UFC

UFC 268: Usman trumps Covington in rematch to retain title

By Sports Desk November 07, 2021

Kamaru Usman retained his welterweight championship by unanimous decision over Colby Covington in the second instalment of their rivalry at UFC 268.

Usman and Covington went head-to-head in a rematch after the former won via a fifth-round TKO at UFC 245 in December 2019.

It was the same result at Madison Square Garden, where champion Usman outlasted Covington for his 15th consecutive victory – the second longest streak in UFC history behind Anderson Silva (16) – in New York on Saturday.

Usman almost finished Covington in the second round with some huge left strikes, though the latter rallied and hurt the titleholder courtesy of a body kick in the fourth.

Ultimately, Usman (20-1) produced enough to remain the dominant force in the welterweight division.

"There was a lot of trash talk, a lot of bad blood," Usman said in the octagon after the fight.

"I'm sure there's going to still be some after tonight. But this guy is a tough son of a b****. He's tough as s***."

"He's tough -- he's super tough," Usman said. "I wanted to get crazy and get him out of there. But that's not what the best do."

Covington (16-3) added: "Love me or hate me, I'm just getting started. You haven't seen the best of Colby 'Chaos' Covington yet."

In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas (11-4) successfully defended her strawweight crown thanks to a split decision against Zhang Weili (21-3).

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    Jimmy Butler has assured he will sustain intensity against the Boston Celtics, following the Miami Heat's 118-107 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday.

    Butler was at his best for the Heat, finishing with 41 points on 12-of-19 shooting, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.

    He also took 18 free-throw attempts and only two three-point attempts in comparison, attacking the basket at almost every opportunity.

    Against a Boston team that can be just as physical and aggressive as the Heat, the six-time All-Star said he will thrive on it, but the individual stat line does not matter in relation to wins and losses.

    "I like physicality. I want to run into people and see who falls down first, who's going to quit first," Butler said. at the post-game news conference.

    "I think that's the style of basketball I like to play and so do they. I was zero-for-two from three tonight, I want to go zero-for-zero next game, because I just want to keep banging into people.

    "I think I speak for my teammates, the Miami Heat organisation when I say I know what I'm capable of. I don't do this, score 40 points, I play the way that I play to win, by all means necessary. It just so happens that I scored 40, but if I score 40 and lose I'm gonna be really pissed off.

    "I have so much trust in my teammates and I will continue to play that way. I've been a quote unquote scorer at other points in my career, and it didn't work out too well for me, so I'm glad that I have the guys that I have around me and with me."

    Down by eight at the start of the second half, the Heat turned it around with a 39-14 third quarter in which they were able to get six steals and force the Celtics to none-of-seven from the perimeter.

    Butler's 17 points and three steals as the Heat turned Game 1 around were critical, but he asserted that the team knew they needed to dial up the intensity on the defensive end before coach Erik Spoelstra even addressed them.

    "It's crazy because he [Spoelstra] didn't have to say too much," he said. "We already knew what we were doing wrong – turning the ball over, not getting back. We're at home, we've got to play better basketball, as a team. We did that, went on a little run, but this was just a win.

    "I've said it all season long, whenever we let our defense dictate our offense, we're a much better team – we get stops, get into the open floor, we whip that ball around to our shooters and that's the style of basketball we call Miami Heat basketball. Gritty, dog-like, worried about getting stops instead of worried about getting buckets."

  • Giro d'Italia: Demare clinches second straight stage win in photo finish Giro d'Italia: Demare clinches second straight stage win in photo finish

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    Demare pipped Caleb Ewan in a thrilling sprint finish to stage six on Thursday, just nudging the tip of his wheel ahead of the Lotto Soudal rider as they crossed the finish line in Scalea.

    At the end of a relatively flat route, Mark Cavendish made a late push, but was unable to latch onto the front two at the end.

    "It was a really calm stage and everybody had fresh legs. Yesterday it was a collective job and today we had everyone as well," said Groupama-FDJ rider Demare.

    "At each roundabout we were perfectly placed. Around 500m, Jacopo [Guarnieri] did a great job and I got myself into the wheels. The sprint lasted about 100m and I managed to get there.

    "I thought maybe it was me that was second until we saw the photo."

    It was a frustrating day for Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), meanwhile.

    The Colombian had expressed frustration with his bike after stage five, saying "what a s*** bike", and this time he collided with Alberto Dainese and Cees Bol on the home stretch.

    Gaviria was deemed to be at fault and relegated, so he has dropped from third to fifth in the points classification, losing 13 points.

    There was little change in the general classification standings, with Juan Pedro Lopez keeping hold of the maglia rosa, though his lead was cut by a second.

    DEMARE MAKING FRANCE PROUD

    That was Demare's seventh stage win at the Giro d'Italia, meaning he has now won more stages in the Grand Tour event than any other French rider.

    According to the Giro's official data, across the 13-second sprint, Demare averaged a remarkable 68.4 km/h speed, while maxing out at 1,410 watts of power.

    STAGE RESULT  

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 5:02:33
    2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) same time  
    3. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) same time 
    4. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time
    5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) same time

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    General Classification  

    1. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 23:23:36
    2. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:38
    3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:58

    Points Classification

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 147
    2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 94
    3. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) 78

    King of the Mountains  

    1. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 43
    2. Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa Cycling Team) 18  
    3. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 18

  • Klopp apologises for defensive Conte remarks: 'It was a backhanded compliment' Klopp apologises for defensive Conte remarks: 'It was a backhanded compliment'

    Jurgen Klopp has apologised for his outburst on Antonio Conte's tactics following the draw between Liverpool and Tottenham on Saturday, suggesting it was a "backhanded" compliment.

    Liverpool dropped ground in the Premier League title race as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at Anfield, Luis Diaz's deflected second-half strike salvaging a point for the Reds.

    Spurs managed just 35 per cent of possession against the Reds, who outshot their opponents 22 to three – though the visitors registered as many shots on target (three each).

    Having defended deep and relied on the counter-attacking prowess of scorer Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, Tottenham became the first team to stop Liverpool from winning at Anfield in the Premier League since Brighton and Hove Albion last October.

    Klopp took aim at Spurs' approach after the game, stating he "could not coach" Conte's defensive style as he implored Tottenham to do more with their talented "world-class players".

    However, the German manager has since retracted his remarks as he hailed the work that Conte and Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone do in setting their teams up to defend. 

    "No. It's what I think, it's just not what I should say because it's not appropriate," Klopp told reporters when asked if he would contact Conte to apologise. "We didn't lose and it felt like a loss.

    "One of you guys asked how they defended and that was the moment it clicked. I mean it when I say I couldn't coach it – it was a backhanded compliment.

    "I couldn't. What they do is incredible and so difficult for the opponent – they make it hard to score.

    "When you don't score and then Harry Kane gets on the ball, it's not a brain f***, but what can you do in these moments? My main message is I can't coach it.

    "Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid, I can't wait to face them again. That’s what I mean, it's unnecessary I say these kinds of things. It came out before I was thinking."

    Liverpool also attempted 46 crosses to Tottenham's 17, but Klopp refuted suggestions his side should not have relied on sending the ball in from the flanks, even if he bemoaned the Reds' build-up play.

    "The crosses you can read easily are not right with the way they defend," he added. "They need to go back in the centre, get to the touchline and square it.

    "It's just that the main challenge of a game like this is that you are in a creative mood, but every missed pass is a massive problem, it is hard to stay calm.

    "If we chip the ball in behind the wing-back that’s great football, but we didn't anticipate it. If we had won 3-1 you wouldn't have asked me about all these crosses and that's the problem, not a perfect game but great things.

    "The counter-press was amazing. I don't forget but we keep going. If we win 1-0 and there's no counter-press, we have only a few games left and I have to say 'Boys, what happened?'.

    "Nothing is broken, that's how I see it so let's keep going from there. It doesn't always work out and that's the nature of it.

    "We had the situations where we could have scored. Virgil [van Dijk's late header], he could have scored and it would have been perfect."

    Liverpool will look to cut Manchester City's three-point lead at the Premier League summit when the Reds visit Aston Villa on Tuesday.

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