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on walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, but got pi • Absender: dasg234, 14.09.2018 12:53

Each week, writer Brett Okamoto provides his take on the hottest topics in the world of mixed martial arts.This week, Okamoto squares off with UFC lightweight contender Michael Johnson?to discuss all things MMA. Johnson (16-10), headlines Saturdays UFC Fight Night card in Hidalgo, Texas, against Dustin Poirier (20-4).?1.?What is the final say on CM Punks UFC debut: inspirational or a joke?Johnson:?I cant sit here and watch what CM Punk did and call it inspirational. Yes, he went in there and fought a UFC fight, but I think he should have tested himself somewhere else before going in and giving a performance like that. Mickey Gall didnt even really do much. He took Punk right down and controlled him, and I think CM Punk didnt know what to expect once he started getting punched. To get an opportunity like that [and] fight for the biggest promotion -- thats a blessing. People work their entire life to get to that point and never do, and he was just given it. To go out there and perform like that? Thats not inspirational.Okamoto:?This topic has been beaten into the ground the last three days. To sum my thoughts up one more time: Punk won me over. Maybe Im being gullible, but I believe his interest in this sport was (and still is) genuine. I think the UFC saw an opportunity to monetize his debut and offered him a deal anyone in his position would have accepted. You cant fault Punk for taking a golden opportunity. I also think he looked very bad in his debut -- so bad the UFC cant justify giving him a second shot. I hope months from now we hear about Punk fighting with some random independent promotion, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, taking a fight against a similarly skilled opponent. He always said he was doing this for himself and no one else. Thatd be the way to prove it.2.?No UFC heavyweight champion has ever defended a title more than twice consecutively. Will Stipe Miocic become the first?Johnson:?Yes, I think Stipe will defend it more than twice. Its his attitude. The way hes approaching his last few fights and approaching the game, it just seems like he has no pressure on him. Thats very dangerous for opponents, when a fighter comes in and doesnt have any worries, just a great camp. I think thats what is setting him aside from everyone else right now.Okamoto:?Man, history says no -- and how can you disagree with history? Miocic is the 17th heavyweight champion in UFC history. There have definitely been champs before him I thought were up to the task, and they all fell. Not to mention, 2016 has been the year of fallen champs. I agree 100 percent with what Johnson said about Miocics demeanor. Hes a very comfortable champion. Hes got a lot of self-belief and his pulse never seems to go up, regardless of his surroundings. I want to say yes on this, but I cant get over the fact weve been here before and no one has been able to do it. My final answer is no.3.?Will Alistair Overeem ever make it to a UFC title fight again?Johnson:?I dont think hell ever get back from that performance [his loss to Miocic on Saturday in UFC 203] ?and he doesnt deserve to, if you ask me. I dont know what you can even say about a performance like that. I think it was a huge letdown. To see a guy fight like that in a championship fight makes you wonder if he even deserved to be in that fight. We all saw him running around. Thats not what people want to see. Alistair comes from a background as a great striker -- thats what people expected to see. They didnt expect to see him turn his back and run from Stipe. I dont know if that was his game plan, to try and lure Stipe into something -- we saw Overeem drop Stipe once -- but after that it didnt work, and I thought he fought really scared. I dont think he deserves another shot at all.Okamoto:?This is a tough one. I worry about Overeems ability to take a shot. You saw it at UFC 203. He was in control of that fight against Miocic and then, in a matter of milliseconds, he wasnt. A lot of that had to with durability. Miocic got dropped by a clean left hand, but he recovered quickly. Overeem, on the other hand, took a couple combinations and never looked the same. It seemed that he needed the bell to save him as soon as he took his first shot. That doesnt bode well in the heavyweight division, but at the same time, theres no denying Overeems skill. A bounce-back of two or three wins in a row is very feasible. Ill actually say yes here, but its not a very confident answer.4.?Who should be the next heavyweight title challenger: Fabricio Werdum or Cain Velasquez?Johnson:?Its Cain Velasquez, in my opinion. Werdum suffered a knockout to Stipe [in May at UFC 198] and I dont think Werdums performance against Travis Browne was good enough to make him the No. 1 contender. I think Stipe vs. Cain is a great matchup. I think Cain will press him Stipe and try to take him down, while throwing heavy hands. The way Stipe moves around, it seems hes really finding his niche -- his game -- right now. I would definitely go with Stipe in that matchup. I think his movement and punching ability would favor him.Okamoto:?I agree its Velasquez. Werdum is ranked higher, so if he is jumped by Velasquez, Werdum will have a legitimate gripe. But even so, doesnt it still strangely feel like Velasquez is the man to beat in this division? Dont get me wrong, Miocic is the champ and the undisputed No. 1 heavyweight, but theres still that feeling of, Well, if Cain could only stay healthy. Hes healthy now and coming off a very Cain-like performance at UFC 200. The time to book that fight is now. If we know anything about Velasquez, its that he might not be healthy for long. Book that fight while the opportunity exists.5.?What is the best sleeper fight at Saturdays UFC Fight Night card in Hidalgo, Texas?Johnson:?Im gonna say featherweights?Chas Skelly [15-2] and Maximo Blanco [12-7-1]. Chas has been down here at Blackzilians in Boca Raton, Florida, training with us. Ive seen how dedicated he is. Hes really tough, and I dont think many people are watching this card to see this fight. Its a sleeper.Okamoto:?You could probably call the main event a sleeper if you wanted, as this entire event is flying under the radar. I actually like Johnsons pick a lot. Skelly will likely look to use his wrestling against Blanco, who I think will be able to stuff plenty of those attempts and look to make Skelly pay for it. It looks like a potentially high-action fight. Ill also mention lightweights?Islam Makhachev?and?Chris Wade. Makhachev is a 24-year-old prospect with a lot of promise, but hes coming off a very ugly loss in his last fight, plus a situation with the United States Anti-Doping Agency in which he was pulled from an event in April but later cleared of any wrongdoing. Ive heard plenty of positive reviews about Makhachevs potential, and he has a legitimate test in front of him in Wade. NFL Jerseys Wholesale . The team says the Spain international has a muscle pull in his right leg. Barcelona hosts third-division side Cartagena in the return leg of their round-of-32 tie after winning their first meeting 4-1. Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic . The showiest items on Calgarys lot were forwards Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak. Both will be unrestricted free agents this summer. . PETERSBURG, Fla. NFL Jerseys China . Argentina winger Ezequiel Lavezzi and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi scored, with star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic setting up both despite having a poor game by his high standards. Forward Eduardo gave Ajaccio the lead in the sixth minute after being set up by right winger Benjamin Andre, and the Corsican side looked comfortable in the first half, with the lively Johan Cavalli causing problems with his probing runs from midfield. Cheap Jerseys 2018 . -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar will be out for roughly four weeks after tearing his left hamstring. PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks had their ace on the mound and drew seven walks at the plate.It wasnt good enough against the Los Angeles Dodgers.Kenta Maeda limited the Diamondbacks to a run on three hits over five innings in a 3-2 victory on Friday night. Arizona scored a run on almost automatic closer Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the ninth, but came up short.Maeda (15-9) struck out six and has seven wins is his last 10 starts. He outdueled Greinke, a former Dodger who allowed only one earned run.Greinke (12-7) gave up three runs on four hits, struck out four and walked four. The Dodgers lead in the NL West remained four games over second-place San Francisco.My slider was pretty (bad) all day, Greinke said. So I didnt really have many options after that. I didnt realize I had that many walks until I saw the stats. I felt in control of situations, besides the first inning.The Los Angeles bullpen held the Diamondbacks to three hits over four innings, with six relievers combining for six strikeouts. Jansen gave up Chris Owings triple and a long sacrifice fly by Paul Goldschmidt in the ninth, but got Jake Lamb to ground out into the defensive shift to end the game for his 45th save.Reliever Joe Blanton walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, but got pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks Jr. to hit into a force play to end the inning.If he would have walked Weeks right there to get (Jean) Segura, I would have had Kenley come in. But Joe has been a guy for us all year long, and I trust him and hes been there before, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.The Dodgers scored twice off Greinke in the first. Chase Utley led off with a double and took third on a wild pitch. With one out, Justin Turner tripled to right field, just beating the relay throw with a slide, and came home on a passed ball.Maedas momentary lack of control in the bottom of the second helped the Diamondbacks get a run. Welington Castillo singled and Maeda walked Yasmany Tomas and Brrandon Drury with one out.dddddddddddd Mitch Hanigers fielders choice drove in Castillo, but Arizona stranded runners at the corners.The Dodgers made it 3-1 in the fourth. Adrian Gonzalez scored from second base on a force when Seguras throw to first for a double play got past Goldschmidt for an error. Howie Kendrick reached on the play.Segura made up for his error, at least some, by flagging down a ball hit up the middle by Maeda that looked headed for center field and an RBI. Segura threw out Maeda to end the inning.The Diamondbacks put the first two batters on base in the sixth, but Dodgers reliever Josh Fields pitched out of the jam. Arizonas bullpen held Los Angeles to one hit over three innings, but the Diamondbacks four-game win streak ended.We left a lot of guys on base, Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. Too many strikeouts, but they pitched well. Maeda pitched well again. We cant seem to solve him. The one thing we did was run his pitch count pretty high to get him out of the game, but their bullpen is very good, especially when you get to the last guy.UFC, KNIGHT IN THE HOUSEUFC athletes Forrest Griffin (retired), Cub Swanson, Johnny Case and 2008 Olympic wrestling gold medalist Henry Cejudo, who is from Phoenix, took part in the ceremonial first pitch and met with fans before Fridays game.Also, former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight attended, watching the game from a suite.UP NEXTDodgers: Bud Norris was originally the scheduled starter, but the Dodgers will go with rookie RHP Brock Stewart on Saturday. Stewart (1-2) beat the Diamondbacks on Sept. 7 and will be making his fifth start of the season. Norris will be available out of the bullpen.Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (2-11) faces the Dodgers for the seventh time in his career and the fifth start. He is 1-2 with a 7.02 ERA in his career against L.A. 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