Rory McIlroy thinks he may have given Tiger Woods COVID-19 on the eve of the Open Championship after the pair played at a charity event beforehand.

The Northern Irishman, who claimed a third FedEx Cup this year, has forged a close bond over the years with the American, one strengthened by their shared views on the LIV Golf breakaway this season.

While several of their rivals warmed up at the Scottish Open for this year's Open, McIlroy and Woods played at a fundraising event hosted by JP McManus at Adare Manor.

Now, four-time major winner McIlroy has revealed he played at St Andrews while battling COVID-19 – and that he fears he gave it to Woods after the two dined together.

"I woke up feeling a bit achy but didn't really think anything of it," he told the Irish Independent. "[But] as I'm getting up from the table, I'm sore and stiff and super tired.

"I slept for maybe two hours, and the sweat was just pouring off me. Erica [McIlory's wife] took my temperature, and it was sky-high.

"[Tiger] texted me that night with chills and fever. I'm like 'f****** hell, I've just given Tiger COVID. This is horrendous!'. So we both had COVID going into the Open.

"The whole week of the Open, I didn't have any taste, and everything [was] like vinegar to me. Everything. It was really strange."

Woods went on to miss the cut at the Open, while McIlroy was edged out by Cameron Smith on the final day at St Andrews.

McIlroy did end the season on a high, topping the DP World Tour rankings and returning to number one in the world.

Canada's 1-0 defeat to Belgium was "statistically", according to John Herdman, "a winning performance" – and it is easy to see why he thinks that.

Canada attempted 22 shots, twice as many as their previous World Cup record (11 versus USSR in 1986), with their attempts worth a combined 2.6 expected goals.

Belgium's chances were worth 0.8 xG, but they crucially scored through Michy Batshuayi.

Canada still have not scored a World Cup goal from 50 shots. No team have played more finals matches (four) without ever finding the net, while only Bolivia have previously failed to register in their first five such fixtures.

Another "winning performance" against Croatia will count for little if they cannot end that drought.

 

"It's those behaviours that we'll continue to work on," coach Herdman said. "That's what the players see in the review meeting [after the Belgium game].

"And we've got to close some gaps going into this meeting with Croatia, who are a hell of a team."

That more measured praise of Croatia was slightly at odds with Herdman's emotions immediately post-match, when he called on his Canada players to "'F'" their next opponents.

"The gentleman expressed himself that way, that is his right," responded Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic. "I won't dwell on that. We have to speak on the field.

"Everyone has their own way of expressing themselves. I just don't know how nice it is to say something like that. I will discuss it with the players. It can only motivate us."

It is easy to see why Herdman might have been confident, though, if he had taken in Croatia's goalless draw against Morocco.

The 2018 finalists had just five shots in that match, their lowest total in a single World Cup contest. They averaged 16.1 shots per game in Russia.

Still, Canada have lost each of their first four World Cup games and will be eliminated if that sequence continues against Croatia.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Croatia – Josko Gvardiol

Not many Croatia players stood out against Morocco, but Gvardiol was one. He set Croatia World Cup records for passes attempted (115) and completed (102), although he might have more work to do defensively in this encounter based on Canada's first display. It is an opportunity to impress for a man linked with a host of Europe's leading clubs.

Canada – Jonathan David

Alphonso Davies may have passed up Canada's clearest chance from the penalty spot, but David will similarly rue a wasteful opening display. He had seven shots against Belgium, all from inside the box, but missed the target with each of them. It was only the second example since 1966 of a player taking all of his seven shots from inside the area yet failing to trouble the goalkeeper (also Italy's Paolo Barison against North Korea in 1966).

PREDICTION

Even in defeat, Canada were one of the more impressive performers of the opening round of matches, but they are still facing the finalists from the last World Cup – and the supercomputer's forecast bears that out.

Croatia are 47.0 per cent favourites, according to Stats Perform's AI model, with Canada given a 27.0 per cent chance and the draw rated a shade more unlikely at 26.0 per cent.

Kai Havertz believes Ilkay Gundogan and Manuel Neuer's criticism of Germany's performance against Japan can spur them on in Sunday's do-or-die meeting with Spain.

Germany lost their opening World Cup game for just the third time (W13 D4) on Wednesday as Bundesliga duo Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano came off the bench to fire Japan to a shock 2-1 win.

Captain Neuer lamented Germany's failure to put the game to bed after the defeat, while Gundogan said Asano's goal was one of the most straightforward ever scored at a World Cup.

The shock result leaves Germany facing consecutive World Cup group-stage exits ahead of their meeting with Spain – who are favourites to top Group E after thrashing Costa Rica 7-0.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Havertz insisted his team-mates' comments had not caused any ill feeling, saying: "It was constructive criticism from Ilkay and Manu. 

"I can understand the boys. We talked about it. Such criticism is also good for the team because we continue to develop. It was a small snippet from an interview. Nobody is angry there.

"I can understand that negativity comes up from a lot of fans. There's a lot of people taking shots at us, but in my head I'm not worried. 

"I don't care what was in the past. It's a big game on Sunday. There's no use getting negative thoughts now. We are looking ahead."

Another early elimination would continue a run of poor tournament displays from Die Mannschaft, who went out in the last 16 at Euro 2020 after failing to make the knockout stages in Russia four years ago, but Havertz expects them to improve next time out.

"The statistics don't speak for us, but we have experienced a lot of change in recent years, which is not easy," the Chelsea forward added.

"That is not an excuse. What we have shown is not enough. But we will do everything we can to improve that."

The omens are not good for Germany, who have won just one of their last seven meetings with Spain (D2 L4) – a run which includes a humiliating 6-0 loss in Seville two years ago.

Julian Brandt does not believe that result will have any bearing on Sunday's fixture, and he hopes Germany can draw on their Euro 2020 experience in a bid to keep their World Cup dream alive.

"We're in a s***** situation and Spain come into the stadium with a 7-0 win behind them, but this is an opportunity for us. This can release a lot of energy," Brandt said.

"A little over a year ago, we also lost to France in the first game and then we won in the second game against Portugal. The guys understand such a situation. I don't think the 6-0 is still relevant."

When asked to evaluate the New York Jets' offensive performance in the second half against the New England Patriots, Robert Saleh was succinct.

"Dog s***,"  was his reply.

It is an assessment that was as accurate as it was curt, having come after the Jets managed just two yards of offense in the final two quarters of their 10-3 loss to the Patriots.

The defeat came in heartbreaking fashion as Patriots rookie Marcus Jones returned a punt 84 yards in the dying seconds for the game's only touchdown and saw the Jets fall to the bottom of AFC East at 6-4. Had they prevailed, New York would have been top at 7-3.

From an offensive standpoint it was a fitting end to a game where they averaged a meagre 2.1 yards per play.

Yet, in the sense that quarterback Zach Wilson did not hand the Patriots the game with a string of backbreaking interceptions as he did three weeks prior, this outing arguably represented an improvement for the Jets' quarterback.

But for a player the Jets drafted second overall in 2021, choosing between curbing his off-schedule plays but delivering no offensive production or allowing him to create at the risk of disastrous turnovers is a dreadful position to be in, and it raises the question whether it is time for New York to already be thinking about moving on from Wilson.

Anything but accurate

For as anaemic as the Jets' offense was in Week 11, the case could be made that this was one of Wilson's cleaner games as he threw only one interceptable pass, according to Stats Perform data.

But that it is even possible to make such a suggestion speaks to how low Wilson's floor is. At his worst, he is a quarterback who struggles significantly with accuracy and is prone to head-scratching throws that often result in gift-wrapped turnovers for the defense.

While he had only one such turnover-worthy throw on Sunday, which Patriots safety Devin McCourty inexplicably dropped, Wilson was painfully inaccurate when attacking New England's pass defense. His well-thrown rate, which measures the number of accurate, well-thrown balls delivered by a quarterback, was just 60 per cent, the worst among all signal-callers with at least 10 pass attempts in Week 11 as of Monday.

And the evidence indicates his relatively careful performance in New England was an aberration, with his tendency for off-target throws in keeping with what he has produced in his second season as a pro.

Indeed, his well-thrown rate of 70.6 per cent is the worst in the NFL while his pickable pass rate of 6.47 per cent is only an improvement on that of Taylor Heinicke (7.35 per cent) and Jameis Winston (7.27 per cent) for quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 attempts.

There is, though, an argument the blame should not be entirely on Wilson, who has struggled while playing behind a banged-up offensive line.

Pressure a problem, but no excuse

The Jets can count Mekhi Becton, George Fant and Alijah Vera-Tucker among their offensive linemen on the sidelines, robbing them of two starting tackles and a guard.

Their pressure rate allowed of 42.3 per cent is well above the league average of 38.7 per cent but, though Wilson is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL under pressure, he and the Jets cannot pin all of his woes on the pass protection.

Among quarterbacks with at least 50 throws under pressure, Wilson is last in the NFL with a well-thrown rate of 54 per cent and a pickable pass percentage of 18.

Wilson has only thrown two pickable passes when he is not pressured, but Carson Wentz is the sole quarterback with at least 100 such attempts with a worse well-thrown rate when kept clean than the Jets' starter's 77.5 per cent.

In other words, while Wilson is a better quarterback when not pressured, he is still among the least accurate passers in the league even when the offensive line does its job.

Wilson has not been supported by an overly efficient run game. The Jets' run success rate of 30.1 per cent is the second-worst in the league, yet their average gain on the ground of 4.4 yards is in line with the NFL average. 

The Jets have won just one game since sensational rookie running back Breece Hall suffered a season-ending injury, but their efforts on the ground in his absence have not been bad enough to justify Wilson's evident lack of year two growth, which is wasting an excellent season from the defense.

A playoff calibre defense

Saleh's defense ranks ninth in the NFL with a success rate allowed of 37.1 per cent and has excelled against the run and the pass without having to commit significant resources to defending either.

The Jets are allowing an average of four yards per play on the ground (the average is 4.4) while only playing with a heavy box on 36.5 per cent of defensive snaps. Similarly, they have the fourth-highest pressure rate (43.2 per cent) in the NFL but the lowest blitz rate (15.6 per cent). 

New York's defense is containing the ground game without having to bring defenders down from the secondary to do so and gets consistent pressure on quarterbacks while only sending four defensive linemen as pass rushers.

In essence, the Jets possess a defense ideally suited to stopping modern-day offenses, one that should be spearheading their playoff challenge.

Instead, the defense and the Jets as a whole are being limited by a quarterback whom they drafted to elevate the offense.

The Jets' victories this season have often come in spite of Wilson, who next campaign will enter the third year of his rookie deal. That would normally be the time for a team to consider starting discussions with their young quarterback about a contract extension, but Wilson has given the Jets no reason to be motivated to enter such conversations.

Unless Wilson turns things around down the stretch and ensures the Jets' season is one reflective of the plethora of talent they possess across the rest of the roster, the internal discussions around the man they picked to be the face of the franchise will likely be focused on how they replace him.

New York Jets receiver Garrett Wilson has slammed his side for their woeful offensive display against the New England Patriots, pointing fingers at issues behind the scenes.

The Jets managed just 103 total yards and six first downs in the 10-3 defeat, with a horrendous second half showing resulting in just two positive yards.

Criticism has been directed towards quarterback Zach Wilson, who went 9 for 22 with passing attempts, though he insisted post-match that he did not feel he let down the defense.

The Jets' receiver had a different outlook, however, making it clear that there are problems that need to be addressed in order for the team to improve.

"We know we're better than that. That's why it hurts," he told reporters after the game.

"It starts in practice. It's got to be better, the things we see and don't call out. It has to start getting called out. This is unacceptable.

"No one wants to feel like this, but that's not enough. Hopefully, this is a wake-up for some people in the facility, people in the facility to get on their details.

"It starts during the week in practice, coaching, all of that. We have to be detailed. We all have to have a better plan.

"This s*** is not OK. Straight up. It's not OK. How many total yards did we have? Yeah, that s*** is not going to fly.

"Let's call it like it is: We have to be better in the passing game if we want to be where we want to be at. And we know we can be there, that's the most frustrating part.

"We don't have to be in games like this. They didn't even score on offense, and we lost the game.

"Me, personally, I think we have to take it for what it is. We got our ass beat on offense, and the results showed."

Daniel Ricciardo has explained his decision not to pursue a race seat in Formula One for 2023, as he closes in on a non-racing role with Red Bull.

The Australian is poised to rejoin the team he left in 2018 in a position that may include reserve, promotional and simulator duties, with Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix being his last with McLaren.

Although not confirmed, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has stated that Ricciardo will be joining the team, with Christian Horner welcoming the potential return of the driver on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

A non-racing role with Red Bull does not necessarily mean Ricciardo's time on the F1 grid is over, though he feels it was the right move in order to take a break from competition.

"I knew that I wanted some time off next year from a race seat and just from competition," he told Motorsport.com.

"It's obviously been pretty tiring the last couple of years with the struggles, so it was pretty clear to me shortly after the summer break that that was what I wanted, and what was going to be best for me.

"So then it was: 'Okay. What's the next best thing?' And the more I thought about it, to obviously be involved to some degree with a top team, that was obviously the preference.

"But it's not done. So that's why I haven't come out and confirmed it, because that's still the truth: it's not done. But I can obviously look you in the eye now and say it's the most likely option at this stage."

Ricciardo also feels this is the right move to assess where he wants to go long-term, giving him the ability to decide without affecting his week-to-week performances on the grid.

"Honestly, I think that's also in a way the beauty with this," he said. "It'll either fuel the fire and make me hungry and more motivated than ever, or it will actually be like 'oh, this is the right thing for you', and in that case then I must be really happy.

"Because as much as you go through highs and lows of racing, I'm still very happy with life, and am privileged to live a good one. So if next year I'm not interested in coming back, then I must be doing some really cool s***."

Max Verstappen has described media coverage of his disagreement with Sergio Perez at the Brazilian Grand Prix as "ridiculous", saying he and his family received "disgusting" abuse after the incident. 

Last week, Verstappen infuriated Perez by defying orders to give up sixth position to aid his Red Bull team-mate in his battle to finish second in the drivers' championship.

Having said Verstappen's move showed "who he really is" over team radio, Perez went further in his criticism of the world champion after the race, declaring: "If he has two championships, it's thanks to me".

On Thursday, Red Bull released a statement acknowledging the team's mistakes in Sao Paulo, claiming Verstappen had been placed "in a compromising situation with little time to react".

The team also condemned "shocking and saddening" online abuse directed towards both drivers and their families, saying: "At the end of the day this is a sport, we are here to race. Death threats, hate mail and vitriol towards extended family members is deplorable."

Speaking at a press conference to preview the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Thursday, Verstappen defended his actions in Brazil and hit out at those who blamed him for the incident. 

"We had a bit of a miscommunication on Saturday and Sunday, nothing had been said to me about a potential swap," Verstappen said.

"It was only coming into that last lap that it was said on the radio, and they should have known my response already from what I said the week before. 

"After that race we had some good discussion, we put everything on the table, and everything has been solved.

"In hindsight, we should have had that conversation earlier because I have never been a bad team-mate to anyone. I've always been very helpful, and the team knows that.

"After that race, I looked very bad in the media but they also didn't have the clear picture, but to immediately put me down is pretty ridiculous to be honest. 

"Because they don't know how I work within the team and what the team appreciates about me, so all the things I have read are pretty disgusting.

"And even more than that, they started attacking my family, threatening my sister, my mum, my girlfriend and my dad. That goes way too far while you don't have the facts of what's going on. For me, that has to stop.

"If you have a problem with me, that's fine but don't go after my family because that is just unacceptable. We move on. Honestly, I have a great relationship with Checo. But I just don't understand when people don't have the full picture, to immediately start attacking me like that.

"I'm just a bit fed up with all this bull**** going around all the time. At the end of the day, I haven't done anything wrong, people just misunderstood what was going on."

Perez, meanwhile, told Sky Sports he wished to move on from the incident after discussing it with Verstappen.

"We have discussed everything internally," he said. "There's been a lot of speculation on social media, a lot of hate, that is not nice to see.

"We're just ready to move on as a team. What happened there, we discussed it, and we're ready to move on as a team."

Kevin Durant lamented the weakness of the Brooklyn Nets' roster after their struggles continued against the Sacramento Kings, saying the team's poor form should surprise no one. 

The Nets sit adrift of the Eastern Conference's Playoff and Play-In Tournament spots with a 6-9 record for the season, having slipped to a demoralising 153-121 defeat against the Kings on Tuesday.

The team have also been plagued by off-court concerns this campaign, with guard Kyrie Irving having been suspended after sharing offensive material on social media.

Durant requested a trade ahead of the campaign, and he remains concerned about the Nets' lack of forward momentum, adding that expectations must be tempered with their current roster.

"I had some complaints in the summer, and my complaints were not about just me; it was about how we are moving as a unit," he told Bleacher Report.

"I want us to be respected out here in the basketball world. I don't want players to look at us and say, 'Oh man, they are full of s***. That's not the type of team I want to be on.

"So when we're all playing like s***, you know the one person they're going to look at. That's why I requested a trade.

"Look at our starting lineup. Edmond Sumner, Royce O'Neale, Joe Harris, [Nic] Claxton and me. It's not disrespect, but what are you expecting from that group?

"You expect us to win because I'm out there. So if you're watching from that lens, you're expecting us to play well because number seven is out there."

The Nets next travel cross-country to face the Portland Trail Blazers, before returning home to host the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr says the defending champions are playing "scattered" basketball after slumping to their eighth straight road loss to open the 2022-23 season.

The Warriors were brushed aside by the Phoenix Suns 130-119 on Wednesday, leaving Golden State with a 6-9 record, and their first 0-8 road record to start since the 1989-90 season.

Golden State's road start is the worst ever by a defending champion in NBA history. The eight-game losing run is also a tie for third for longest road streak by a defending champion in their title-defense season.

"What we have to do is stay with it and find it," Kerr told reporters. "In order to find it, we've got to get everybody on board, on the same page in terms of just worrying about winning and that's it.

"Right now, we're just scattered. It's a pick-up game. It's a pick-up game out there. There's no execution at either end. There's no commitment to the group to get three stops in a row to execute on offense.

"It obviously starts with me. I'm the coach of the team. I have to figure out a way to get that production, that sort of commitment to the team and each other and to winning.

"There's no collective grit. We lack grit right now. When you don't have grit, the game is really easy for the other team... It’s a Drew League game. We’re playing a Drew League game right now.”

The Warriors continue to struggle defensively, having allowed 124.3 points per game on the road this season, which is the worst in the NBA.

Phoenix were the sixth Golden State opponent to score 120 or more points in their 15 games this season.

"I think we're feeling sorry for ourselves and no one is going to feel sorry for us," Kerr added. "Everyone can't wait to play us and kick our a***. We've had a lot of success and a lot of fun and joy beating people over the years and teams don’t forget that."

Stephen Curry was a lone hand on offense, scoring 50 points including making seven-of-11 from beyond the arc, but the Warriors' bench only added 17 points collectively.

"It's not about stats. Steph could probably go and score 75 if he wanted," Kerr said. "I think it's not about numbers. Steph played well, and nobody else did. It's about the team, it's about the commitment. That's what makes basketball special and this team special over the years."

Stefon Diggs feels the Buffalo Bills might be "blinking a little bit" after their defeat to the Minnesota Vikings in the game of the year so far.

The Bills led 27-10 in the third quarter and still appeared set to prevail leading 27-23 late in the fourth with the Vikings seemingly on their last chance on fourth-and-18.

However, Justin Jefferson's remarkable one-handed grab, which immediately entered the discussion around the best catches of all-time, set in motion a chaotic and incredible finish.

Despite that catch, Buffalo looked to have clinched the game when they stopped Minnesota on the Bills' one-yard line, but Josh Allen fumbled the snap on the subsequent series, Eric Kendricks recovering to put the Vikings ahead with 41 seconds left.

Allen led the Bills down the field for a game-tying field goal that forced overtime, in which the Vikings took the lead on a field goal after once again failing to convert from inside the Buffalo five-yard line following another Jefferson-inspired drive.

That gave Allen the chance to win it for Buffalo with a touchdown, but he paid the price for a poor decision as the Bills quarterback was intercepted in the endzone by Patrick Peterson and Minnesota clung on for a 33-30 success.

Buffalo's second successive defeat dropped them to 6-3, meaning the Bills are now third in the AFC East behind the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

It is a surprising downturn for a team that has long since been seen as Super Bowl favourites, and one Diggs put down to the Bills not following their mantra. 

"We've got to continue to play sharp," said Diggs. "I mean, I feel like we're coming out in the first half, minds sharp, getting after it, and then we somewhat hit a little lull and then kind of got to get back in the groove.

"It seemed like when we've got to get in the groove, it's always crunch time. And we always manage to kind of figure it out and make a way, but it'll save us if we don't take that lull, don't take that little gasp of air.

"[Defensive end] Von [Miller] always say don't blink and I feel like we might be blinking a little bit, especially when we come out trying to figure it out... This game has its ebbs and flows along with the season. I mean, we can’t ride a rollercoaster, so chin up."

Asked to explain what he meant by blinking, Diggs pointed the finger at himself for a false start in the fourth quarter.

"No, I mean, if you look at the score, the score was still tight," Diggs added. "When I think about a lull I feel like it's more so not being as sharp. For example like me jumping offsides like s*** like that.

"That's more so like a lull, not so much about the other team because like I said every week the other team will give you their best shot and they’re always going to give us that. More so looking inward than anything."

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was on the verge of tears as he faced the media following his side's third consecutive loss, dropping their record to a borderline unsalvageable 2-7.

The Raiders were favourites at home against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday after the visitors named a new interim head coach and offensive playcaller during the week, but an explosive performance from running back Jonathan Taylor carried the Colts to a 25-20 win.

Las Vegas committed no turnovers, but struggled to move the ball, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry on 24 attempts, while the Colts had 207 rushing yards from 30 attempts, buoyed by a 66-yard touchdown scamper from Taylor.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Carr had to pause several times to gather himself as he tried to explain how it does not feel to him that every member of the team is giving their all.

"I can't speak for everybody – I know where I stand, I love the silver and black, and I'm going to give it everything I can every time I'm out there," he said. 

"I love [head coach] Josh [McDaniels], I love our coaches. They've had nothing but success – way more than I've ever had. 

"I'm sorry for being emotional, I'm just p***** off about some of the things that a lot of us try and do just to practise, and what we put our bodies through just to sleep at night.

"For that to be the result of all that effort, it p***** me off, it p***** a lot of guys off. It's hard… I wish everybody in that room felt the same way about this place.

"As a leader, that p***** me off, if I'm being honest."

He said there was a players' meeting immediately after the loss where leaders addressed their concerns "man-to-man".

"We had our leaders address it man-to-man just now," he said. "It was good, it needed to be done, it needed to be said, and I think for me, I'm always going to just show the way.

"I'm going to show the way, show them what it looks like, show them how hard it is. In the huddle in the second quarter I told them 'this is going to be hard, but we're going to come back and win this game, I believe it'.

"It's going to be hard, though. It's not going to be easy, you've got to do the hard things. Josh always preaches 'do the hard things right'.

"I'm not perfect, I'm never going to be perfect, but the love I have for this place and the effort I give is going to be second-to-none every time.

"I think the emotion of just nine years of stuff hit me today, for how much I really love this place. It's not going to change anything, I'm going to come out here and fight and compete next week, and that's what I'm going to do."

When asked if he believes the coaching staff needs to take accountability for their six losses by one-possession margins – including three blown leads of at least 17 points – Carr refused to point the finger.

"We all take accountability, and the NFL, it's one-score games all the time," he said. "So this team has to learn how to finish those.

"There's been so many of them – six, right? You flip all of those, and everyone is feeling good about it, and I'd feel great about everything.

"That just isn't the case, but it's on all of us. But for me, I'm going to speak for myself and I'm going to come in, take my coaching from Josh, and he'll be hard on me like he always is.

"And I'm thankful for it, we'll keep going forward, and all that. I think if everyone takes that mindset, that's when you get better."

The Raiders travel to take on the Denver Broncos in Week 11, needing a win to keep their slim playoff chances alive.

Israel Adesanya lost to Alex Pereira for a third time on Saturday, costing the UFC champion his middleweight belt, but he is already looking forward to a rematch.

Pereira is the only fighter ever to have stopped Adesanya, knocking him out in one of a pair of kickboxing wins.

And at UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden, the Brazilian repeated the trick, winning by TKO in the final round of a bout Adesanya had enjoyed the better of to that point.

Adesanya was not impressed by the stoppage, saying: "I'm grateful. What a life, what a moment.

"It's f***ing crazy, isn't it? It's similar to the last time – same story. It's crazy. I was fine, I was still lucid, but s*** happens.

"I talked to my coaches, and I trust them, but I was fine. I could see everything. My eyes might have rolled back a little bit, but I was lucid."

It was only a second UFC defeat for Adesanya and his first at middleweight, where he had been champion since 2019. Pereira only entered the UFC for the first time last November.

But Adesanya accepts the risk of defeat as part of the role as champion, replying when asked if he would be pursuing a rematch: "Of course, of course. Come on, man.

"This was my third fight in 10 months. Every time I fight, I risk losing what you guys deem as the prestigious belt.

"I put it on the line because I'm not trying to just fight once and then chill, do my lap around and parade as a champion and not risk so much.

"I put it on the line, and this is what happens. Dare to be great – and I am."

Adesanya referred to Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of Jordan Belford in The Wolf of Wall Street as he added: "'I'm not f***ing leaving'. Yeah, I'm still right here. I'm not going anywhere."

Surprise pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen pledged "maximum attack" as he aimed to "have some fun" in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix sprint race.

Haas driver Magnussen, who claimed a podium finish in his first Formula One race back in 2014, had never previously topped qualifying.

Yet he claimed a shock pole position on Friday, ahead of world champion Max Verstappen and Mercedes' George Russell, to ensure he will start Saturday's sprint race at the front of the grid.

Magnussen recorded a fastest lap of 1:11.674 before a combination of a rain shower and a red flag due to Russell spinning off ended the session.

"You're kidding, you're kidding, you're f****** kidding me! I've never, ever felt like this in my life," the Dane said on the team radio after being informed he was P1.

Magnussen, the first driver from Denmark to claim a pole in F1, had hardly composed himself by the time he was interviewed following the race.

"I don't know what to say," said the 30-year-old, who signed for Haas earlier this year after Nikita Mazepin had his contract terminated.

"The team put me out on the track at the exact right moment. We were the first out in the pit lane and did a pretty decent lap and we are on pole. It is incredible. 

"Thank you to Gene Haas and [team manager] Guenther Steiner and the whole team for this opportunity. 

"It has just been an amazing journey. It is incredible, thank you."

Asked about his plan for Saturday, Magnussen quipped: "Maximum attack, let's go for something funny."

Magnussen might still have his work cut out to hold off the Red Bull of Verstappen, who said: "We are still at the front. We just stayed calm from Q1 to Q2, then Q3 was where it was a bit more of a lottery but we are still on the front row."

Russell had to settle for P3 following his spin, though the Briton believes the sprint race provides Mercedes with a prime chance to beat Verstappen.

"Firstly, I'm happy to be P3 and congrats to Kevin," he said. "What an awesome job he did and Haas – they truly deserve it for all the efforts they have been putting in.

"P3 is not necessarily where we wanted to be but it's a very good place to be starting for tomorrow's sprint race. 

"I think it is our best shot at finishing ahead of Max and Red Bull if there are some mixed conditions. I think we are ready for a good couple of races."

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 1:11.674
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.203
3. George Russell (Mercedes) +0.385
4. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.589
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.683
6. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +0.751
7. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +0.830
8. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.937
9. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +3.927
10. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen calmed fears over an arm injury suffered during Sunday's shock 20-17 defeat to the New York Jets.

Allen, who had been considered a leading contender for the MVP award, appeared to be in pain towards the end of the game as he grabbed his right elbow.

It seemed to have stemmed from Allen being sacked by Jets rusher Bryce Hall in one of the last plays of the game at MetLife Stadium.

Afterwards, however, Allen was fairly relaxed about his condition even if he acknowledged he did receive a knock.

"There's some slight pain," he said. "I'll get through it."

Generally, though, Allen's demeanour in the post-game press conference was by no means upbeat.

Defeat saw the Bills lose two games in a row after beginning the season with six wins on the bounce, and Allen's own performance came under intense scrutiny.

It has even been suggested his display was poor enough to take him out of the MVP running after the 26-year-old was 18-of-34 for 205 yards – a season low – and two interceptions.

Allen was also sacked five times, and he seemingly believed responsibility for the defeat was on him.

"It's tough to win in this league when you're playing a good team and your quarterback plays like s***.

"[I] made some bad decisions tonight that really hurt our team. [There's] a lot to learn from, lot to grow from.

"But that's not the standard we hold ourselves to, that's not the ball we play. Lots to look at, lots to learn from."

The 6-2 Bills remain top of the AFC East despite the defeat and will hope to avoid a third consecutive loss when they face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Aaron Rodgers urged the Green Bay Packers to embrace their new-found status as underdogs following a fifth loss in a row.

The Packers' troubles deepened in an upset defeat to NFC North rivals the Detroit Lions, who triumphed 15-9 on Sunday.

Green Bay had not lost five on the bounce since 2008 – Rodgers' first year as a starter – but they are a team devoid of confidence at present.

Rodgers' own display summed up the fortunes of his team as he threw three interceptions in a game for only the fifth time in his career and for the first time against NFC North opponents.

Two of those came with the game still scoreless, giving the lowly Lions a foothold they fought hard to protect.

"I had some s***** throws, for sure," said Rodgers. "I played s*****, but I never gave up.

"We moved the ball well in the first half, and I threw a couple picks in the end zone, took points off the board. That, obviously, came back to hurt us down the stretch.

"I've been counted out many times in my life as have many of my team-mates, and I hope we just dig deep and find a way.

"We will truly be underdogs for many games moving forward. Hopefully we can embrace that. We have two games at home. We've got to go win those two games in a week, and then this thing looks a little different."

Packers coach Matt LaFleur conceded the going was tough but wants to see Rodgers and his team-mates channel their frustration more productively.

"I'm sure he's extremely frustrated, as we all are," LaFleur said.

"I don't think we've been in this [situation]. I know in my time here, we haven't been in this situation and I don't think he's been in this situation too many times in his career, obviously.

"It's disappointing and frustrating. But I think that we all probably need to do a little bit better job of controlling that frustration."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.