey, she did the unexpected and talked some trash. Bayless asked how she feels the fight would go and if it would go the same way as her last fight, which Nunes said I believe I will beat her and knock her out.

This made the crowd, Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharp excited and Nunes feeling hyped herself because of the reaction said she will do it in the first round. That is self promoting and creates excitement to want to see what she will say and do next. It makes you want to see how Ronda will respond and if Nunes can deliver on what she said.  Fighters don’t have to be McGregor, but talking about your fight and making fans feel like we need to spend money  is important. It creates more interest then just seeing two people fight, brings more attendance and pay per view buys and makes a fighter more intriguing to pay attention to.

Speaking is important. When UFC fighters after they win get that post fight interview, that is an example of a moment to promote yourself. Nobody wants to hear the generic I will fight anyone speech, what we want to hear is who do you want to fight next. By simply saying I want to fight blank, because I know I can beat this person fans would want to see that fight happen. These are opportunities to make a fighter stand out, make fans want to see what you will say or do next and help the fighter create opportunities by themselves, instead of waiting for someone to promote them.

UFC fighters don’t need to talk like McGregor, but they should look at what he is accomplishing. He makes people interested in whatever he is doing , in the process growing his brand and creating bigger opportunities by himself. Amanda Nunes just by being honest with how she feels and expressing her abilities in the octagon, made people even more excited for a fight that won’t happen until late December. It’s entertaining and creates interest, which fans love. Fans want to see someone they care about succeed, in the octagon and outside of it. Gaining endorsements, appearing on television or making more money, can be just from talking about your next fight.

Who is to say Nunes just from hyping her fight, has created more fans that didn’t follow the sport or made people want to know more about Amanda Nunes. What they would find is that Nunes is a leader and a hero to the LGBT community, because of the obstacles she has overcame and the fact she is the first openly gay champion the UFC ever had. This is an organization that has been dominated by men for years and up until the last year gave woman little opportunity to shine. Nunes now can be a hero to not only the LGBT community, but to woman who would want to see her be successful. Maybe the question shouldn’t be why can’t you talk like Conor McGregor, but why can’t you express how you feel and why we should be invested in you, like Conor McGregor does.

UFC 205 Prediction: Woodley vs Thompson

woodley_thompson

Can Woodley keep the Championship?

The Co-main event of UFC 205 is also an interesting fight between Stephen”Wonderboy” Thompson and the Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley. This fight is just as unpredictable as McGregor vs Alvarez, as it hard to predict who can win. Both have different styles that can factor into this fight, which makes this fight exciting.

View post on imgur.com

Stephen Thompson has arguably the one of best striking ability in the UFC. At thirty three years old, he is at the prime of his career and has been spectacular in his recent fights. Training with his father Ray Thompson, he was introduced to karate, kickboxing and jujutsu at a very young age.  He has amazing kickboxing skills as he has Knockout victories over people like Jake Ellenberger(the video above).  What also makes him dangerous is his reach advantage over the other welterweights in the division. With his movement and his reach it makes it hard for his opponents to hit him, while he is able to hurt them. Thompson has been on a seven fight win streak, dominating top tier welterweights like Johny Hendricks and Rory McDonald.  Thompson is a favorite against Tyron Woodley and many feel Woodley will be another victim to a highlight reel knockout.

 

View post on imgur.com

Tyron Woodley is an incredible athlete, who can do it all in the octagon.  He has a decorated background in wrestling being a Big-12 Champion,  a two time D-1 College All American and has over 100 victories in college. He also has devastating knockout power and if he takes his opponent down, he can submit  or knockout his opponent on the ground. With the threat of his wrestling and his one punch knockout power, he is a nightmare for any opponent trying to prepare what Woodley will do.   He proved that when he knocked out then champion Robbie Lawler to win the Welterweight Champion. He teased the takedown, then landed a big right hand to knockout Lawler (who many felt couldn’t be beaten).

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Woodley has overcome adversity both in his professional MMA career and in his life to become the Welterweight Champion. He has spoke about how he came from struggling trying to make ends meet to how he is the co-main event of the UFC debut in Madison Square Garden.  He is the Welterweight Champion, but he is an underdog against the challenger Stephen Thompson. He feels disrespected being labelled an underdog and not getting the recognition for all he has accomplished. This Saturday he is looking to finish Thompson and cement his legacy as the best.

Prediction:  This fight is just as unpredictable as the main event. Both men have the ability to knock each other out and can be dangerous on the ground. Although Woodley has the wrestling ability, Thompson has been able to defend being taken down by his opponents. If Woodley can’t take Thompson down, Thompson will have the advantage in striking. It’s a hard fight to predict, but I think Woodley will be victorious this Saturday. He has to pressure Thompson in the very first round and not let Thompson get any space.

If Thompson can keep Woodley at a distance by movement and his reach, it will give Thompson an immediate advantage. Woodley can’t afford to give Thompson space, he has to take the fight to Thompson and put him against the cage. If he can pressure Thompson against the cage, he can use his explosive striking and try to knock Thompson out. He also can use his wrestling with Thompson against the cage and take the fight to the ground. Woodley has more options then Thompson in winning this fight, but all Thompson needs is a little space to take Woodley out. I believe Woodley can get it done by knockout and will cement his legacy in the worlds most famous arena.

 

 

UFC 205 Prediction: McGregor vs Alvarez

ufc-205-alvarez-vs-mcgregor-horizontal-poster

 

The historic night in MMA and UFC is almost here!

The UFC is making its debut in Madison Square Garden, after years of trying to get MMA sanctioned in New York. Dana White had said in the past that their first fight card in New York was going to be big, but this card may be the best the UFC has ever put together. From the prelims to the main event, there are amazing fights to take place this Saturday.  One fight in particular that has fans excited is the main event of “The Notorious” Conor McGregor vs “The Underground King” Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Championship.

View post on imgur.com

Eddie Alvarez is a beast. Being a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania he has took the UFC Lightweight Division by storm.  He takes the fight to whoever he fights and can keep up the same pace for five rounds. He has earned the moniker “The Underground King”, having working in other organizations like Bellator fighting his way up the ranks. When he came to the UFC, many speculated if he could live up to the hype. He would lose his debut fight in the UFC to Donald Cerrone, with people doubting if he is the real deal.

He would go on a two fight win streak, beating top contenders Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez. He would then win the UFC Lightweight Championship in decisive fashion beating Rafael Dos Anjos, in a fight many felt he would lose. Alvarez has worked his way to the top of the division and this Saturday he faces the biggest challenge of his career in Conor McGregor. Alvarez has been outspoken about his dislike and has said McGregor hasn’t really dealt with adversity or put himself in harm’s way. He wants to finish McGregor and take away the mystique the fans have for  McGregor. If indeed Alvarez wins, this would go down as the biggest win of his career and he would simply be the king of the Lightweight Division.

View post on imgur.com

Conor McGregor is a special kind of fighter. Born in Dublin, Ireland he has become an icon in the UFC. There are only a few fighters in our lifetime, that has the same mystique has him like Floyd Mayweather or even the late great Muhammad Ali. He has a unique ability to promote himself as the best trash talker in the business and has backed it up as well. During his time in the UFC, he has broke the attendance gate, the Pay Per View buyrate and has become a superstar in pop culture as well. He is the biggest star in the UFC, which makes sense for him to headline the UFC’s first fight in Madison Square Garden.

Conor McGregor has a unique standup ability and has dangerous power in his left hand. Most of his wins have come from knockout or technical knockout, with him winning the Featherweight Championship by knocking Jose Aldo in fourteen seconds. Jose Aldo was at one point the pound for pound best fighter in the UFC and for McGregor to finish him in seconds spoke the greatness of McGregor. He also shown his heart, after losing for the first time in the UFC to Nate Diaz at Welterweight. This was  McGregor first fight at Welterweight and was a fight on short notice as he was supposed to fight then champion Rafael Dos Anjos for the Lightweight Championship.

Being a competitor and risk taker, he decided he wanted to fight Diaz again at Welterweight five months later. He would knock Diaz down three times in the first two rounds, but would get gassed by round three. He would show his heart and come back in the fourth and fifth round to get the win by Majority Decision. McGregor wants to cement his legacy as the best ever and become a two division champion this Saturday.  Alvarez is not an easy opponent and maybe his toughest opponent he has ever faced. McGregor is not fazed and has even predicted he would win in the first round by knockout.

Prediction: This fight is hard to call and that’s what makes this the most interesting fight of the card. Alvarez will try to impose his will like he does in all his fights and can keep up the pressure for five rounds. On the other hand, McGregor has found a way to overcome the odds and win in the biggest moments. Alvarez does have a good wrestling background, which people fear will be McGregor biggest threat. People bring up how Chad Mendes was able to takedown McGregor, but that fight was also on short notice. McGregor has had time to work on defending the takedown between the Mendes fight and now, especially if that’s the gameplan  Alvarez plans to apply. Alvarez also has to be cautious not to underestimate the striking ability of McGregor who has a reach advantage and is good at using the reach advantage well. This fight is unpredictable and it’s hard to say which fighter will win. That is what makes this fight so interesting. With the championship on the line and history that can be made on an already historic night, this is what makes the UFC so exciting. I have McGregor winning by TKO and making history as a two division champion.

 

Rafael Dos Anjos vs Tony Ferguson Preview

This Saturday  the UFC has a fight that can impact who gets the next shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship. Rafael Dos Anjos (Ranked #2 in the Lightweight Division) vs Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (Ranked #3 in the Lightweight Division) will headline the UFC Fight Night Card on Fox Sports 1. Both fighters have  explosive standup ability and can submit opponents on the ground respectively. They are also hungry for an opportunity for the Lightweight Championship, that will be defend the following week in Madison Square Garden at UFC 205.

View post on imgur.com

Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson has been on a roll  in the Lightweight division, going on an eight fight win streak. Always outspoken, he feels he is the best in the division and deserves a shot at the Lightweight Championship. He has great standup ability and can be creative with his striking as well.  He even has a excellent ground game, as he can take opponents out with a rear naked choke or his favorite a D’Arce  Choke(which he does in the video above). His last win back in July against  Lando Vannata, has also shows the heart and competitor he has. In the fight he got hurt early, but railed back to submit  Vannata by D’Arce Choke as well. If Ferguson beats Rafael Dos Anjos  this Saturday, he may finally get the opportunity he feels he deserves.

View post on imgur.com

Rafael Dos Anjos is the former Lightweight Champion. He has been at the top of the Lightweight Division and was considered the scariest fighter in the division.  He was on a roll himself, putting on excellent performances like the fight he had with Donald Cerrone. With his great standup ability, the power to K.O his opponents and his underrated ground ability, people wondered if anyone can beat him.  That came to a halt when he got stopped by the new Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez, by TKO in the first round. Dos Anjos wants to get the Championship back and wants to be at the top of the division again.

The Winner: Both fighters are close to a shot at the Lightweight Championship and has the ability to finish the other. It’s just hard to not go with the former Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos. If he pressures Tony Ferguson early and tires out Ferguson against the cage, I believe he can win by decision. I do not believe he can K.O Ferguson, because of the heart Ferguson has to not get beaten. Dos Anjos needs to go five rounds like he did when, he beat Anthony Pettis to become the Lightweight Champion.  Dos Anjos has excellent ground work to avoid being submitted by Ferguson and has gone a full five round fight, which Ferguson has not.

Rafael Dos Anjos wins by Unanimous Decision