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Adesanya knocks out Brazil’s Costa, retains title

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Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya knocked out Brazil’s Paulo Costa to successfully defend his middleweight title.

The undefeated UFC 253 category champion knocked out Costa in the second round at the Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, on Sunday morning.

The bout was the second title fight in UFC history that featured two unblemished records.

The Nigeria-born New Zealander has now gone 20 fights with no loss.

“The Last Stylebender” as Adesanya is popularly called, kept the challenger at a distance and picked him apart with constant kicks landing clean on the lead leg of Costa. At the end of the opening round Costa’s left leg was sporting a big red mark.

In the second round, Adesanya went straight back to work on the leg with Costa simply unable to close the gap and get at the champion.

Then a high left kick landed on the temple of the Brazilian which cut him open before an Adesanya left hook grazed his head and dropped Costa to the canvas.

This makes it four UFC title wins for Adesanya, moving him into second all-time on the longest UFC win streaks.

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Balogun to critics: You can’t criticise me for not trying

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Leon Balogun

Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun has defended his commitment to the Nigeria national side after recent criticisms directed at him over his performances.

The Rangers Glasgow’s defender has come under scathing criticisms following the country’s defeat to Central African Republic during their 2022 World Cup qualifier at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos last Thursday.

The centre-back was held responsible for the late goal conceded against the minnows following a mix-up with his defensive partner William Troost-Ekong, allowing CAR forward Karl Namnganda through on goal before slotting past Francis Uzoho, in goal for the Eagles.

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However, the 33-year-old redeemed himself by scoring against CAR in the second game of the double-header clash in Douala, Cameroon – his first strike for Nigeria since he made his debut in 2014.

In an interview with ESPN, the centre-back said he had always given 100 per cent for Nigeria.

You’ve seen me play for a few years now. And you know that when I step onto the pitch I always give 100 per cent and I am always passionate,” Balogun said.

“Whether I am having a good performance or a bad performance, you can never actually criticise me for not trying. That is what I always give, that is the least I can do.”

Punch

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2022 WCQ: Super Eagles Beat CAR In Douala To Maintain Group C Lead

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Nigeria’ Super Eagles defeated their Central African Republic counterparts 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier decided at the Stade Japoma de Douala in Cameroon.

First half goals from Leon Balogun and Victor Osimhen ensure that the three-times African champions picked maximum three points away after losing at home to CAR in the first leg match last Thursday in Lagos.

The result sees the Super Eagles five points ahead of CAR and Cape Verde, while Liberia are bottom of the log with just the three points after three matchdays.

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Lagos SWAN berates Iheanacho over unruly behaviour

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The Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Lagos Chapter, on Saturday berated Super Eagles’ striker, Kelechi Iheanacho over his disrespect to a journalist, Yinka Oyedele of Brila FM, during an encounter in Lagos.

Iheanacho’s attitude, according to a statement by Lagos SWAN’s Chairman, Debo Oshundun, was unsportsmanlike.

“The attention of SWAN Lagos Chapter has been drawn to Super Eagles’ striker Kelechi Iheanacho’s disrespect to one of our members, Yinka Oyedele of Brila FM.

“Oyedele, according to our findings, was arrogantly shoved off by the Leicester City forward while the reporter was making an attempt to interview him after the team’s training on Tuesday.

“Lagos SWAN frowns at this embarrassing act and disrespect to a journalist.

“Oyedele, a professional in the practice, doesn’t deserve such ill treatment from Iheanacho or any national team player,” he said.

Oshundun added “We urge the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to as a matter of urgency call the player to order.

“It is also not out place for the football house to educate the players on etIquette and relationship with the men of the fourth estate of the realm and fans alike.

“Such measures if put in place would prevent future occurrence.

“The Super Eagles take a prime place in every Nigerian journalists’ hearts and treatment such as this can only discourage reporters from doing more and giving their best for the course of our darling national team.

“We wish the senior national team and Iheanacho the best of luck in their reverse 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture against Central Africa Republic on Sunday,” he said. (NAN)

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