UFC

Sean Strickland turned in a solid, workman-like performance to extend his UFC win streak to five defeating Uriah Hall by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC on ESPN 28 Saturday in Las Vegas. The pair had been in the cage as training partners before but, when it counted, Strickland had the edge with the harder punches and the superior clinch and ground games.

Hall looked like he had trouble getting off all evening, occasionally showing flashes of his exciting stand up skills but at other times seeming a little lackluster. Strickland dominated much of the middleweight bout with solid jabs and thudding overhand rights. Whenever his opponent did seek to make something happen, Strickland seemed largely unfazed. By the end of the fight he appeared to be walking through Hall's punches and simply shoving Hall back against the fence to control the action.

Raymond "The Real Deal" Daniels, arguably the greatest point fighter of all time and Bellator Kickboxing welterweight champion, announced on Thursday that his contract with Bellator has expired. The free agent has defeated his last three mixed martial arts opponents and is now considering resigning with Bellator or taking his talents to another promotion. Based on the tagging in his Instagram post, major organizations like the UFC and ONE Championship are being considered to land the sport karate icon.

Daniels has connections to each of these entities, as he just helped Gilbert Burns prepare for his win against karate-style fighter Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson at UFC 264 and his wife Colbey Northcutt Daniels is under contract with ONE Championship. Wherever Daniels ends up, his next match will be a must-see bout due to his flashy style of world-class striking that features jump-spinning kicks and unbelievable knockouts.

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By now the reader is no doubt aware of the latest in the saga (post UFC 264) of what is the blessing and the curse of Conor McGregor's verbal warfare and its implications. There is a veritable highlight reel in trash talk that not only rivals, but due to the lack of victories in actual competition, surpasses McGregor's accomplishments in the cage. There is no question in the MMA-sphere who the GOAT of smack is. Chael may have paved the way – having borrowed from Pro Wrestling schticks – but Conor plated those streets with gold, both literally and figuratively.
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ESPN's "ESPY" Awards named retired UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as their MMA fighter of the year at ceremonies held in New York on Saturday. Despite only fighting once in the past year before leaving the sport - a dominating 2nd round submission win over Justin Gaethje to defend his lightweight title last October - Nurmagomedov beat out fellow UFC fighters Francis Ngannou, Amanda Nunes and Rose Namajunas in the fan based voting.

Nurmagomedov, who lost his father and longtime coach Abdulmanap to COVID-19 last year, announced his retirement immediately following his victory over Gaethje and has resisted inducements from the UFC to return to the octagon. He becomes the second ESPY winner in the MMA category. Heavyweight Daniel Cormier won the award in 2019 and there was no winner last year due to the COVID pandemic.