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Garbrandt gets pep talks from Kobe, Tyson before UFC fight

first_imgJo Koy: My brain always wants to think funny Coco’s house rules on ‘Probinsyano’ set Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Garbrandt puts the bantamweight belt on the line when he fights T.J Dillashaw (15-3) in what could be the fight of the night on a three title-fight card.“We’re the real main event,” Garbrandt said.Garbrandt won the championship at UFC 207 when he battered Dominick Cruz, snapping his 13-bout winning streak with flair. Garbrandt repeatedly knocked down Cruz in the fourth round and handed him his first MMA loss since March 24, 2007.Garbrandt, a native of Uhrichsville, Ohio, was a competitor on the reality series “The Ultimate Fighter” for fellow Team Alpha Male teammate Urijah Faber when he famously shoved McGregor and they had to be separated. Garbrandt would later coach against Dillashaw on TUF.UFC President Dana White has said Garbrandt’s talent and remarkable charisma gives him the potential to become UFC’s most marketable budding star in 2018.ADVERTISEMENT Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene Totally able FILE – Cody Garbrandt, right, celebrates as he receives his belt after defeating Dominick Cruz, left, in a bantamweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 207 in Las Vegas. Garbrandt is slated to defend his title against TJ Dillashaw on Saturday at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)NEW YORK — Cody Garbrandt got a pair of championship pep talks in the week leading up to the biggest fight of his career: Kobe Bryant and Mike Tyson each stopped by for a motivational pick-me-up and to rub elbows with perhaps UFC’s next big thing.Garbrandt yearns to share more than championships with the stars — he wants to be stamped with the same greatness that defined them.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Kiss-and-tell matinee idol’s conquests: True stories or tall tales? Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson UFC wraps up its first year of cards in New York with its second trip to Madison Square Garden. McGregor headlined a card last November that set an MSG gate record of $17 million.White said the sold-out 217 show should again rake in the cash.“We’re No. 1 here and this weekend we’re going to be No. 3,” White said. “New York’s been very good to us and we’re going to continue to come. We want to be No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 at MSG.”UFC also ran a show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and one in Buffalo. UFC seems poised to expand its East Coast footprint in 2018 with a card set for Boston and a possible return to New Jersey’s Prudential Center on the horizon.“This will be the biggest year in company history. We’re on track for the biggest year ever,” White said of UFC’s profits.COVER BOYMcGregor, the lightweight champion, was revealed Friday as the EA UFC 3 cover boy. McGregor shared the cover last year with Rousey. McGregor is coming off his richest payday yet in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr., and said he wants a piece of the company before he returns to UFC.White was confident McGregor would return, possibly for a bout against interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson.“As we go into negotiations with Conor, there’s always all kinds of crazy stuff out there,” White said. “We always get deals done with Conor. Conor has been easy to deal with, and we’ll get it done.” It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson “It humbles you to have Dana White and the UFC believe in you, finally,” he said. “I feel I am going to be the next superstar. However, that doesn’t put extra hype or pressure on me to fulfill those shoes. I go out there and perform. And look, I have fun fighting.”Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw could be the fight of the night, but here’s what else to check out at MSG:HISTORYJoanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0) puts the 115-pound championship on the line against Rose Namajunas (6-3). Jedrzejczyk is set to tie Rousey’s mark of six title defenses.With a win Jedrzejczyk would make UFC history — and maybe headline her own PPV card.“There’s no if. I will,” Jedrzejczyk said.GSP RETURNSSt. Pierre ends his four-year sabbatical to fight Bisping for the middleweight championship in the main event. St. Pierre was one of the UFC’s biggest stars and pay-per-view draws during his long reign atop the 170-pound division, but the Canadian star walked away in November 2013.“He looks impregnated by aliens,” Bisping said.NEW YORK, NEW YORK The 26-year-old Garbrandt, a tattooed tough guy with remarkable charisma out of Ohio, makes his first defense of his 135-pound title Saturday night at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden.His rapid ascent up the card — on the strength of an 11-0 record — has him positioned as a fighter who could make the leap into pay-per-view headliner and gravely needed superstar.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogThe MSG card is headlined by two stars pushing 40 in middleweight champ Michael Bisping (38) and UFC veteran Georges St. Pierre (36). UFC mainstream stars Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey have no fights on the horizon. Jon Jones, perhaps the greatest pound-for-pound MMA fighter ever, is again out indefinitely as he faces his latest doping penalty.The cage door for a breakthrough star is wide open for 2018. MOST READ Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Zidane risks reputation to usher in new era at Real Madrid

first_img0Shares0000Zinedine Zidane was re-appointed as coach of Real Madrid on Monday. © AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOUMadrid, Spain, Mar 12 – Zinedine Zidane stood for 29 minutes fielding questions but all of them really came down to two: Why now? And, what next? In a packed auditorium in the belly of the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday night, Raul and Roberto Carlos took their seats in the front row while journalists squeezed up against the walls, an hour and a half after the official announcement. Santiago Solari had been sacked as coach of Real Madrid and in his place Zidane would return, 284 days after he had left. On May 31 last year, sitting next to the club’s president Florentino Perez, Zidane had said the team would not keep winning with him in charge. They failed to win without him, first under Julen Lopetegui, the sacked Spain coach, and then Solari, the interim-turned-permanent coach, who watched on as Madrid’s season went up in smoke in six days. Solari’s exit was inevitable but the idea any suitable replacement would take over for 11 La Liga games, with nothing to preside over except the aftermath of a crisis, seemed fanciful. “When the president called me the first thing I thought was: go,” said Zidane. Which begs the question: what has changed? Rest may have refreshed motivation, particularly for Zidane, who said himself, “I have never been far away”. He has stayed in Madrid and attended a handful of matches, while three of his sons still play for the club at various levels. For him, the move back might have been less of a leap than it seems from the outside. Yet the greatest lure may be that the team has been failing. For the best coaches, and players, there is always self-belief, a sense that no problem is too big to solve. Zidane knew he would return with more authority than ever, far more even than after he had hoisted a third consecutive Champions League trophy. The suspicion then was that he was just a face, a popular manager to keep the ship steady while star players engineered their own success. As two coaches came and went, Zidane’s stock rose with every chance missed, every seat left empty and every point that Barcelona moved further away. “I returned because the president called me. I love him and I love this club,” he said. “We will change things, for sure, for the years to come.” Zidane could have waited until the summer but the job might not have been available. Jose Mourinho, speaking on his increasingly regular public appearances, seemed eager. Perez was under fire from all directions, from the fans, many of whom blamed the board more than Solari in the newspaper polls, and from the players, led by Sergio Ramos. “The problem is bad planning,” Ramos reportedly shot back during a heated argument with Perez following last week’s defeat to Ajax.– ‘New golden era’-A new coach could ease the pressure and one like Zidane, remove it almost completely.“We need to start working on a new glorious era,” said Perez. “That is why we welcome back Zinedine Zidane.” Zidane has three months to decide what needs changing. He arrives under no illusions. Madrid triumphed in Europe but in La Liga last season, Barcelona finished 17 points ahead. Now the gap is 12. “I don’t forget what we won but I also don’t forget the bad things we did all together last year,” he said. The temptation might be to discard a lot and spend even more, but the challenge for Zidane is to find the balance between reform and revolution. A fresh start could bring ousted players in from the cold while progress made by talented youngsters like Vinicius Junior, Sergio Reguilon and Marcos Llorente could quickly be lost. Ronaldo has gone and, while it was unavoidable the team would miss him, others have struggled to fill the void. Gareth Bale and Zidane were barely speaking during the second half of last season and Bale is understood to be less than enthused by the Frenchman’s return. A clean slate is possible but a parting appears more likely. Zidane and Gareth Bale did not appear to see eye to eye last season © AFP / GABRIEL BOUYSDecisions will need to be made too on Marcelo and Isco, who have both endured torrid seasons, while Keylor Navas was once a favourite of Zidane’s, which could spell trouble for Thibaut Courtois. Luka Modric, heavily linked with a move to Italy last summer, may feel it is time for something new. Zidane’s biggest gain is Vinicius, who may not take play again this season as he recovers from an ankle injury, but whose emergence has been Madrid’s one shining light. The 18-year-old has flourished though on the left of a front three, which puts any move for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard in a sticky spot. Neymar or Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain will again be touted. “I would like them both,” Perez said on Monday. For now though, Real face Celta Vigo on Saturday, with a squad reunited and spirits lifted. It is like Zidane has never been away.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more