Knockout

Knockout

Blake Wynveen
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Good morning. Mark your calendars. Elon Musk hosts Saturday Night Live on May 8th. Let’s sport.
- Nathan
In today's Sprint:
🥊  NBA gauntlet
⛳  Mullets for the win
🏀  Coaching changes
Trivia: Who is the youngest UFC champion ever?
  1. Jon Jones
  2. Conor McGregor
  3. Georges St-Pierre
  4. Daniel Cormier

UFC
Pandemic Winners
UFC 261 felt like a victory lap for the sport, featuring a star studded crowd and three riveting title fights all ending in KOs.
The fights
Main event: (19-1-0) Kamala Usman vs. (35-15-0) Jorge Masvidal
  • Masvidal appeared to showboat just seconds before Usman caught him with a vicious right hand to end the fight in the 2nd round.
Co-main event: (11-4-0) Rose Namajunas vs. (21-2-0) Weili Zhang
  • That beautiful Joe Rogan gif above was taken after “Thug” Rose’s head kick KO’d Zhang in the 1st round, regaining the strawweight title for Rose.
Title bout: (21-3-0) Valentina Shevchenko vs. (21-9-0) Jessica Andrade
  • Valentina earned her fifth consecutive title defense and a 3rd match with Amanda Nunes may be on the table.
(18-9-0) Uriah Hall vs. Chris Weidman (15-6-0)
  • Like us, Hall didn’t even throw a punch on Saturday night, becoming the first fighter in UFC history to win a match without doing so. How? Weidman broke his leg against Hall’s shin just after the fight started. Warning, the video is Kevin Ware in the Final Four brutal.
Zoom out: The UFC is in a much better position than any other combat sport. Instead of relying on larger personalities to drive viewership, the UFC promotes its home-grown talent and uses its superior distribution (ESPN partnership) to drive massive social engagement.
While other sports saw ratings dip, the UFC’s ESPN viewership was up 16% from May to October 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. It's been a win-win partnership. ESPN execs credit the UFC for helping triple ESPN+ subscriber numbers.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
NBA
(31-30) Golden State Warriors 118 vs. (39-21) Denver Nuggets 97
  • Draymond Green had one of the oddest, most impressive stat lines you’ll see - 2 points, 12 rebounds, and 19 assists.
(33-26) Dallas Mavericks 115 vs. (35-25) LA Lakers 110
  • Luka (18 pts, 8 reb, 13 ast) hit a step-back three to put the game away.
  • Meanwhile, the Lakers have the 2nd worst offensive rating in the league since LeBron’s injury.
(41-20) Brooklyn Nets 128 vs. (42-18) Phoenix Suns 119
  • In his latest return from injury, KD (33 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast) and the rest of the Nets breezed by the Suns. Brooklyn is 20-6 against Western Conference teams.
  • ICYMI: Chris Paul dropped Blake Griffin before staring him down.
MLB
(13-11) San Diego Padres 8 vs. (15-7) LA Dodgers 7 - 11 innings
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. dominated the series, taking aces Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer deep twice and following those performances up with another homer and game-winning run in this thriller.
  • The MLB has found this season's must-watch rivalry.
(9-12) Baltimore Orioles 8 vs. (14-8) Oakland Athletics 1
  • The A’s 13-game win streak, their longest since moving to Oakland in 1968, may have ended but it appears Moneyball is alive and well in the Bay with the A’s safely atop the AL West.
Football - FCS Playoffs
(5-1) North Dakota 44 vs. (5-5) Missouri State 10
  • The Fighting Hawks scored on offense, defense, and special teams to give North Dakota their first FCS playoff victory in school history.
(6-1) #1 South Dakota State 31 vs. (3-1) Holy Cross 3
  • The top-seeded Jackrabbits ran over Holy Cross, averaging nearly nine yards a carry and rushing for 281 yards.
Soccer - FA Cup Final
Manchester City 1 vs. Tottenham 0
  • City dominated the run of play, taking 21 shots to Tottenham’s 2. For Tottenham, the quest for its first major European trophy continues as the future for stars Kane and Son became even more unclear.

SPRINT'S PICKS
Stat: Jacob deGrom has driven in more runs this season (2) than he’s allowed as a starting pitcher (1).
Quote: “What a lazy pass!” - Charlotte announcers after Scary Terry Rozier picked off an errant pass from Jayson Tatum. We'd watch almost anything with these guys as announcers.
Highlight: Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier floated for for this sensational catch.

WATER COOLER TALK
⛳  Team Mullet, Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman, won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Afterward, Cam said this about his mullet, “I have to apologize to my girlfriend, it’s not going away. I feel like it’s part of me now.”
🏈  Robert Gronkowski caught a ball dropped 600 feet from a helicopter, setting a Guinness world record for highest altitude catch of an American football. Only Gronk.
🏎  Joey Lagano’s car went completely airborne before flipping upside down and eventually upright again at Talladega Motor Speedway. He was not injured.
⚽️  Real Madrid president Florentino Perez announced Super League founding clubs signed binding contracts, keeping exiting teams linked to the League until the inevitable legal disputes are sorted out.
🏀  Hall of Fame NCAA women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey is leaving Baylor after three titles to become the next head coach at LSU.
🎾  Ashleigh Barty, the world’s top ranked player, won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix for her third major of the year.

MONDAY WATCHLIST
NBA
(-10.5) Philadelphia 76ers (39-21) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-40) - 7:00 ET
(-2) Phoenix Suns (42-18) vs. New York Knicks (33-27) - 7:30 ET on NBATV
MLB
(-1.5) Minnesota Twins (7-13) vs. Cleveland Indians (9-11) - 6:10 ET on ESPN+
Chicago Cubs (10-11) vs. (-1.5) Atlanta Braves (9-12) - 7:00 ET on ESPN
NHL
(-1.5) Carolina Hurricanes (31-10-6) vs. Dallas Stars (10-15-12) - 7:30 ET on NBCSN
Premier League
(59 pts) Leicester vs. (38 pts) Crystal Palace - 3:00 ET on Peacock

TRIVIA ANSWER
A. Jon “Bones” Jones won a UFC title at the age of 23, the youngest champion ever.

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