UFC Fight Night 159 Ends in Unfortunate Fashion

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The main event at UFC Fight Night 159 had a decent amount of hype coming into the fight card in Mexico City but was unfortunately brought to a very sudden end. 

The fight card consisted of only one TKO/knockout victory, which was awarded to Steve Peterson knocked out his opponent Martin Bravo in the second round. So we were all hoping for a show-stealing main event and unfortunately, it did not even get out of the first round, and not for the reason you may think. 

Yair Rodriguez came out swinging early against his opponent Jeremy Stephens. Hitting Stephens with two solid kicks before going to a punch. While going for the punch though, Rodriguez accidentally poked Stephens in the eye, and veteran referee called time and gave Stephens plenty of time to recover. 

Stephens did his best to play it off so he could continue in the fight, but the damage was too much, as Stephens could barely open his eye. So Herb Dean had no choice but to call the fight as a no contest, with neither of the two fighters participating in the main event earning a victory. 

Fans inside the Mexico City Arena were visibly upset about the decision. As fans were throwing objects in the direction of the cageside area. 

Rodriguez was hoping to get a victory for the hometown crowd since he fights out of Mexico. Though that one mistake he made only 15 seconds into the fight, cost both fighters the chance at earning the win, and climbing the ladder of the Featherweight rankings. 

“I apologize a great deal.” said Rodriguez during the post-fight interview. “We both trained very hard for this fight, everyone spent a lot of money to come down and compete, and to support us. I feel really bad about it, Jeremy will be back, let’s do this again.”

It was obvious that Rodriguez was upset about what happened inside the cage Saturday night. He wanted to go out there and give a great fight in front of his home country and get even closer to Featherweight title contention, but this outcome leaves that possibility up in the air.

We will not know exactly how this fight will shake up the Featherweight rankings, but one thing we do know is that both competitors will have to wait for their next fight to try and better their positions in the rankings. 

It was a difficult thing to see two fighters who work very hard to fight at the highest level in MMA, have to give it up due to a no contest. Both Rodriguez and Stephens will have to just keep working and be ready when Dana White calls them for the next fight.

Truex spins and wins; Hendrick suffers disastrous night at Richmond

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Photo via Twitter/@PlanBSales

To anyone not racing in Joe Gibbs equipment, good luck finding a win this Fall. The four Toyotas of JGR are outclassing the entire Cup Series field with no signs of slowing down. For the first time in the team’s history, all JGR cars finished in the top four and Martin Truex Jr. claimed his sixth win of the season, which gives him back-to-back wins and a sweep of the Richmond races.

From the drop of the green flag, you could already tell who was going to win this race. It was the Kyle Busch and Truex Jr. show all night long. Truex claimed the first stage. Kyle Busch claimed the second stage and the two would duke it out in the final stage for the race win.

It looked as though Kyle Busch would be the victor of this battle but Truex was able to fight his way through lapped traffic better than Busch and passed him with 25 laps to go to put a cap on another dominant performance.

Denny Hamlin was the favorite going into this race and ran in the top five for the entire night but could only pull off a third-place finish. Erik Jones put on the performance he needed to avoid a must-win situation at the Charlotte Roval next Sunday with a fourth-place finish.

The biggest surprise of the night was Ryan Newman. Newman started mid-pack but was able to work his way through the field thanks to fast pit stops and aggressive moves on track to walk away with a sixth-place finish. Newman rockets into ninth place in the playoff standings with a gap of 13 points ahead of the cutline.

Kyle Larson was the only high-performing Chevy with a seventh-place finish. Larson puts himself eighth in points and has a comfortable margin in front of the cutline at +24.

However, tonight could not have gone worse for Hendrick Motorsports.

From the jump, all four cars were better off not showing up as they were absent from contention. Chase Elliott started inside the top five and that would be the end of his night as he would fade on every restart and throughout the long runs. He wound up finishing 14th place and got passed by Bubba Wallace with two laps to go. William Byron and Alex Bowman were caught up in an accident involving Austin Dillon in the first stage that would put both of their nights to rest. Both drivers finished laps down and are now the two men on the cutline. Byron is 16th, Bowman is 17th, and they are separated by two points heading into the Roval next Sunday.

Truex Jr., Harvick, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Keselowski, and Logano are locked into the Round of 12 on points. Elliott and Larson hold a comfortable margin and should have no trouble finishing in positions that advance them to the next round. Newman, Blaney(+8), Almirola(+3), and Byron are above but near the cutline, and Bowman, Jones, Clint Bowyer(-5), and Kurt Busch(-15) will be looking to knock them out.

If you thought last year’s race at the Charlotte Roval was absolute madness, just wait and see what next Sunday will bring.

Cup Series Preview: Richmond(Playoffs)

Photo via James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch

MORE SHORT TRACKS. That has been the anthem of the NASCAR world throughout this season and America’s premier racing organization returns to Richmond Raceway tonight with the Federated Auto Parts 400.

This is the second race in the Round of 16, so tonight is pivotal for drivers, near that cutline, to pull out a solid run and avoid the worries that come with the chaos that the Charlotte Roval will provide next Sunday.

Martin Truex Jr. has already locked himself into the Round of 12 with his win last weekend at Las Vegas and while he may be towards the front for a majority of the night, do not expect him to have the winning car as his team prepares for Dover, Talladega, and Kansas in October.

Nine playoff drivers will lead the field to green with Brad Keselowski starting on the pole and Kevin Harvick adjacent to him. Keselowski and Harvick have a comfortable margin ahead of the cutline but they are still going to fight hard and secure their Round of 12 spots. Clint Bowyer(-19 below cutline) and Aric Almirola(+6 above cutline) start inside the top ten and desperately need great runs tonight as neither driver is that great on road courses.

Erik Jones(16th), Ryan Newman(19th), Alex Bowman(20th), William Byron(25th), and Joey Logano(28th) have put themselves in a hole with their poor qualifying runs. At a track that has been deemed hard to pass on, they will need to strategize throughout the night to get the track position they need. Jones, especially, is going to need to collect the points to avoid a must-win situation at the Roval.

The drivers that need to make statements tonight are Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson. Blaney has been silent all season long without a win or a significant run of great finishes. He holds a 12-point gap above the cutline and cannot rely on another win being handed to him at the Roval. Larson does come into this race with momentum after solid runs at Darlington and Las Vegas. With an average finish of 12.2 at Richmond, look for Larson to be a dark horse contender for the win.

The favorite for tonight’s race should be Denny Hamlin. Hamlin rolls off sixth and has won three races at this track. In 26 races at Richmond, Hamlin has 12 top-fives and an average finish of 9.4. If not Hamlin, then take the driver that has a 9.6 average finish in 37 races at Richmond: Kevin Harvick.

Stages are 100-100-200 with the fuel window around 105-110 laps.

You can watch tonight’s race on NBC Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. EST.

 

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