Slim Pickens
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Slim Pickens

Blake Wynveen
Nathan Baugh
Blake Wynveen, Nathan Baugh
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- Nathan Baugh
In today's Sprint:
🥊  Started at the bottom
🏀  NBA trade deadline
🏈  WFT drama
Trivia: Who is the winningest fighter in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)?
  1. Donald Cerrone
  2. Conor McGregor
  3. Jon Jones
  4. Dustin Poirier

UFC
Now We Here
On Saturday night, Francis “The Predator” Ngannou squares off against the current UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, at UFC 260.
For a kid from Batie, Cameroon, locally referred to as “The Sand Village,” that’s nothing short of incredible.
Growing up quick: At the age of 10, Ngannou started working at the local sand mines to support his single mom and grandmother while paying his way through school. He idolized Mike Tyson, but was told he dreamed too big. Francis didn’t agree.
After a stint in Cameroon’s capital of Douala, Ngannou moved to France to focus on boxing full time.
On his first day living on the streets of Paris, Ngannou did three things:
  1. Learned where to eat
  2. Learned where to sleep
  3. Found a boxing gym
Francis was homeless in Paris for three months, bouncing between different shelters whenever he wasn’t in a gym. But most gyms had limited hours and were closed on holidays. In search of somewhere permanent, Francis came across the MMA Factory. The owner, Fernand Lopez, became his manager and introduced him to mixed martial arts.
Shortly after, Francis was dominating the French MMA scene. And, on his 29th birthday, he received a contract with the UFC.
Fast forward: Ngannou is 15-3 in the UFC (one of those losses is courtesy of Stipe back in 2018) and starting to hit his stride. In his last four matches, he’s KO'd his opponent in 45, 26, 71, and 20 seconds.
That’s a grand total of less than three minutes to knock out four worldclass fighters.
Zoom out: Nine years since being homeless on the streets of Paris, Francis Ngannou will fight in front of millions at UFC 260 with the chance to become the world’s heavyweight champion.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
Deadline Day
As the NBA trade deadline (3:00 ET today) nears, several high profile players like Kyle Lowry, Lonzo Ball, and Aaron Gordon may have played their last games with their current teams.
(23-29) Dallas Mavericks 128 vs. (10-34) Minnesota Timberwolves 108
  • Anthony Edwards became the 5th teenager to average 25 points per game over a 10 game span, joining LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Luka Doncic, and Zion Williamson.
(15-29) Orlando Magic 112 vs. (29-14) Phoenix Suns 111
  • Evan Fournier’s game winning floater may have been his last as a member of the Magic, and helped cool off the Suns.
College Basketball - Women's
Round of 32: #2 Texas A&M 84 vs. #7 Iowa State 82 - OT
  • Jordan Nixon’s (35 pts, 2 reb, 7 ast) buzzer-beater punched the Aggie’s ticket to their third straight Sweet 16.
Round of 32: #2 Maryland 100 vs. #7 Alabama 64
  • The Terps showed their high powered offense, outscoring the Tide 30-9 in the first quarter en route to their seventh (!) game of 100+ points scored.
NHL
(20-11-2) Pittsburgh Penguins 5 vs. (6-21-4) Buffalo Sabres 2
  • After losing their 15th game in a row, Buffalo fans are already looking toward football season.
(12-20-3) Ottawa Senators 3 vs. (15-16-3) Calgary Flames 1
  • Ottawa is beginning to creep out of the NHL North Division basement thanks to a sweep of the Flames, who have only scored two goals in their last three games.

THURSDAY WATCHLIST
NBA
Portland Trail Blazers (25-8) vs. Miami Heat (22-22) - 7:30 ET on TNT
Philadelphia 76ers (31-13) vs. LA Lakers (28-16) - 10:00 ET on TNT
NHL
New York Rangers (14-13-4) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (15-12-4) - 7:00 ET on ESPN+
Carolina Hurricanes (21-7-3) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (13-13-7) - 7:00 ET on ESPN+
New York Islanders (21-8-4) vs. Boston Bruins (16-8-4) - 7:00 ET
Tennis - Miami Open
2nd Round: #1 Ashleigh Barty vs. Kristína Kučová - 1:00 PM ET
2nd Round: #3 Simona Halep vs. Caroline Garcia - 5:00 ET

WATER COOLER TALK
🏈  Dan Snyder, one of football’s more controversial owners, decided to buy out the Washington Football Team’s minority shareholders to own 100% of the franchise and ensure his total control. Sorry, WFT.
🏈  Georgia wide receiver George Pickens tore his ACL in practice. A rising junior, Pickens was widely viewed as the best receiver in the country heading into the 2021 season.
🏈  Wide receiver Rondale Moore posted a blazing 4.29 second forty-yard-dash time and a 42” vertical at Purdue’s Pro Day.
🏀  An argument between the Raptors’ Pascal Siakam and coach Nick Nurse had to be broken up by teammates after a loss to the Cavaliers. The Raptors have lost nine in a row.
⚾  The MLB is cracking down on the use of foreign substances (like pine tar) by pitchers. Another rule designed to promote a more offensive and exciting game.

TRIVIA ANSWER
A. Donald Cerrone, known as “The Cowboy,” has 23 wins in 36 bouts in the lightweight and welterweight divisions. That’s the most wins in UFC history.