May 14, 2019
This past weekend the two top MMA leagues were in action with Bellator and UFC staging major events and both saw title belts change hands.
At UFC 237, the main event had Rose Namajunes defending her strawweight championship against the hometown favorite, Jessica Andrade with thousands of Brazilians making noise all night. As the Brazilians in attendance cheered “Uh vai morrer” (“You're going to die”) as they always do, Rose dominated the opening round and into the second round before Andrade put herself into position for her patented “Bate-estaca” or what Americans term as a “pile driver.” That’s a pro wrestling move but this one unlike in the WWE is REAL.
So real in fact that anyone witnessing the championship winning maneuver might have thought the former champion just had her neck broken or worse. It looked that bad. Reflecting back on the moment, now the question is did Rose Namajunes make a fatal mistake in how she handled the slam that ended her title reign?
Andrade may have led on to what Rose did wrong with this commentary after the fight:
“He (her coach) had said to me that if she got you in a triangle or an arm-lock, for me to pile-driver and I was good at that. It worked out in the end. He yelled out, Get your head out and, when I did that, I picked her up like a feather. She was really light, I didn’t even imagine she would be that light. When I threw her, SHE DIDN’T LET GO OF THE ARM, so that’s what happened. I wanted to throw her on the back to work the ground and pound and that ended up happening. But it was good for me, it ended quicker.”
What I put in uppercase and bold up there could be the reason Namajunes is champion no more. Had she released Andrade’s arm it is in question as whether the slam would not have been as impactful and perhaps the former title holder would have landed differently or would it have had the same result?
Regardless, Namajunes was rendered unconscious just long enough that the fight was stopped and we have a new women’s champion. Namajunes’ post-fight comments and feelings however have absolutely tainted her legacy. What she said is this:
“I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m not going to make no decisions right now. It’s just hard to keep having fun with this.”
She’s talking retiring from MMA and walking away. Following her loss to Amanda Nunes, Ronda Rousey did the same thing. A sign of a poor loser. Namajunes is trying to tell us now that she was thinking retirement in days leading up to UFC 237. That’s bullshit. She fought about as good a first round against Andrade that any fighter could have. She was DOMINATING. She was so sharp that if not for that one slam, she would have won this fight easily and then we have to wonder would she still be talking retirement if she had retained her belt? NO.
Here’s the difference between the ex champion Namajunes and a REAL class champion in Anderson Silva, who also lost on Saturday. Silva had his knee crushed by Jared Cannonier and lost his fight but while others are calling for his retirement, there is no quit in one of the greatest MMA fighters ever. Just listen to how he sees his future:
“The saying is, I’m going until the end and the more they pressure me, the more I’ll want to go until the end. There’s nothing more wild than feeling sorry for yourself. An old lion, surrounded by hungry hyenas, crazy to eat him, and he stills fights until death without ever feeling sorry for himself. And it won’t be different with me. Strength and honor."
As for Andrade, while she was completely outclassed in the first and part of the second round, credit to her for showing heart and courage and staying the course despite being bloodied up. She’s a tough little cookie and while Joanna Jędrzejczyk has beaten Andrade in the past, watch for the former champ to challenge the new champ again thinking it will get her the title back. But I say to that, don’t count your chickens before they hatch because Andrade is a different fighter now as is J.J. who has taken a step backward.
As for the rest of UFC 237, there were eight bouts between a Brazilian and a fighter from another country and the hometown combatants lost five of those eight. That included the loss by Silva, and a loss by Thiago Alves, Beche Correia lost again and looked awful in doing so, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira got KOd when Ryan Spann landed a nearly perfect blow to his chin in the first round, and then perhaps the biggest disappointment of the night was Alexander Volkanovski upsetting former champion and the man who got the loudest cheers on Saturday, Jose Aldo. In a word, Aldo DID NOT SHOW UP.
One last word on the UFC 237 action, congratulations to B.J. Penn as he establishes a new record for futility by losing his SEVENTH straight fight. This one to a much more active Clay Guida. Who is allowing this fool to keep fighting? Ridiculous.
Over at Bellator 221 which started at the same time the UFC did, their main even was Michael Chandler vs. Patrício “Pitbull” Freire and Chandler loses his belt in the first round by TKO. Pitbull got revenge for his brother who had lost to Chandler. IN the co-main event, the undefeated Michael “MVP” Page suffered his first defeat in dramatic fashion as Douglas Lima knocked him out with a perfect leg kick and strike combination.
How about those Pittsburgh Pirates? They spent the weekend sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals with a mixture of solid pitching, timely hitting, and some heavy bats. The Bucs now find themselves in third place behind the Milwaukee Brewers who Pittsburgh trails by just 1 ½ games and only 3 ½ behind front running Chicago. The sweep gives the Buccos a 20-17 record and while tied with the Cards in games behind, the Pirates have fewer wins and fewer losses thus being listed ahead of St. Louis.
It might be very early in the season, but the Pirates are third in the wild card race at the moment. Where to the Bucs land in power rankings at this point?
MLB Power Rankings: Astros take top spot, Red Sox back in top 10
theScore Staff, thescore.com
Welcome to the fifth edition of theScore's MLB Power Rankings for the 2019 season. Rankings will be published every second Monday throughout the regular season with the next installment coming May 27.
19. Pittsburgh Pirates
Bless you, Josh Bell. Not only is the Pirates first baseman one of the game's hottest-hitting players (.400/.455/.825 in May), but he also showed his mom some love Sunday that really tugged at the heartstrings. With his mother Myrtle in attendance, Bell posted a career-high five RBIs, including a clutch homer in the seventh. Bell leads Pittsburgh in homers, RBIs, slugging, and OPS.
If you didn’t think President Donald Trump believes the world evolves around him, then just read one of his latest tweets:
“Has anyone noticed that all the Boston @RedSox have done is WIN since coming to the White House! Others also have done very well. The White House visit is becoming the opposite of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated!”