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Kamaru Usman retains UFC welterweight title

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Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman defeated Colby Covington by unanimous decision to retain the UFC welterweight championship at UFC 268 in New York on Sunday.

With the win, Usman improved to 20-1-0, and has won 19 fights in a row, including five title defenses.

“I am the pound-for-pound best alive right now,” he said.

Covington, the former interim welterweight champion, dropped to 16-3-0.

New York State Athletic Commission judges Derek Cleary (49-46), Dave Tirelli (48-47) and Sal D’Amato (48-47) all submitted scorecards in Usman’s favor.

Going into the fight, Covington said he had recalibrated his approach and would not fight the same way as he did in their first encounter. And the beginning of the opening round revealed a more cautious fighter, though as the round progressed, Usman’s pressure appeared to force Covington into a defensive posture.

Usman got the first knockdown of the fight late in the second round, and attempted to finish Covington with a flurry of punches before the bell rang. He started the third round where he left off, but Covington finished the five minutes by having Usman pinned against the cage.

The two spent much of the fourth and fifth rounds exchanging strikes. Covington staggered Usman with a shot in the fifth, but was unable to put him away.

Usman and Covington headlined the fifth UFC pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden, and had a pair of rematches in the co-main event and main event.

The Usman-Covington fight was a rematch of their classic title bout at UFC 245. Usman won that five-round, stand-up battle with a technical knockout of Covington with 50 seconds left in the fifth round, although Covington immediately protested referee Marc Goddard’s decision, and continued to grouse about the call in the 22 months since the fight.

There was no such controversy in the first Rose Namajunas-Zhang Weili women’s strawweight title fight, as Namajunas knocked out Weili 1:18 into the first round in their UFC 261 bout in April to retain her title.

Seven months later, the result was the same for Namajunas, even if the path she and Weili trode was unfamiliar. Following a five-round jiujitsu exhibition, Namajunas defeated Weili via split decision in the co-main event.

Judge Michael Bell submitted a 48-47 scorecard for Weili, while Eric Colon (49-46) and Doug Crosby (48-47) had Namajunas winning the fight.

“It was different,” said Namajunas, who was serenaded by chants of “USA” and “Let’s Go Rose” by the partisan crowd throughout the fight. “I was pretty confident in the end I won it.”

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Oshoala nominated for 2022 Ballon d’Or

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Asisat Oshoala

Super Falcons forward player, Asisat Oshoala has been nominated for the 2022 Women’s Ballon d’Or player of the year award on Friday, Saturday PUNCH reports.

Her exploits with FC Barcelona femeni earned her a place on the 20-woman shortlist.

In July, Oshoala was awarded the African Women’s Player of the Year for the fifth time, breaking her own achievement and becoming the first person to win the CAF award five times.

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Her remarkable form which saw her produce 20 goals in 19 appearances saw her become the first African player to win the Pichichi ward in Spain despite being injured for a large part of the season (three months).

She sustained an injury during Nigeria’s opening game against South Africa at the 2022 WAFCON and Super Falcons ended the competition in fourth place.

Oshoala was nominated alongside 19 other players including.

The other nominees for the 2022 Women’s Ballon d’Or are Selma Bacha, Fridolina Rolfo, Vivianne Miedema, Lucy Bronze, Sam Kerr, Christiane Endler, Lena Oberdorf, Kadidiatou Diani, Catarina Macario, Alexia Putellas, Alexandra Popp, Aitana Bonmatí, Wendie Renard, Alex Morgan,  Beth Mead, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Millie Bright, Trinity Rodman and Ada Hegerberg.

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Messi’s Name Absent As Ballon d’Or 2022 Releases 30-Man Nominees

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Lionel Messi

A 30-man shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or award has been announced today, Friday, 12 August 2022.

This was confirmed by the organizers of the award, via their website today.

It would be recalled that Lionel Messi, who currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, won the Ballon d’Or last year after beating the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Jorginho and Karim Benzema.

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Below are the nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or:

Thibaut Courtois (BEL, Real Madrid), Rafael Leao (POR, AC Milan), Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool), Joshua Kimmich (GER, Bayern Munich), Christopher Nkunku (FRA, RB Leipzig), Trent Alexander-Arnold (ANG, Liverpool), Robert Lewandowski (POL, Bayern Munich then FC Barcelona), Bernardo Silva (POR, Manchester City),Vinicius Junior (BRE, Real Madrid), Luis Diaz (COL, FC Porto then Liverpool), Karim Benzema (FRA, Real Madrid), Fabinho (BRE, Liverpool), Riyad Mahrez (ALG, Manchester City), Heung-min Son (CDS, Tottenham), Casemiro (BRE, Real Madrid), Phil Foden (ENG, Manchester City), Harry Kane (ENG, Tottenham), Sadio Mané (SEN, Liverpool then Bayern Munich), Darwin Nunez (URU, Benfica then Liverpool), Mike Maignan (FRA, AC Milan), Kevin De Bruyne (BEL, Manchester City), Sébastien Haller (CIV, Ajax then Borussia Dortmund), Luka Modric (CRO, Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Manchester United), Antonio Rüdiger (GER, Chelsea then Real Madrid), Joao Cancelo (POR, Manchester City), Erling Haaland (NOR, Borussia Dortmund then Manchester City), Kylian Mbappé (FRA, PSG), Virgil Van Dijk (HOL, Liverpool) and Dusan Vlahovic (SER, Fiorentina then Juventus).

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Joshua dangerous in training ahead Usyk rematch

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Two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua arrived early in Jeddah to put the finishing touches on his training for the title rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in eight days, and the results are clear to see in a video posted on Thursday.

Eleven months after their first clash in London, Joshua and Usyk are now just eight days away from their highly anticipated rematch in Saudi Arabia.

They went head-to-head in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, with the Ukrainian producing an upset to claim the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts.

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Joshua will look to reclaim the belts and become a three-time unified heavyweight champion of the world, and he looks in fine shape in the latest released footage of his training.

After cutting weight and looking to outbox Usyk in their first fight, Joshua looks to have gained more and improved his power ahead of the rematch.

Since the loss last September, Joshua parted with long-term coach Rob McCracken and instead sided with new coach Robert Garcia.

Garcia criticised AJ’s game plan in the first fight, and is keen for his new fighter to use his superior physique to beat Usyk the second time around.

“When you have somebody that’s a lot smaller than you and you have the weight, height, reach and power advantages then take advantage of that,” said Garcia.

“It seemed like they had a different game plan.

“I wouldn’t even want to say it was a ‘game plan’, maybe it was just the wrong instructions. Anthony is the type of fighter who listens to his corner so he did what he was told and it was totally wrong.”

By the looks of Joshua’s build in his training footage, it seems the Watford-born fighter has taken on board the advice from his new coach.

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