UFC 269: Amanda Nunes loses in shock upset, Oliveira defeats Poirier

Amanda Nunes lost in the most shocking of ways.

Our main event is on, with both fighters making championship weight.

UFC 269 is finished and, top to bottom, was one of the most intense night of fights in UFC history.

Headlines will almost certainly focus on Amanda Nunes’s shock defeat to Julianna Pena. It could be the biggest upset in UFC history. Pena tired Nunes out on the feet and choked her out on the ground. It was an unbelievable performance from Pena.

Dustin Poirier, fresh off two wins over Conor McGregor, lost via submission in a back and forth war with UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.

You can read our live round-by-round coverage below.

Just overheard Poirier saying he’s donating $20,000 to a charity of Oliveira’s choice. Dude is a legend.

Dustin Poirier has a chance to finally become the undisputed lightweight champion.

I don’t think I can even settle down for this one, but I’ll try my best. Deep breaths…

This fight is the very definition of a coin toss.

Poirier’s mentality and will to win is unmatched in the lightweight division and he comes with great boxing and a solid gas tank. Will that be enough to defeat Oliveira and his unique skillset? I’m not sure. Oliveira has the best jiu jitsu, maybe in the entire UFC, and has made marked improvements in his striking.

This is gonna be a fantastic contest.

My prediction: Oliveira via submission

Still haven’t recovered from Nunes loss, but let’s go. This fight is gonna be great.

Man these guys are firing early. Poirier hits Oliveira clean but both are slinging here. Poirier seems to be landing cleaner though with big shots. Oliveira landing some big knees to the body though. 

Now Oliveira is shooting for the takedown. Poirier is surviving and appears to have the advantage on the feet.

This is a CRAZY first round with an insane pace. Poirier hits him clean and knocks Oliveira to the ground, but doesn’t follow him down for long.

Man, Poirier is landing BIG but Oliveira is also landing, but nothing like Poirier. 

WHAT.

A. 

ROUND.

My Score: 10-9 for Poirier

This is gonna be a war of attrition. Poirier is good at those.

Oliveira is going straight to the grappling here, which is very smart. 

Now Oliveira is on his back in a weird position. Now he sweeps and Poirier is on the bottom. This could be bad for Dustin.

Oliveira seems to just want to consolidate this position. Not really working for any submissions just yet. He lands a big elbow though. He’s grinding right now, just trying to do damage with short shots.

Now Oliveira is landing huge elbows. Dustin could be in trouble here. He’ll likely survive, but this could be a turning point in the fight.

My Score: 10-9 for Oliveira

Keen to see how Dustin fares here. Oliveira really beat him up in the last round.

Man Oliveira goes straight to the back in 20 seconds flat. Damn. This is really bad. Oliveira thrives in this position.

AND POIRIER TAPS TO A REAR NAKED CHOKE.

Damn that was so fast, and so technical. Oliveira is so good man. He is so good. And guess what? He had to go through some real adversity, which was the knock on Oliveira. Incredible performance there. Feel for Poirier, but nice work by Oliveira

Oliveira wins via submission

Amanda Nunes: The greatest female fighter of all time.

Having conquered both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, Amanda Nunes has beaten almost every single high level female fighter ever. Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Valentina Shevchenko — Nunes has beat them all, often in spectacular fashion.

Julianna Pena doesn’t have a chance here

Pena’s best opportunity here is in the grappling, perhaps in the clinch up against the cage, but I just can’t see a single way she doesn’t get obliterated here. Nunes isn’t just in a different league, she’s in a different plane of existence.

My prediction: Amanda Nunes via TKO/KO.

Shocking that Nunes is still only 32? Just saw that on the tale of the tape. She could be running this sport for another 5 years at this point. Terrifying.

Also, interesting:

Anyway, the fight!

A leg kick takes Pena down but Nunes allows her back up. Nunes tags her again with a jab and Pena is down. Pena takes a shot on the ground, gets back up, but Nunes is just too strong of a grappler and gets her back down again, she’s just full on big-sistering Pena right now.

Now Nunes has the back.

Pena survives though, gets into half guard and appears to be trying to get back to the feet, but yeah, Nunes is really controlling this fight. Julianna sort of has a kimura grip, but nothing was every gonna come of it.

My score: 10-9 for Nunes

Man Pena has landed some shots and the crowd is going nuts. This is getting sloppy and man… Nunes is losing this round!

Nunes is playing a dangerous game here and whoaa…. they’re just full on exchanging here! Cannot believe this is happening here.

Pena is getting the better of this and now Pena is on her back, what the hell!!!

Nunes has tapped to a choke. I cannot believe it. Holy shit. HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT. I am in shock here. Complete shock.

Julianna Pena wins via submission

I am in shock. This is honestly the biggest upset in UFC history in my opinion. Cannot believe it. Cannot believe what I just saw. Nunes was just too confident in her ability to steam roll and sloppily just KO Pena.

“I’m not surprised motherfuckers,” says Julianna Pena, in a throwback to Nate Diaz’s famous proclamation after beating Conor McGregor in their first fight.

Wow. Just wow.

Neal vs. Ponzinibbio is a fight between two high level welterweights. 

Bit of a strange turn of events with this fight: Geoff Neal was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and the unlawful carrying of a weapon on Thanksgiving Day. That’s put a bit of a weird cloud on this contest.

Will it impact how this fight plays out on the night? Hard to say. Either way it’s a close pick ’em of a fight. Geoff Neal is a hard hitter who rarely makes mistakes, but until very recently Ponzinibbio was a fighter very close to a title shot.

But Ponzinibbio has struggled a little as of late, so I’m favouring Neal in this one. 

My prediction: Geoff Neal via decision.

Can’t wait to try and spell Ponzinibbio a million times during this fight.

(Nah, jokes. Of course I have that copied ready to paste!)

This is great match making. High stakes fight here, will really decide which of these fighters has a future in the welterweight division.

Here we go…

Slow start to this one. A lot of lateral movement from Ponzinibbio as is his style, but low output in terms of strikes thrown. Neal lands a head kick, but didn’t seem to impact Ponzinibbio too much. Neal is turning it on a bit here though, has clearly landed the most strikes so far and appears to be winning this round.

Ponzinibbio coming on a little stronger towards the end there, but I’m still scoring this for Neal.

My score: 10-9 for Neal

Crazy this is the first time I’ve written the words “Round 2” in this liveblog.

Ponzinibbio seems to have a lot less caution in this round so far, seems to really be driving the action. 

Neal showed off some great takedown defence, was taken down but managed to scramble back up. Ponzinibbio appears to be winning this round though. Very close, ugly fight so far but Ponzinibbio is getting the better of these exchanges in round 2.

My score: 10-9 for Ponzinibbio

Man, Neal’s corner was very vocal there and they’re right. Neal needs to win this round.

Neal is responding, landing clean shots here. He’s winning the early exchanges in this round so far. Neal is landing great check hooks, coming over the top. This is a close, clumsy clash of styles and it’s tough to say how the judges will score this.

These guys are opening up in the latter half of this round, Neal cracks Ponzinibbio hard, repeatedly, taking over in the final minute. 

My score: 10-9 for Neal (29-28 for Neal)

Geoff Neal wins via split decision

Cody Garbrandt is making his 125 debut.

I am very hyped for this one. Garbrandt almost certainly had the fastest hands in the bantamweight division, where he once reigned as champ. He also has bricks for hands with some of the best highlight reel knockouts in UFC history.

But he’s making his flyweight debut here, against Kai Kara-France, another heavy hitter with a penchant for getting into firefights. Considering Garbrand’s storied history of getting into wars at bantamweight, you can expect a potential fight of the night contender here. At the very least, hard not to imagine someone going to sleep here. Don’t blink.

My prediction: Kai Kara-France by KO/TKO

Garbrandt looks big here. Massive compared to Kara-France. Very leg kick heavy attack early from Garbrandt as well and both seem respectful of one another’s power.

Ooft. Garbrandt gets melted by a huge shot from Kara-France but somehow survives, even inviting Kara-France in for more. He survives, but in another exchange Kara-France hits him clean again and damn… Garbrandt is clean out with a final huge shot.

Damn, this must be a tough one for Garbrandt to take. 

Kai Kara-France wins by KO/TKO.

Sean O’Malley, one of the most unique fighters currently in the UFC.

Sean O’Malley looks like he was designed and built using the Saints Row 2 create-a-character mode, which I absolutely say as a compliment.

He’s also one of the most exciting up-and-coming fighters in the UFC’s stacked bantamweight division. Every time he fights it’s an event.

This contest, with Raulian Paiva, feels a bit like a lay-up for O’Malley, but I’m excited to watch it regardless.

My prediction: O’Malley by KO

O’Malley stabbing with those front kicks as per usual. Paiva seems to want to pressure. Ah looks like O’Malley caught the cup with one of those shots? Or maybe not? Hard to say.

O’Malley is landing the jab here, but this is quiet in the early goings. Paiva has landed a few legs kicks though, which O’Malley has struggled with historically.

And whoaaaaaaaa… O’Malley just crushed Paiva. He landed clean with a right over the top and had Paiva rocked. From that point he swarmed. Just a crazy output of huge shots to the body and then clean to the head. Damn…

Just crazy shot selection. O’Malley is so smooth man. Can’t be long until he faces someone high up the rankings now.

O’Malley wins by TKO

Hello everyone, UFC 269 is kicking off! We’ve already seen a number of great fights on the prelims, most notably a wild KO by Tai Tuivasa, and a great comeback win from Dominick Cruz over Pedro Munhoz. 

But the best is still to come. Let’s get cracking.

Amazon to stream 21 regular-season Yankees games on Prime Video

After skipping last year, Amazon plans to broadcast Yankees games on Prime this season, for fans in the New York area.

Aaron Judge and his New York Yankees will be on Amazon Prime Video this season.

Other notable Prime-broadcasted matchups include a Subway Series game against the New York Mets on July 2 and rivalry games versus the Boston Red Sox on July 23, Aug. 17 and Sept. 24. As with other Amazon sports telecasts, the company will be incorporating its X-Ray feature to let viewers “access live in-game stats, team and player details, and real-time play-by-play information.”

The games will be available to watch on any device that has access to Prime Video, but the X-Ray perks will be limited to those streaming on Android, iOS and Fire TV devices. While streaming on its service, Amazon notes that it does not have the exclusive on these games and that they will also air on traditional TV stations such as PIX11, YES and “other over-the-air partners for Yankees telecasts.”

Amazon’s broadcasting of Yankees games is its latest expansion into the world of sports for its Prime Video service. Last week the company announced that it had acquired the rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package for the next decade starting in 2023.

A full list of the Yankees’ games coming up on Prime Video and New York’s opponents is below. Games played on the road are designated with an @. All times are in ET.

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS sets impressive ‘Ring time ahead of November debut

The RS is more than 23 seconds quicker around the Nurburgring than the standard Cayman GT4.

What’s hotter than GT4? GT4 RS.

How awesome? Well, ahead of the GT4 RS’ official debut, Porsche took a nearly completed prototype to Germany’s infamous Nurburgring to set a lap time. In the hands of Porsche development driver Jörg Bergmeister, the GT4 RS lapped the ‘Ring in 7 minutes and 9.3 seconds. That’s on the track’s new, longer configuration; the time for the shorter, more familiar ‘Ring setup is 7:04.511. That makes the GT4 RS a full 23.6 seconds quicker than the regular GT4, which is a super impressive feat.

The prototype used for lapping was fitted with a racing seat in order to protect the driver, but was otherwise stock. The GT4 RS ran on ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, which Porsche says will be optionally available on the production car.

It’s unclear exactly when in November we’ll see the GT4 RS, though the Los Angeles Auto Show is one possibility. In any case, we’re pretty darn stoked to get behind the wheel of one of these. After all, if the normal GT4 is already so good, the RS is going to be a total chef’s kiss.

UFC 268 Usman vs. Covington: Results and reactions

All the results and round by round reactions.

Usman defeats Covington for the second time.

UFC 268 was an incredible card top to bottom, headlined by two title fights that lived up to the hype and more. In the main event, Kamaru Usman edged Colby Covington in another gruelling war. The co-main between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili was another banger, with Namajunas defeating Weili via razor thin split decision.

Elsewhere on the card, Marlon Vera defeated the legendary Frankie Edgar via a crushing front kick. Justin Gaethje defeated Michael Chandler in an unforgettable fight of the year candidate.

You can find our live, blow-by-blow reactions to UFC 268 below.

Usman is fast becoming one of the best fighters on the planet.

Usman has looked unstoppable in the UFC, but the closest he ever looked to being vulnerable was against Colby Covington. This is a rematch and, in their first fight, the scorecards were incredibly close until Usman knocked Covington out in the fifth and final round.

Usman has looked much improved since that fight. Covington has been a little less active and it’s for that reason that I’m picking Usman in this rematch. Can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Quick note — regardless of your thoughts on Covington, you can’t deny coming out to Kurt Angle’s music is an all-time perfect heel move. I love it so much.

Alright… here we go!

Covington isn’t throwing much early, which is strange, because his best shot with this fight is volume. Maybe wrestling is the plan for him this time round and YEP! He goes for the shot, which is defended.

Covington looks a little shook by that exchange to be honest. Usman is pressuring and cutting the cage well here.

And whoa… Usman gets a quick takedown, but Covington gets up quickly.

I score this round 10-9 for Usman.

I think the power difference could be a huge factor here. Usman doesn’t really have to respect Covington’s shots, but the reverse isn’t true.

The pace of this fight is much slower which, again, suits Usman. This isn’t looking great for Covington and you can see the confidence draining. The body shots are big for Usman as well.

Already we’re seeing Covington running out of options here.

Whoa! Usman catches Covington clean and drops him! Then clips him straight away dropping him twice. Somehow Covington survives the round. That’s very close to a 10-8 round. One more minute in that round and Covington would have been toast.

I score this round 10-9 for Usman.

Covington seems to have recovered and actually lands a big shot on Usman. Still, he’s being stalked and pressured by Usman, who is landing his jab at will.

Colby shoots, but Usman is extremely wise to it. I don’t think a welterweight alive could take Usman down at this point.

This is easily Covington’s best round though. At the end of the round he lands some big shots and potentially steals the round. I’m still scoring it for Usman.

I score this round 10-9 for Usman.

Colby is switching up to the strategy he used in the first fight. Throwing more volume, throwing with mean intentions. He’s finding more success!

He is landing hard and clean here, but Usman seems unphased.

This fourth round looks a LOT like the first fight, which is good for Covington. He’s coming on strong here. This is getting really interesting.

I score this round 10-9 for Covington.

Oh man, Covington is landing here, but he shoots and has it stuffed, which may have actually saved Usman.

Usman now back in control it seems but this is a tight round. I think Covington really wants to secure this fight with a takedown, but it’s not there. He still hasn’t really hurt Usman yet.

Ah damn, there’s an eye poke right at the end there. That really takes the sting out of the last 30 seconds of the fight. Which is super weird.

Very tight round but…

I score this round 10-9 for Usman. (49-46 for Usman overall).

The judges have 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 for Usman.

Yes, that is Halle Berry in there. Randomly!

I think this is, personally, my most anticipated fight on the card. Mainly because I don’t feel like we really got to see this match-up play out in the first fight. It’s a real toss-up for me. Namajunas is the slickest striker in her division, but Weili has incredible power and physicality. Traditionally, that’s been tricky for Namajunas to navigate — and when you consider Weili seems to have been training her wrestling for this contest, we could have a real fight on our hands here.

I’m picking Weili. Just have a wee feeling she’ll take it. I’m so hyped for this one.

Loved Namajunas walking to the cage with the “I’m the best” mantra. Big Diego Sachez vibes there.

The crown booing Weili heavy. We know she doesn’t like that.

Let’s goooooooo!

Weili opens with three leg kicks. Bouncing on her toes. Weili seems tentative, but gets a takedown. Had a feeling this might happen since she’s been training with Henry Cejudo. Weili now on top and in control. She’s landing big shots from on top here.

Rose scrambles back to her feet. Weili lands a good headkick but Weili seems tentative in there.

I score it 10-9 for Weili.

Namajunas’ corner want her to wait for Weili to come to here, which is great advice to be honest. I get the feeling the Weili could potentially take Namajunas down at will with the strength advantage. Have to see how this plays out.

This is a tentative round for both fighters. Weili is throwing that leg kick a lot, Namajunas can’t take too many of those. Ooft, Weili cracks Namajunas clean and now she’s on her back after a takedown. Namajunas lands an upkick, but Weili is on top now and she’s — again — winning this round.

Now Rose gets the takedown! Fascinating contest.

I score it 10-9 for Weili.

Not much happening here, but Rose just looks much calmer in there. Tough to score this round, but the leg kicks are money for Weili. I think Rose should throw some her own. I think Weili slipped, but the crowd sold it. They’re in the clinch now.

They break and Namajunas is much more aggressive now but Weili cracks her with a left hook. Now she lands a takedown that’ll probably steal the round. She finishes in full mount.

I score it 10-9 for Weili.

Both fighters are opening up now, landing shots. Great start to the round for both fighters.

Now Weili has her back, trying to get hooks in for a rear naked choke. Namajunas reverses! Now she’s in Weili’s guard. Crazy scrambles here. This is the fight I was hoping to see. Amazing stuff.

Rose finishes the round on top. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out with more energy in the fifth and final round.

I score it 10-9 for Namajunas.

I have it 3-1 Weili, but there’s a real chance it’s 2-2. This is a high stakes round.

This is down to who wants it more. Cliche, but true in this case.

MASSSIIVE TAKEDOWN from Rose. With both fighters tired, Rose might be able to keep the fight here for the whole round. Weili absolutely needs to get up, she can’t accept this position.

But Weili looks like she doesn’t have the energy to get back up. The fight ends with Rose on top.

I score it 10-9 for Namajunas. (48-47 for Weili).

I reckon the judges will score this differently. Keen to see the cards…

The judges scored it 49-46, 48-47, 47-48.

Edgar vs. Vera is gonna be a great one.

This one is just great matchmaking. Former UFC lightweight champ Edgar is a legend of MMA and Vera is a star on the rise. This one is a real clash of styles: Vera is a technical slugger with an iron chin, Edgar is the type to mix slick takedowns in with his striking.

The safe money is on Edgar grinding this one out over three rounds, but we have seen Edgar suffer devastating knockouts in recent fights. This one’s a bit of a toss-up. I’m picking Edgar.

A stat popped up showing that Edgar has the most fight time of anyone in UFC history — almost 8 hours. Wild.

Being 40 years old in the lighter weight division is just such an achievement. What a legend Edgar is.

Good sign for Vera, who stuffs the first shot from Frankie. Wild that Edgar used to the champ two weight classes above, but looks so much smaller than Vera.

Edgar gets him down with a blast double, into a choke from Vera, but Edgar gets out quick. This is how he wins this fight, with top control and pressure. This could be bad for Vera. He’s bang in the middle of the cage and could be here for the rest of the round.

Vera is defending well from the bottom here, and lands a few nice upkicks, but he’s losing this round.

I score this 10-9 for Edgar.

The fight starts standing obviously, which favors Vera, but Edgar gets him down early. We’ve already seen he doesn’t have much for Edgar on the ground. He could — again — very well grind this round out from this position.

This is vintage Edgar here. You love to see it.

But wait — Vera scrambles to his feet. Great work by Vera. He’s marching forward now desperate to land shots and win this round. He lands a huge knee of Edgar. He lands another that has Edgar stumbling. Remember it was a knee from Cory Sandhagen that took Edgar clean out in his last fight. 

Vera is gathering confidence here. He’s winning this round.

Edgar looks in bad shape as he goes back to his corner.

I score this 10-9 for Vera

You get the sense that a takedown is very important for Edgar here. Vera has the advantage on the feet here, and Edgar’s chin isn’t what it used to be.

Edgar’s shots just aren’t hitting hard enough to earn respect here. He needs a shot ASAP. He almost gets him down at some point and then bam, Vera is straight back up.

Then BAM. A massive Anderson Silva-esque front kick straight up the middle takes Edgar out clean. This fight is over. Edgar is protesting the stoppage, but no way — he was out 100%. Incredible shot by Vera.

Vera wins by TKO.

This has to be a tough one for Edgar to take. At 40 years old, you have to imagine there’s not too many fights left for this guy. The chin isn’t what it used to be and it’s tough to keep facing down these young killers.

Alright, time to take a breather.

Lol whatever, Shane Burgos is fighting.

This is the lowest profile fight on this stacked card, but both Shane Burgos and Billy Quarantillo are known for all action fights. Hard to expect this playing out any other way. This one is a real coin toss, but I’m taking Burgos. He hits harder and maintains a powerful pace.

Quarantillo comes out pressuring, trying to make this ugly with dirty boxing and tight uppercuts.

Burgos wrestles him to the cage, attempting to wear Quarantillo out.

On the feet this feels even, but Burgos is landing harder shots. They’re slugging it out in the pocket now and Quarantillo shoots for the takedown. Great round of action here. Everything pales in comparison to Gaethje vs. Chandler, but this is good stuff.

I score it 10-9 for Quarantillo

Both fighters come out trading big shots. Quarantillo will not stop marching forward. It’s clearly the gameplan to keep Burgos on the backfoot.

Quarantillo could very well win the fight on volume alone.

This round is so hard to score, they’re just landing on one another and not stopping. The leg kicks are starting to add up.

But Quarantillo gets hurt by a clean right hand shot by Burgos and now he’s getting swarmed. He makes it to the end, but that’s definitely a Burgos round.

I score it 10-9 for Burgos

As the commentary mentioned, Quarantillo’s leg is in bad shape. That’s making it easier for Burgos to land shots.

Damn the leg is worse than I thought. This could be bad for Quarantillo. He goes to the clinch to try and negate it, but  a couple of clean leg kicks and this fight could be over.

Quarantillo is surviving, trying to get close Burgos is fatiguing. This has been another tremendous fight.

I score it 10-9 for Burgos (29-28 Burgos overall)

Let’s see how the judges have it…

Yep, all three judges agree with me. Incredible fight with a ridiculous output from both men.

This one’s gonna be a banger, folks.

Apparently this fight was bumped to the card opener because Gaethje’s coach Trevor Wittman needed time between this fight and the fight of his other student Rose Namajunas.

Either way, what a way to open this card. I am beyond hyped for this fight. Two massive hitters who like to go forward. I favour Gaethje because he’s arguably the most effective leg kicker in MMA and Chandler has struggled historically with leg kicks. That said — Chandler can put your lights out anytime with that huge overhand he likes to wing.

Can’t wait for this one. The only guarantee is one of these guys is doing a backflip off the cage when they win. Chandler and Gaethje always do that!

Man, what a fight to open with. I am so ridiculously hyped for this. This is absolute car crash territory. The New York crowd is incredibly hot also. Let’s goooo.

Man, Chandler is marching forward with bombs here. Gaethje opened with that calf kick. These guys are winging with no defence to speak of and Chandler seems to be getting the best of it. Leg kicks are already appearing to compromise both fighters.

PHEW. Okay pace has slowed down. Breathe.

But Chandler lands HUGE and Gaethje staggers back. Somehow Gaethje recovers and starts throwing back. Now Chandler is struggling. These guys throwing nothing but huge loopy shots trying to kill one another. Wow this fight is exactly as advertised.

These guys are already exhausted but Gaethje looks like he could be fresher going into the 2nd round.

Wow. Just wow.

I score this 10-9 for Chandler

Slower pace here. Obviously. Chandler is fighting smart here with the jab and throwing out kicks. But Gaethje is marching forward now and has lost a bit of pop.

OOOFT. Gaethje lands a HUGE righty hand and Chandler is on his butt. He somehow survives, but Gaethje is on top landing shots from a headlock position. Chandler has survived this onslaught though. Incredible. They’re back on their feet. Wow.

How?

Chandler shoots for a takedown — can you blame him? He lands a big shot but Gaethje just smiles. Gaethje is taking over now.

Weird ending to the round where Chandler lands a huge shot but rakes Gaethje in the eyes.

I score this 10-9 for Gaethje

Those Gaethje leg kicks man. Chandler can’t take much more of them. But Chandler has caught a second wind here, he’s on his toes and landing shots to the body.

Chandler lands a HUGE takedown, but somehow in the scramble Gaethje got in the better position, landing shots. I cannot tell who is winning here, but in these exchanges Chandler is starting to wilt a little, but who’s landed the most shots? How are they scoring this? WHO KNOWS?

What an incredible fight.

I score this 10-9 for Gaethje (29-28 Gaethje overall)

Let’s see what the judges have to say…

Justin Gaethje takes it 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Before the billionaires and oligarchs, the unlikely story of football’s first foreign owner

Way before international money flooded in, the first American owner in English soccer came to the rescue of a dying club.

Prenton Park, home of Tranmere Rovers.

This international spending spree started when Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea FC in 2003, but the largely forgotten first step toward today’s globalized era occurred way back in 1984. Football clubs were traditionally owned by local businessmen until California lawyer Bruce Osterman bought Tranmere Rovers, a proud but impoverished team in the unemployment-lashed north of England. It was the beginning of a new era — but you wouldn’t have known it at the time.

“The game as a whole was at its nadir,” remembers Mark Palios, a former footballer turned businessman who played for Tranmere in those dark days of the 1980s. “Gates were low, there was hooliganism, there was a complete lack of investment. It was a sick industry.”

What followed is more than a quirky footnote in sporting history — it’s a story of conflict between passion and business that any fan of any team in any country will recognize. Palios played an unexpected secret role in the ensuing drama, only to face a horribly familiar crisis threatening the club three decades later.

Mark Palios played for Tranmere in the 1970s and 1980s, taking an unexpected role in the drama behind the scenes — before returning to the club 30 years later.

Former Tranmere player Ken Bracewell was coaching a professional team in San Francisco in the early 1980s when he was approached by attorney and keen amateur goalkeeper Bruce Osterman. The glamour had faded from The National American Soccer League’s 1970s heyday, so Bracewell was surprised when Osterman wanted more than a chat about soccer teams — he wanted to buy one.

Why would a Californian lawyer want to invest in an impoverished sports team on the far side of the Atlantic?

“I was young and it seemed like a good idea,” says Osterman, now in his late 70s. “I had some extra money as I’d done well in my law practice,” he remembers in his unhurried California drawl over the phone from his home near San Francisco. “Tranmere was in real trouble so it was a number to purchase the team that I could afford.”

Tranmere chairman Bruce Osterman filmed at Prenton Park for a TV documentary.

Tranmere’s stadium Prenton Park is only a brief ferry ride away from footballing titans Liverpool and Everton, but in 1984 it might as well have been on a different planet. Barely clinging to professional status at the wrong end of the English leagues, with no money and plummeting attendances, Tranmere had special permission to hold matches on Friday evenings instead of Saturday afternoons so locals wouldn’t disappear to watch the team’s more glamorous neighbors.

“Tranmere will never compete with Liverpool and Everton,” one of the club’s managers later said. “They’re big liners like the Queen Mary, but I see Tranmere as a deadly submarine.”

In 1984 Tranmere was about to emulate a submarine in the worst possible way: by going under.

Osterman took advantage of the strife and a disastrously weak pound to buy the club, installing Ken Bracewell in charge. “I relied on Kenny for the day-to-day things,” Osterman recalls, “because frankly what the hell did I know?”

Bruce Osterman (crouching third from left, wearing glasses), lines up with a team of sports journalists playing a friendly at Prenton Park in August 1986. Eagle-eyed fans might recognize the chap on the far left: popular TV and radio pundit Ray Stubbs, who played and worked at Tranmere.

Today’s game is full of players, managers and owners from other countries. In the 1980s it was more insular. English clubs were banned from European competition throughout the second half of the 1980s, foreign players like Tottenham’s Argentine duo Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa were still a novelty, and there wouldn’t be a foreign manager until Jozef Vengloš arrived from Czechoslovakia to join Aston Villa in 1990.

Having staved off the club’s short-term woes, Bruce Osterman showed up at Tranmere for a few weeks at a time, a few times a year. There was occasionally a language barrier with the distinctive Merseyside accent. “I used to go to sportsman’s dinners for people who had shares in the club, and I was usually the brunt of the after-dinner comedian,” Osterman remembers. “I know he was speaking English but I couldn’t understand a word!” Osterman’s family came too, although his wife found herself excluded from men-only areas such as the boardroom and team coach. “She tolerated my doing this, but it wasn’t a pleasant time for her,” Osterman admits.

Journalists were delighted by the sight of the bespectacled 43-year-old chairman diving around in the training field mud, while players mischievously blasted balls at him. This was all highly unusual, but still — Tranmere were saved.

In the days before television revenue, a lesser club’s main income was ticket sales. Larger-than-life characters attracted paying fans through the turnstiles, so Osterman made the unexpected choice to appoint Frank Worthington as the team’s player-manager.

Worthington, who died in March 2021, had two decades of experience on the field but had never managed a team. The mulleted Elvis fan was certainly an entertainer, a prodigious goalscorer and even more prodigious playboy. His autobiography, suggestively titled “One Hump Or Two,” lists more nightclubs than football clubs. Worthington joked that when he took charge at Tranmere the players thought they’d be in trouble if they got home before 2 a.m.

Larger-than-life character Frank Worthington playing for England.

In his first game before the Prenton Park faithful the dashing player-manager bagged three goals in a 6-2 victory, and he ended up scoring 20 that season. He also made shrewd use of Osterman’s limited budget — one of Worthington’s acquisitions, Ian Muir, remains the club’s all-time top goalscorer. But defence was poor and Tranmere couldn’t afford new blood.

“We didn’t have the players or the money,” Osterman admits. “I had no idea of the difficulty of handling a team even in the fourth division.”

One player understood the economics of Osterman’s situation more than most. Tenacious midfielder Mark Palios was a local lad in his second stint at Tranmere when Osterman arrived. Unlike most footballers, who typically spend their time between matches wasting money, Palios worked a unique parallel career managing money as he trained to be an accountant.

Mark Palios playing for Tranmere the night they beat Arsenal in 1973.

One day Tranmere’s directors walked into Palios’ office looking for advice. They wanted to push Osterman out. The surprised player found himself in the awkward situation of offering advice on the club’s financial future mere hours before pulling on his team shirt and running onto the pitch.

Tranmere’s cash flow crisis came to a head when the well-intentioned but overstretched Osterman tried to sell Prenton Park to make way for a supermarket. Fans, directors and local authorities turned against him.

The American dream had soured.

Thirty years later, in 2015, history repeated for Tranmere Rovers — and for Mark Palios. The club was again in dire straits on and off the field. And just like in the 1980s, a new owner stepped in. But this time, it was Palios who bought the club.

After combining his playing days with a successful accounting career, Palios had been CEO of the Football Association. A specialist in turning around failing businesses, he and his wife Nicola now tackled Tranmere’s turmoil.

Palios began a three-step process he’d applied to many dying companies: Find cash for breathing space. Use that breathing space to fix the business. And finally, bring in new investment.

Most important, the club had to break the cycle of lurching from savior to savior. Palios compares football clubs to gamblers gifted more chips who continue betting on the same old numbers. To really fix the ailing business, Mark and Nicola had to make new bets.

Tranmere chairman Mark Palios and vice chair Nicola Palios took charge in 2014.

Back in 1985, Palios quit Tranmere and distanced himself from the boardroom shenanigans to avoid a conflict of interest. Ultimately the directors exploited changes to insolvency legislation to get rid of Osterman, Bracewell and Worthington, earning Tranmere another dubious distinction as the first football club to go into administration under the new laws.

In 1987, a new buyer offered less than Osterman paid for the club. Luckily for the American, a strengthened pound took the sting out of the loss.

A new owner and manager took over, but Tranmere’s troubles weren’t over. To ensure survival they had to beat Exeter City on the last day of the season or be disastrously dumped out of the professional league.

Kickoff was delayed as 7,000 fans crammed into one of Prenton Park’s signature Friday night matches on May 8, 1987. Mark Palios was there, although in another bizarre twist he could have been on the field — for either side. Exeter previously tried to sign him, while injury-plagued Tranmere desperately searched for Palios to see if he could help out in the crucial match. “We didn’t have mobile phones in those days,” Palios jokes. “[Tranmere] should have asked the administrators — they knew where I was…”

As the sky darkened above the floodlights neither side could break the deadlock — until six minutes from time, when Ian Muir’s pinpoint cross was headed home by defender Gary Williams. At the final whistle, the delirious crowd poured onto the pitch.

After this fairytale escape, new manager John King — another former Tranmere player, who coined the “deadly submarine” nickname — kicked off a resurgence in the 1990s. The team went to multiple finals at Wembley, rising through the divisions and almost surfacing alongside Liverpool and Everton in the Premier League.

Ian Muir (right), signed by Frank Worthington and still Tranmere’s top scorer, celebrates the first of Tranmere’s many trips to the hallowed Wembley Stadium in the 1990s.

Sadly the golden era didn’t last, and in 2015 a run-down Tranmere sank out of the professional league entirely. Under different leadership that could have destroyed the club, but Mark and Nicola Palios had a plan to stay afloat. They developed new revenue streams which didn’t rely on a benefactor’s deep pockets, earned money from the stadium not just on matchdays, and built on the club’s standing in the community with training schemes for vulnerable youth. “The business model I’ve tried to produce is football-agnostic,” Palios explains. “So if I go, the business stays.”

The club is into phase three of the Palios plan: tempting investors. Palios contemplates leveraging the local area’s rich footballing heritage for projects such as a hotel, and perhaps even leaving Prenton Park (an idea that backfired for Osterman). Palios has his eye on building a new stadium at the £4.5 billion Wirral Waters dockland regeneration scheme, one of the largest development projects in Europe.

Tranmere returned to Wembley in 2017, 2018 and again in 2019, when Connor Jennings scored another last-gasp goal to secure Tranmere a second successive promotion.

Palios notes these long-term plans are “embryonic” and depend on factors like promotion to higher leagues, millions added to the bottom line, and major investors.

“It’s a way off,” Palios says of his potential vision for the future, “but if somebody comes in with serious money, you have to have a business plan. And the one thing I won’t do is limit ambition.”

To bring things full circle in terms of foreign backers, the Palios’ have shared photos of themselves courting international investment since this interview. This time Tranmere’s seeking funding from soccer-mad Indonesian businessman Simon Nainggolan, also known as Simon N.

The chaos at Bury and Bolton Wanderers in 2019 shows how precarious the football business can be even with TV money and global investment. At Tranmere, smart commercial decisions and dedicated supporters kept the club alive. To fans’ delight, under manager Micky Mellon — yet another former player — the team won promotion in 2018 and again in 2019 (only to be summarily relegated again when the Covid pandemic ended the next season early).

Devoted Tranmere Rovers fans celebrate.

Bruce Osterman still practices law, although he stopped playing soccer at 60. “If I had to do it all again I would,” he says of his experience with Tranmere. “No foreigner had ever done this before, and I met a lot of great people. It was an adventure for me.”

For today’s US-based investment consortiums, owning a sports team is all about profit. For Bruce Osterman, it was an adventure. And for Mark Palios, sport offers a unique combination of both business and passion. When fans tell him they’re proud of the club, he says, “that’s the reward.”

Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3: Start time, how to watch or stream online

Fury and Wilder face off for the third time today.

Tyson Fury, wearing his “Undertaker” hat.

But in a strange twist, Joshua recently suffered and upset loss to Oleksandr Usyk, which brings much more gravitas to Fury vs. Wilder fight. Maybe this is a fight between the two best heavyweights in the world.

It’s a huge fight regardless, with a bit of drama attached. Wilder has accused Fury of cheating in their second fight, repeating his accusations again in the lead up to this fight, claims Fury has repeatedly rubbished.

Here’s everything you need to know.

The Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder main PPV card kicks off at 9pm EDT (6pm PDT) on Saturday Oct 9. For those of you in the UK that translates to 2am on Sunday Oct 10. In Australia that’s 12pm on Sunday Oct 10.

If you’re looking to tune into the main event between Fury and Wilder, it won’t take place before 11pm EDT (8pm PDT). So set your alarms for then. Depending on how fights on the undercard play out, it could be a little later.

In the US, your best bet is probably to order the PPV via Fox Sports.

But much like the UFC events, the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight is also available on ESPN Plus. But you do need to be a subscriber to the service. This means you’ll not only have to pay $79.99 for the PPV event, you’ll also have to subscribe to the ESPN+ service.

If you’re already a subscriber, you just need to pay $79.99 for the event itself.

If you’re not a subscriber, your cheapest option is to buy a one month subscription at $6.99 plus the PPV at $79.99. But if you’re a sports fan it might make more sense to pick up the one year subscription at $69.99 to save some cash. Another option would be to pick up the Disney Bundle, which gets you access to ESPN+, Disney Plus and Hulu. That’s a deal worth grabbing.

In the UK the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight is exclusive to BT Sport for £24.95.

In Australia the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight is exclusive to Kayo for £24.95.

Here’s everyone fighting on the main card…

Toyota scraps Tokyo Olympics ads in Japan, despite being banner sponsor

With support for holding the games low among Japan’s citizens amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Toyota doesn’t want to wade any deeper in.

Toyota’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In addition, CEO Akio Toyoda will not attend the opening ceremony as once planned, Reuters reported. The publication cited new data from a local Japanese newspaper that surveyed nearly 1,500 people and found 55% did not want the games going forward. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they doubt officials will keep COVID-19 infections under control.

The Tokyo Olympics were meant to be a real showcase, not only for Japan, but for Toyota. The automaker was supposed to reveal a new battery-electric car amid the events, and readied electric, self-driving shuttles for athletes to bring them from the Olympic Village to various sites. It’s not clear if these vehicles will still be in use amid the pandemic, but the current situation certainly rained on Toyota’s showcase of new technology.

See Tiger Woods back golfing nine months after car rollover crash

Golfer’s three-second video has been watched millions of times.

Fellow pro golfer Phil Mickelson responded to Woods’ tweet with encouragement and a challenge.

“As I’m hanging in Montana, it’s great to see Tiger swinging a golf club again,” Mickelson tweeted. “I know he can’t stand me holding a single record so I’m guessing HE wants to be the oldest to ever win a major. I’ll just say this. BRING IT!”

Back in May, Woods told Golf Digest that his rehabilitation after the crash was tough.

“I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past injuries, but this was more painful than anything I have ever experienced,” he told the magazine.

It’s unknown when Woods might be able to return to the PGA tour, although People magazine recently quoted an unnamed source saying that Woods does want to return to professional play when he’s able.

T-Mobile’s free MLB.TV offer is now available ahead of 2021 Opening Day

The carrier’s wireless customers will get free baseball as the long-running promotion continues.

Read more: MLB 2021: How to watch the Dodgers, Mets, Yankees and more baseball without cable

From there you will log into or create an MLB.com account that will link to the free MLB.TV offer and allow you to watch baseball on the MLB app on phones, tablets, computers, game consoles and smart TVs.

T-Mobile has offered the MLB promotion for years. Last year, alongside a pandemic-shortened baseball season, it also included a free one-year subscription to sports publication The Athletic.

Those interested in the free MLB.TV offer will need to sign up for the perk before it expires at 1:59 a.m. PT (4:59 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, April 6.

How 5G played a role in the Phoenix Suns’ historic NBA title run

The wireless technology gave the team an edge when it came to crunching the data on its players to find ways for them to improve.

Chris Paul and Devin Booker during the 2021 NBA playoffs.

The new tools helped general manager James Jones and the rest of the coaching staff better evaluate player performance and adapt in real time. Ryan Resh, the Suns’ head of data analytics, credits 5G with “pushing the NBA’s boundaries” regarding how the coaches train and teach their athletes.

The Suns’ use of 5G is an example of one of the many different applications of the wireless technology beyond higher speeds on your phone. The technology, rolling out across the globe, is expected to transform many industries, including sports. Professional and college teams are installing 5G in stadiums and arenas to improve the on-site experience, and apps are emerging that let fans view replays from different angles or feel like they’re a part of the action. Teams are exploring ways to use 5G to improve the performance of the athletes themselves by quickly collecting huge amounts of data — something that isn’t possible with 4G or Wi-Fi.

“5G is allowing us to … take those movements and those analyses and make them so real-time that the process just becomes iterative and seamlessly flows into the working procedure of our coaches and our players,” Resh said in an interview.

While sports teams have been using analytics to improve player performance nearly as long as sports have existed, 5G is emerging as a new way to make that analysis even more effective. The key is the technology’s high speed and low latency. Cameras and sensors can collect data and provide insight in real time, letting coaches instruct their players on the fly or detect injuries before they become bigger problems. For the Suns, the intersection between 5G and athletics made its mark this NBA season.

“The 5G lab keeps the Suns on the cutting edge,” Jones said in a statement. “That cohesion provides our staff with unparalleled opportunities to efficiently unlock each athlete’s fullest potential.”

The need for real-time data is becoming more and more important in sports. Prior to the rollout of 5G and installation of sensors and cameras in arenas, players were used to waiting until the next day to review film highlighting in-game mistakes. While players and coaches still review film after games, the 5G lab offers data within milliseconds — something that once took several minutes to calculate.

“Coaching has been around for thousands of years, where coaches go out there and with their gut, they watch things,” Brian Mecum, vice president of device technology for Verizon, said in an interview. “Well, how about if we trust data, and how about if we flip it and trust what science is telling us by what it can measure?”

While Verizon is building 5G in more than 60 stadiums and arenas, its partnership with the Phoenix Suns is different. No other team working with Verizon uses 5G to help with real-time analytics.

5G helps the Suns coaching staff quickly gather and crunch data from three different tools. With a technology called Noah, the players are able to get real-time feedback, live and automated in-game data, and in-depth post-practice and game analytics. For instance, the practice center’s hoop is equipped with sensors that allow Noah to track the arch consistency, the depth and the left and right trajectory of the ball. Coaches will be able to compare subpar performance against a player’s peak, letting them know instantly what places or situations on a court have the best odds for sinking a shot.

“It gets down to centimeter accuracy, and it also has the ability to look at things in three dimensions [along] the X, the Y and the Z axis,” Verizon’s Mecum said. A player may not be able to tell in real time why their shots aren’t going in without the in-depth arc and angle analysis Noah provides.

“This team took and learned that sometimes players were spending too much time shooting, for example, they were taking too many shots and that was affecting the effectiveness of their shots,” Mecum said.

Adding Noah to the Sun’s practice facility has shown real results for the team. One younger player had a tough time consistently sinking his shots. With Noah and the tracking sensors installed in the rafters above the hoop, the coaching staff was able to show the player where his jump shots typically landed and where his performance was the weakest.

“That was enlightening to him because it allowed him to accept that his mechanics may not be as consistent as he wants them to be, which is not something that you really feel, in real time,” Resh said. “His work did eventually pay off in the playoffs, and he was our best three-point shooter.”

Another analytics source used by the Suns is called ShotTracker. Players and coaches are able to use a sensor-based system that generates shooting analytics stats to teams — and fans — thanks to a sensor placed on the ball. Players must also wear a small tracking device, and there are sensors in the rafters above the rim to pinpoint the location of the shot. Specifically, more than 100 sensors communicate to the coaches in real time what players are doing (or not). This allows both players and coaches to go back and review how many shots were taken and exactly where they were shot.

The final piece of the Suns’ technology expansion relates to lateral movement off the court. With the help of Simi’s motion capture cameras, coaches are able to track players’ abilities both before and after injuries. A returning player may feel they are back to normal, but coaches are able to see in real time if the player is healed or not by comparing the post-injury performance to the player’s baseline. The Suns are using Simi in the weight room to track static movements — but have hopes to one day use Simi to predict how players move on the court.

In the practice facilities, the Suns’ are also using Bertec’s 3D force plates in combination with Simi’s cameras. The Bertec plates, which players stand on, are able to track a player’s gait, jump and balance while Simi captures the movement in real time. Simi shows the coaches, the movement, while the Bertec plates provide data about pressure and other characteristics.

“While Wi-Fi can accomplish that, what 5G does is it makes it so fast [and] the latency is so low, that as soon as a player is done jumping, [the data is] there in front of them,” Resh said

Latency is the response or lag time between sending a signal and receiving one back, and 5G’s shorter latency is how it makes a difference in sports analytics.

“You want to reduce the delay as much as you can to give [people] real-time experiences,” said Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell. “Every little bit helps.”

3G networks had latencies in the hundreds of milliseconds, which is an appreciable fraction of a second. 4G networks, which enabled smartphones and all of the apps we use today, started with latencies of about 100 milliseconds and now are down to a range of about 30 milliseconds to 70 milliseconds. 5G aims to get to 1 millisecond, but it’s currently at about 20 milliseconds to 30 milliseconds, which is faster than the human eye blinks, Verizon’s Mecum said.

Fans are able to view a game from multiple camera angles.

An essential piece of the Suns’ practice facilities and arena is their use of millimeter wave 5G. MmWave is a band of radio airwaves that provides super-high speeds but can only travel short distances and gets blocked by objects like windows and trees. For sporting venues, though, those downsides aren’t an issue. Teams can easily install towers where needed in stadiums and arenas. MmWave’s ability to handle a huge number of devices on one network, at the same time, is ideal for fans during a game.

With the Suns’ stadium app, fans are able to receive feedback similar to what the coaches see while watching the game. The app is available to users with or without 5G phones. Seven different camera angles let fans view replays and real-time stats on the players. The app is available both in the stadium and at home. “You can go back and look at replays, and you’re in control instead of waiting for the jumbotron,” Mecum said.

Suns’ players and coaches are also able to get real-time feedback that lets them make live adjustments. The speeds needed to interpret this data captured during the Suns’ practice is only available over 5G, the coaching staff says. Neither Wi-Fi nor 4G can produce the results as quickly.

For now, the Suns are only using real-time analysis over 5G in the team’s practice facility. The NBA has strict guidelines surrounding what data collection is available in-game and doesn’t allow the kind of analysis the Suns perform in the practice facility.

The Suns aren’t the only ones interested in the numbers. Sports analytics bridges the gap between team stats and interpretation. When teams crunch data, the goal is almost always to figure out where performance fell short. After establishing areas in need of improvement, teams can optimize practice time using the data found from analytics. It’s a big business — the global sports analytics market size is expected to grow from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $5.2 billion by 2024, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets.

“When you are a professional athlete, standing on your feet just moving around a basketball court is actually considered work,” Resh said. “When you don’t have a ton of time to practice, you have to make your practices as efficient as possible.”

As the intersection between sports and analytics continues to grow, there is a need for 5G and real-time data, said Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin. Many sporting venues are incorporating 5G and mmWave to receive feedback as quickly as possible.

Perhaps the best-known example of sports analytics was captured in the 2011 film Moneyball. The movie, based on the Oakland Athletics baseball team, explained how analysis and statistics alone could lead to victories.

Brad Pitt played then-A’s general manager Billy Beane, who put together a winning team utilizing analytics and minimal funding. He studied sabermetrics, “the objective knowledge about baseball,” to rebuild the team on a low budget. Through studying these analytics, he led his team to a 20-game winning streak, the longest one in franchise history.

While the Suns can use 5G to track performance in the practice arena, the coaches aren’t able to do such analysis in the arena. Instead, Second Spectrum exclusively partners with the NBA, as well as soccer’s Premier League and Major League Soccer, to provide in-game player tracking.

After an initial response, Second Spectrum didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Players, coaches and fans can use Second Spectrum to access years of game history and find game playbacks within seconds. The company uses machine learning and computer vision to form a tracking system. It’s able to collect 3D data live from cameras within the arenas and then generate reports showing player location, player stats and the type of play in progress.

Even though the Suns didn’t come out on top this season, the conversation around what 5G has provided is just beginning.

“That real-time feedback is what we found to be the best method of teaching and learning for our players and for our coaches,” Resh said.

CNET’s Shara Tibken contributed to this report.

Correction, 11:19 a.m. PT: This story initially misstated the Phoenix Suns’ history with the NBA Finals. The team has made it three times, in 1976, 1993 and 2021, losing each time four games to two.