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All Other Sports

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Dec 11, 2022
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Making this thread for those sports that don't have enough fans to have their own dedicated thread. They can be discussed here until they get enough traction to merit their own threads.

In squash world, Egypt defeated England to win their 3rd consecutive World Squash Team Championship. Interestingly, the English team consisted of Egyptian-English brothers Marwan and Mohamed El Shorbagy. The latter El Shorbagy being one of Egypt's best players when he represented them until 2017.

I admire squash, but I'm not sure I'd want to play it. You play in a closed court, side by side with the opponent, in a super intense game, and you have try and avoid the person next you... No, tennis is more to my taste. In tennis world, Djoković is still going strong, though Federer has retired and Nadal is struggling with injuries. Recently, Djoković won a championship final lasting 3 hours and 49 minutes, which is crazy considering how intense the game is. I can play football for an hour and still be up for more, but 20 minutes of tennis has me exhausted.

Tennis is an odd game. One day you'll be hitting those balls like a beast and the next you'll be struggling like someone who hadn't touched a racquet in years. Doesn't help that I barely have the time to play consistently
 
I've only played tennis a few times, although I've played enough table tennis to be noticeably better than someone new to it and still enormously worse than the people who go to table tennis clubs. I agree that the duration of championship tennis matches is crazy. I remember seeing that some ended at 2 or 3 in the morning (in NYC I believe) last year, and it wasn't like they were starting at 1 AM. Those players are have incredible stamina.

Badminton I've played more than either of those forms of tennis. It's not that popular in the west but I like it, if I swing and miss I'm not going to get pelted by a tennis ball flying... well, since I wouldn't be playing the pros, at only moderately fast speeds. The wind can be a factor in badminton, but that's part of the challenge. In terms of watching it though? I saw a stream of part of a Spain-India match in an international contest a few years ago, but I've never seen it on TV.

One unusual sport I have seen on TV that was entertaining to watch is Omegaball. It's kind of like soccer (association football), but with three teams competing at once, which means it's way more chaotic. I caught it on ESPN8 "The Ocho" a couple summers ago.
 
One unusual sport I have seen on TV that was entertaining to watch is Omegaball. It's kind of like soccer (association football), but with three teams competing at once, which means it's way more chaotic. I caught it on ESPN8 "The Ocho" a couple summers ago.
Speaking of exotic sports, one of my favourites is sepak takraw, which is like volleyball but you play with your feet. I find it fascinating because the bicycle kick, which is a rare and novel move in association football, and requires great agility and timing, is actually commonplace in this sport.
 
The main flaw with association football (soccer) is that the ball is too round.
And the playing field is too small,
and only one player on a team can use their hands,
and players fall over when somebody breathes on them,
and too many other countries play it.
 
Casual or curious fans take note: This weekend's UFC 300 card is insane, and most of it will be broadcast and streamed (in the U.S.) on ESPN and ESPN+.

In boxing and in many MMA events, one can safely ignore the undercard, unless one is a hardcore fan, or there's a young, promising up-and-comer whose hype train you want to board early. Not this weekend. The UFC 300 undercard - which you can watch on ESPN - is a whole, solid card all by itself, well worth checking out if you're a casual or you're curious to see what all the fuss is about. If you're able to also see the Main Card, so much the better.

(Matches for MMA and boxing cards are listed in reverse order, so the first fight that will air is at the bottom.)

Undercard:
Jiri Prochazka[1] vs. Aleksandar Rakic at Light-Heavyweight (205 lbs / 93 kg)
Aljamain Sterling[2] vs. Calvin Kattar at Featherweight (145 lbs / 66kg)
Kayla Harrison[3] vs. Holly Holm[4] at Bantamweight (135 lbs / 61 kg)
Sodiq Yusuff vs. Diego Lopes at Featherweight (145 lbs / 66 kg)
Jalin Turner vs. Renato Moicano at Lightweight (155 lbs / 70 kg)
Jessica Andrade[5] vs. Marina Rodriguez at Strawweight (115 lbs / 52 kg)
Jim Miller vs. Bobby Green at Lightweight (155 lbs / 70 kg)
Cody Garbrandt vs. Deiveson Figueiredo[6] at Bantamweight (135 lbs / 61 kg)

While this is 'only' the undercard, it's well worthy of being a full card all by itself, and it'll be easier to find and watch if you don't feel like shelling out for the main card (I won't - if I can't make alternative arrangements, I won't be watching the main card live).


[1] Prochazka is a former UFC Light-Heavyweight champion.
[2] Sterling is a former UFC Bantamweight champion.
[3] Harrison is the most accomplished American judoka of all time. She has a 6th-degree blackbelt and two Olympic gold medals in that sport. She was the PFL Lightweight champion; this is her UFC debut.
[4] Holm is a former UFC Bantamweight champion and was the undisputed Welterweight champion in professional boxing.
[5] Andrade is a former UFC Strawweight champion.
[6] Figueiredo is a former UFC Flyweight champion.
 
I was listening to Jon Anik & Kenny Florian's preview of UFC 300 this morning, and they noted some tidbits related to the preliminary card fights I listed above that really underline how ridiculously deep this card is:

- Cody Garbrandt is a former UFC champion too, in the Bantamweight division. So the very first fight of this card is two former champions.
- Calvin Kattar is not a former champion, but his last four fights were all Main Events on other cards.
- I noted that Jiri Prochazka and Aljamein Sterling are both former champions, but I neglected to mention that for each of them their previous fight was a title fight.

This card is like the UFC's version of the UEFA Champions League, where every single competitor is legit.

Also, I'd forgotten what a physical freak Jalin Turner is. Dude is 6' 3" / 190cm and fights at Lightweight (which means he weighs in at 155 lbs / 70 kg; but when he enters the cage, he's probably still only ~170 lbs / 77kg). His opponent this weekend is 5' 11" / 180cm, which is still on the tall side for a Lightweight.
 
I only got into MMA (casually) when I used to go work out at the gym. It wasn't a conventional gym, by that I mean the sort with machinery, it was more like a camp for MMA aspirants, the gym instructor being a MMA fanatic.

One fighter I tended to follow was Khamzat Chimaev, who was a rising star at that time, and used to watch his highlights. I see now that he recently won a bout against the Kamaru Usman, so I guess he's gone places. They grow so fast 🥹

Another one I tended to follow was Rafael Fiziev; his acrobatic dodging is simply mesmerising, though he doesn't seem to be a very high-profile fighter
 
I only got into MMA (casually) when I used to go work out at the gym. It wasn't a conventional gym, by that I mean the sort with machinery, it was more like a camp for MMA aspirants, the gym instructor being a MMA fanatic.

One fighter I tended to follow was Khamzat Chimaev, who was a rising star at that time, and used to watch his highlights. I see now that he recently won a bout against the Kamaru Usman, so I guess he's gone places. They grow so fast 🥹

Another one I tended to follow was Rafael Fiziev; his acrobatic dodging is simply mesmerising, though he doesn't seem to be a very high-profile fighter
Chimaev has his first fight against a top-ranked Middleweight coming up, June 22nd vs. Robert Whittaker. I'm stoked for that one. The fight with Usman was very entertaining. Chimaev's "shot out of a cannon" approach gave Usman a lot of problems in the first round. All three judges scored the first round 10-8 for Chimaev. But Usman almost came back. One judge scored it a draw, giving Usman rounds 2 & 3, 10-9, 10-9; and the other two judges each gave Usman one round out of the final 2, but they disagreed about which one. One judge awarded the 2nd round to Usman, and the other judge awarded the 3rd round to Usman. It was Chimaev's toughest fight, by a mile, and Usman had come up a weight-class and taken the fight on short notice.

Whittaker, meanwhile, bounced back from his upset loss to Du Plessis with a win in a fun fight with Paulo Costa. Whittaker was 'out-pointing' Costa in the first round until Costa stole the round with a nasty head-kick with a few seconds left on the clock. If Costa had landed that kick 10 seconds sooner, he'd probably have finished the match right there. But Whittaker shook it off and won the 2nd & 3rd rounds on all three judges' cards. The winner of Chimaev-Whittaker seems likely to get a title shot, although I think it was Ariel Helwani who made the good point that the UFC might have to think about whether they want a champion who can't get a visa to compete in the U.S. My guess is that if Chimaev beats Whittaker, they'll go ahead and give him the title shot on a card in the Middle East and figure out the rest later.

Fiziev had a couple of losses recently, and doesn't appear to have his next fight booked yet. Maybe he's recovering from an injury or something, I dunno. Fight Matrix and the UFC's rankings still have in him in the Top 10, so he should get somebody good. I think Benoit St. Denis or Dan Hooker could be a good matchup for him.
 
Kayla Harrison made 136 lbs at the weigh-in. She did not look happy, though. :shake: I'm recalling Kenny Florian's description of making 145 lbs to fight Jose Aldo for the Featherweight title. He could barely even talk, and he said even after he rehydrated his arms starting cramping in the 1st round of the fight. I'm also reminded of Gina Carano's weigh-in for one of her EliteXC fights in '07 or '08, where it looked like she stumbled reaching for a bottle of Gatorade. She ended up winning those fights, but still.
 
Kayla looked like a Terminator, man, she looked like she was back at 155 when the bell rang. I can't believe Holly and Jessica Andrade were prelims; this card was ridiculous. Was looking forward most to Justin and Max and Good Lord did they deliver. Max has never looked better. What a difference from when he fought Poirier at lightweight, or even when he lost to Volk last year. Was fun to watch the Jamahal Hill train fly off the tracks like The Fugitive, but it must have been devastating to come back from such an injury just to get obliterated like that.
 
The MMA community, especially around the UFC, is very right-wing.

Kayla looked like a Terminator, man, she looked like she was back at 155 when the bell rang. I can't believe Holly and Jessica Andrade were prelims; this card was ridiculous. Was looking forward most to Justin and Max and Good Lord did they deliver. Max has never looked better. What a difference from when he fought Poirier at lightweight, or even when he lost to Volk last year. Was fun to watch the Jamahal Hill train fly off the tracks like The Fugitive, but it must have been devastating to come back from such an injury just to get obliterated like that.
Excellent card overall. I think this might be the first time I watched an entire card in years. I don't think anybody on the UFC roster can touch Kayla. There are already rumblings about Amanda Nunes coming out of retirement.

EDIT: I went 10-3 in my picks. Holloway, Tsarukyan, and Moicano were the ones I didn't get. I don't bet on sports, so I don't know if I would've made any money. If I had put any money down, I'd be pretty mad at Jalin Turner* right now. And I would've been screaming bloody murder during the Zhang-Xiaonan** fight, although it worked out in the end.

* Turner knocked Moicano down with a punch, and thinking that he was KO'd, tried a "walkoff strut" instead of sealing the deal. Moicano was not out, recovered, and Turner ended up losing the fight. Donkey. :lol:
** Zhang had Xiaonan in a choke-hold that appeared to knock her unconscious, but the ref didn't see it. Then the bell rang, so Xiaonan was given a 2nd life.
 
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I don't follow basketball, but I found this interesting article in the Guardian:

Older players (those above the age of 33) are over performing this NBA season
 
Admittedly, I don't follow the NBA much, but it's hard to believe that LeBron is the oldest player in the NBA. You know, he went straight from high school to the Cavs, made The Decision, came back, won a championship, and now he's the oldest player in the NBA? Part of it is just that it's hard to believe it's been that many years, but part of it is that he's still really good.

Will be interesting to see if Bronny is drafted, and if so, if they indeed wind up playing for the same team. It probably makes more sense for Bronny to have another (healthy) year in college, and at the current trajectory LeBron has another couple all-star-level years after this year, so it may work out in '25-'26. Though one has to wonder if a team might draft Bronny earlier than they would to have an inside track on signing LeBron. Like, if we're in the second round and no one has drafted Bronny, for the right team, it may make sense to forgo a traditional draft choice and draft Bronny even though it's probably a year too early, just to have LeBron join the team.

Speaking of drafts, I assume nobody was the least bit surprised to see the Indiana Fever draft Caitlin Clark? Most of the basketball games I've watched this decade have featured Clark, and I would not be surprised if she becomes as iconic to the WNBA as Michael Jordan and LeBron have been to the NBA. Everyone talks about the shooting, and it's true that her ability to shoot from a country mile away is impressive and far beyond anyone else on the court, but if anything I'm more impressed by her passing game. Seeing her find open teammates is like watching an elite quarterback find open receivers, and she can throw a dart to them with equally impressive accuracy to her three-point shooting - and sometimes, from even farther away.

It looks like the WNBA telecasts are at least as fragmented in this age of streaming as the college ones, so I'll probably only catch the over-the-air games, but I plan to watch some of them.
 
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