All posts by phnseo

Rafael Nadal vs Lukas Rosol

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Spanish pro tennis star Rafael Nadal assured reporters Tuesday that he is in the best time of his competitive career, after a season with a lot of doubts, and some ups and downs on his perfect form when playing.

Nadal stressed that he currently does not have those nerves during the season, so now it feels good in matches and training, and that is his thought, facing the Masters in London.

Although he has never been the winner of a Grand Slam tournament, the Spanish, world number six, failed to qualify for the season-ending 15 to 22 November.

Nadal believes he has regained a competitive practically acceptable level, although not yet reached the courts that led him to dominate the sport in the last decade by the Swiss Roger Federer.

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Nadal will make a debut in Paris Wednesday, against the winner of the match between Czech Lukas Rosol and Spanish Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Lukas Rosol is a foe who must have haunted many of the Spaniard’s nightmares over the three years since Wimbledon 2012. In the second round of the tournament, the then-world no. 100 seemed almost possessed as he unleashed killer groundstrokes, untouchable serves and lethal winners en route to a five set victory over the Majorcan. And Nadal does not take any defeat – let alone early Slam defeat, at a tournament he cherishes – lightly.

In the years since, Rafael Nadal has not fallen to this same opponent again – over two meeting in 2014, and another just last week. He now leads their head-to-head record by 3 wins to 1. But that almost wasn’t the case. As the lefty competed his first tournament on indoor hard-courts just last week at the Swiss Indoors Basel, he had the misfortune of drawing Rosol first round: A player with a legendary win over him, and the flat, sharp game that loves the enclosed atmosphere. The world no. 6 had lost the first set 6-1, and Lukas Rosol was serving for victory at 5-4 in the second set before the 29-year-old produced a stunning comeback. Breaking his foe at a pivotal moment, he went on to close out a 7-5 set, before eventually clinching victory in a final set tiebreak. It was all the more phenomenal when you consider the mental issues that have plagued the Grand Slam champion in many a big moment during this year of trial.

As the pair meet for the fifth time on Wednesday – barely a week after their most recent encounter – Rafael Nadal will surely take confidence and insight from the events of several days ago. But Lukas Rosol, too, has much to be upbeat about. Inches away from upending the eventual runner-up in Basel, the Czech can be in no doubt about what he must do to achieve victory over him in Paris.

And while Nadal has the benefit of the first round bye that top seeded players receive here, the situation may actually work out in Rosol’s favour. A qualifier into the event, the world no. 76 has multiple match wins under his belt on these courts, and is coming off a win over another Spaniard: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. A 6-2 2-6 6-3 scoreline may not sound convincing, but it is a win all the same – and over a tricky opponent, at that. To have come out on the right end of a tough duel the round before Nadal can only be a positive.

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Winnipeg Jets vs Toronto Maple Leafs

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The Maple Leafs (2-7-2) finally recorded their first win at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night.

They’ll try to make it two in a row when they play host to the Winnipeg Jets (7-4-1) Wednesday night.

The Winnipeg Jets head into Toronto on Wednesday night looking for their eighth win of the season and fifth on the road as they are right in the mix in the Central division standings. The Jets have proven that season’s trip to the playoffs was no fluke and they should very much be in the fold come playoff time again this season and with the roster they have it should come as no surprise to see them challenge for the Central division crown. The Jets will likely go with Ondrej Pavelec in this spot as they continue to implore a goaltender by committee and riding the hot hand and he will match up against James Reimer who looked brilliant against the Stars and gets another crack at the starter’s gig in an audition here tonight.

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The Leafs got their second win of the season at home against the Stars on Monday night in what was easily their best performance of the year and now they will look to follow that up with another solid outing against a Canadian rival. The Buds are in the midst of a complete rebuild and the fans and players alike knew this was going to be a long season but it is nice to see them playing with some competitiveness and giving all they have against some of the league’s best teams.

The Jets (7-4-1), who have earned five points in their last three gas pulled for giving up four goals on nine shots.

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Erica Enders wins 2nd Pro Stock title

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Antron Brown and Erica Enders wrapped up season titles Sunday in the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Enders celebrated her second straight championship title at the Toyota Nationals, entering the race with a fairly large lead over her closest challenger, four-time champion Greg Anderson, in the standings. Anderson lost to Vincent Nobile in the second round of competition on Sunday, giving Enders enough of a points cushion to claim the title even before competing in the the Pro Stock final that day and winning over Bo Butner.

Along with her second title, Enders has 21 career victories. She became the winningest female in a single NHRA season earlier this year.

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Enders joined Angelle Sampey as the only women in NHRA history to successfully defend a season championship. Sampey won three straight Pro Stock Motorcycle crowns from 2000-02.

“My guys are so incredible,” said Enders, who earned $250,000. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you get the right people around you. To do it in front of all my sponsors and family here this weekend it is incredible. To cap off a second world championship here at Vegas is just crazy.”

She beat Bo Butner in the final.

Kalitta raced to his third victory of the season and 38th overall, outrunning Larry Dixon in the “It was a good day for us,” Kalitta said. “As we were going rounds, once we got past Antron cause that was an incredibly close race, I was feeling good for the finals. Not sure what happened there in the final. It was a lucky win for us, but we’ll take it. It’s Vegas and anything can happen.”

In Funny Car, Hight earned his second victory of the season and 36th of his career, powering his Chevy Camaro past Tommy Johnson Jr.

“It’s really a bummer to me to not be in the points chase this late in the year,” Hight said. “We’re not used to that. It drives you because you want to be there. It makes you dig deep so we’re not in the same position next year. We got a win out of it. Del Worsham’s a good friend of mine. I’m pulling for him to win the championship, but Auto Club pays me to win races, and luckily, we got the job done today.”

Johnson is 97 points back in third place behind leader Del Worsham and Jack Beckman. Worsham and Beckman lost in the second round, and Worsham leads by 38 points heading to the season-finale in Pomona, California.

Hines raced to his fourth victory of the season and third in the Countdown, powering past Jerry Savoie in a final with major title implications. Hines increased his series lead to 46 over Savoie.

“The biggest thing was that final round battle between one and two in points,” Hines said. “We’ve been running neck and neck all weekend long. I was in damage control all day and I was lucky enough to turn on a few win lights. That final might’ve looked pressure packed but I was calm and confident. I knew I needed a good race. The team was able to make the motorcycle go quicker in the final and we got the win.”

 

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Chicago Bulls vs Charlotte Hornets

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Chicago Bulls (3-1) at Charlotte Hornets (0-3)
NBA Basketball: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 7:00 pm (Time Warner Cable Arena)
The Line: Charlotte Hornets +4 — Over/Under: 193

The Chicago Bulls look for their second road win to get off to a fast 4-1 start. The Chicago Bulls are averaging 99.5 points on 43.5 percent shooting and allowing 95 points on 39.6 percent shooting. Jimmy Butler is averaging 19.5 points and six rebounds while Nikola Mirotic is averaging 18.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. Pau Gasol is grabbing 7.8 rebounds and Derrick Rose is dishing 5.5 assists. The Chicago Bulls are allowing just 24.7 percent shooting from deep and have won 11 of their last 14 regular season games when allowing less than 100 points. The Bulls are playing as well as you could have hoped under new coach Fred Hoiberg. Kirk Hinrich is questionable with a toe injury.

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The Charlotte Hornets need a win after a tough 0-3 start to the year. The Charlotte Hornets are averaging 93.3 points on 39.1 percent shooting and allowing 98.3 points on 44.7 percent shooting. Kemba Walker is averaging 16.3 points and 5.3 assists while Nicolas Batum is averaging 13 points and 7.3 rebounds. Marvin Williams is grabbing nine rebounds and Jeremy Lin is dishing 3.3 assists. The Charlotte Hornets are getting just 58.7 points from their starters and are one of six teams that is shooting under 40 percent. The offensive struggles for the Hornets have clearly carried over from last season. The good news is that four of the Hornets last five wins have come on their home court.

The Bulls are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Hornets are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record and 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Bulls are 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings in Charlotte.

Pay attention to Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes in this game, too. Kaminsky, despite limited playing time so far, has almost unquestionably played better than Hawes so far, and it’s only a matter of time before the rookie overtakes the veteran in minutes. There might not be a better time to illustrate the difference between the player’s abilities early in the season than this game, where athletic big men will have to play a large role no matter what.

The Hornets have played well so far, but not well enough to earn a win just yet. Despite playing against perhaps the biggest challenger for the Eastern Conference title, the Hornets will have a pretty good shot to get their first win of the season on their home court.

Observations

▪  Bulls big man Joakim Noah has bought into coming off the bench, which allows the Bulls to start Nikola Mirotic at power forward, where he’s is a classic “stretch 4.”

▪  If the Hornets don’t win tonight, there is a distinct possibility they could start the season 0-6, facing a tough trip to Dallas and San Antonio.

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Tony Thompson vs. Malik Scott

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44-year-old #9 WBC heavyweight contender Tony Thompson (40-5, 27 KOs) will be looking to add another scalp to his resume this Friday night against 35-year-old Malik Scott (37-2-1, 13 KOs) in a 10 round fight on free television in the main event on Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce TV at The Venue at UCF, located behind the CFE Arena in Orlando, Fla.

With the heavyweight division labouring slightly and both men clearly far from finished, the contest holds some interest with the winner surely not too far from a world title shot of some sort.

The older man by nine years, Thompson is coming off one of his best wins in his 40-5 (27) career. Facing old foe Odlanier Solis in Turkey, Thompson took full advantage of the younger man’s dubious conditioning and put a beat-down on the Cuban who eventually refused to box on after eight one-sided rounds.

That fight was back in February and one wonders how much longer “The Tiger” can continue mixing it with the best after 15 long years as a pro with around ten of those being spent somewhere around the world’s top ten big men.

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Malik Scott offers similar credentials to his older opponent with 40 bouts to his opponent’s 45. Scott is only an inch or so behind Thompson in the height and reach departments though could be around 20-25lbs the smaller man come fight night.

Scott, just like Tony, turned pro in 2000 and won every one of his first 35 pro contests. The Philly prospect made his name with terrific sparring of the world’s best men including Lennox Lewis. The problem was “King” never seemed to nail that meaningful fight that gets a guy’s status from prospect to contender.

After several low key victories, Scott disappeared after a win in December 2008 and wouldn’t resurface until early 2012. Credit where it’s due; Scott has faced far superior opposition since his comeback.

If Thompson looks good in beating Scott, he could have a chance of getting selected by Wilder’s adviser Al Haymon for Wilder’s next title defense. It’s not an ideal fight for Wilder though because he needs to face someone shorter to get him ready for his title shot against his WBC mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. Wilder needs to be ready for that fight because it’s potentially going to be a tough one.

“It’s great to be fighting on PBC on Bounce in a heavyweight fight like this,” said Thompson. “I’m not looking past Malik Scott because he’s an experienced and crafty fighter. I think most fighters will stay away from a style like Malik’s but everyone knows I will fight anyone. I’ll be looking to make a statement against him by pressing the action and keeping him out of his comfort zone.”

 

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East Carolina Pirates at Connecticut Huskies

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Start Time: 7:00 PM EST. Friday, October 30.

Location: Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Connecticut

Line: East Carolina -7.5. Over/Under: 50.5.

The Eastern Carolina Pirates will travel to Rentschler Field to take on the Connecticut Huskies this Friday night in College Football action.

The Eastern Carolina Pirates couldn’t hold on to a 14-10 4th quarter lead and dropped to 4-4 (2-2 American East) on the season after being defeated by the 22nd ranked Temple Owls, 24-14, this past Thursday. The Pirates were able to outgain the Owls by a 378-322 margin however committed two turnovers and allowed Temple to block a key punt late in the 4th that led to game clinching TD for the Owls. Leading the way for the Pirates was WR Isaiah Jones who had 106 yards on 10 receptions in the loss.

On the season, Eastern Carolina is averaging 29.9 ppg on 426.0 yards per game (286.3 passing, 139.8 rushing). The Pirates have used two QB’s throughout the season as they have a throwing QB in Blake Kemp (70.1 comp %, 1828 yards, 11 TD, 7 INT) and a duel-threat QB in James Summers (Throwing: 66.7 comp %, 428 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT, Rushing: 60 carries, 383 yards, 6 TD). RB Chris Harrison is the main threat in the backfield and currently has 525 yards and 7 TD on 119 carries. Eastern Carolina has a solid receiving core that is led by WR Isaiah Jones (61 receptions, 701 yards, 3 TD), TE Bryce Williams (38 receptions, 400 yards, 3 TD) and WR Trevon Brown (25 receptions, 341 yards, 3 TD). Defensively, Eastern Carolina is allowing their opponents to average 29.1 ppg on 413.3 yards per game (241.5 passing, 171.8 rushing). The Pirates have had trouble with turnovers as they’ve committed 15 turnovers on the season and have a turnover margin of minus 6. Leading the way for the defense has been LB Zeek Bigger who has 65 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

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The Connecticut Huskies had trouble stopping the high-powered Cincinnati offense and dropped to 3-5 (1-3 American East) on the season after being defeated 37-13 by the Bearcats this past Saturday. The Huskies were outgained by an incredible 612-266 margin and committed two turnovers in the loss. QB Bryant Shirreffs struggled throwing the ball as he completed just 12 of 27 passes for 87 yards and a INT however did lead the way for the Huskies as he was able to rush for 90 yards on 17 carries. On the season, the Huskies have had trouble finding ways to put points on the board as they are averaging just 19.0 ppg on 342.1 yards per game (221.6 passing, 120.5 rushing). Leading the way for the offensive has been RB duo of Arkeel Newsome (83 carries, 412 yards, 4 TD; 33 receptions, 345 yards, 2 TD) and Ron Johnson (70 carries, 150 yards, 4 TD). QB Bryant Shirreffs has completed 62.0% of his passes for 1723 yards, 7 TD and 5 INT while rushing for 342 yards and 2 TD on 113 carries. Noel Thomas is the leading receiver for the Huskies as he has 493 yards and a TD on 37 receptions. Defensively, Connecticut is holding their opponents to 22.1 ppg on 388.5 yards per game (204.0 passing, 184.5 rushing). The Huskies currently have a plus 5 turnover margin and have been led defensively by DB Jhavon Williams (37 tackles, 3 INT) and DB Andrew Adams (65 tackles, 2 INT).

The Pirates are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games following a S.U. loss however, just 2-10 ATS in their last 12 conference games. The Huskies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Friday games however, just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games.
Why East Carolina Will Win

The Pirate offense was derailed by Temple, but it was just a brief detour. And now that the Huskies have begun showing cracks on D, yielding 612 yards to Cincinnati on Saturday, ECU is poised to get back on track. The staff has done a nice job of mixing the quarterbacks, passer Blake Kemp and runner James Summers, and the skill talent is much more diverse than it is at UConn.

Why Connecticut Will Win

Sure, the Huskies are a one-note, spotty offense that relies too heavily on QB Bryant Shirreffs. However, the Pirates have been anything but consistent on defense through the first eight games. It’s a beatable unit that’s going to be challenged by not only Shirreffs, but also RB Arkeel Newsome and WR Noel Thomas.

Player Who Matters

Summers took a backseat to Kemp last week because of how difficult it is to run on the Owls. But the Huskies are giving up more than 4.7 yards per carry, while being gashed the last two weekends. The Pirates will want to unleash the shiftiness of Summers, while also giving more touches to backs Chris Hairston and Anthony Scott.

 

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015The Rugby World Cup 2015 final takes place at Twickenham on Saturday, 31 October, 2015. Kick-off scheduled for 4.00pm (GMT).

It’s the final of the Rugby World Cup this weekend with Australia taking on New Zealand.

When Australia and New Zealand run out at Twickenham, both seeking to win their third world crown, the gameplan each will try to impose on the other won’t be polar opposites, but it will be close. On one hand the All Blacks, the reigning champions and the best side on the planet for a decade and more, will rely on doing the simple things well, or better than the Wallabies. Australia are altogether adventurous.

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Both teams have managed to make it to Twickenham with minimal injuries or absences, maximising the fans’ chances of seeing the best possible XVs head-to-head at the climax of the competition.

The pair are deserved finalists after showing their exceptional quality throughout the tournament.

Both displayed their ability to dominate and dismantle teams with ease to run up a huge score and likewise grind out narrow results in hard-fought contests.

The Wallabies were fairly comfortable victors against a resilient Argentina side, though they were only one score ahead for much of the match.

According to Fox Sports’ Christy Doran and Dan Walsh, the final will be the last international match in All Black for Carter and fellow veterans Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Keven Mealumu, while captain Richie McCaw is also likely to follow suit.

The match could well be a close encounter, but New Zealand’s experience and superior kicking give them the edge that should produce a fairytale ending to several glittering careers.

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Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders

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Carolina Hurricanes (3-6-0) at New York Islanders (6-2-1)
NHL Hockey: Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7:00 pm (Barclays Center)The Line: New York Islanders -200 / Carolina Hurricanes +180 — Over/Under: 5.5
Special teams play has the New York Islanders ascending toward the top of the Metropolitan Division. With a potent power play and a stingy penalty kill among the league’s top five in both categories, the Islanders vie for their seventh win in eight outings on Thursday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Carolina Hurricanes will be looking to extend their winning streak to three games when they visit the Barclays Center Thursday and are 7th in  the conference. The Hurricanes have won back to back contests after a 3-1 victory at Detroit on Tuesday night. The Canes received goals from Victor Rask, Eric Staal and Ron Hainsey to make a winner of Cam Ward and his 25 save performance. The slumping Red Wings are slow out of the gate with defeats in five of six to fall to 4-4-1. Jakub Kindl sored the lone goal for Detroit while the loss went to Petr Mrazek who recorded 18 stops.

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The New York Islanders look to continue their strong start to the season when the Carolina Hurricanes visit on Thursday night. The Islanders received another strong performance between the pipes from Jaroslav Halak  in a 4-0 victory versus Calgary on Tuesday. Halak now has two shutouts and is 3-1 with a 1.76 GAA after a 29 save effort against the Flames. Frans Nielsen paced the New York attack with a pair of tallies while Cal Clutterbuck and Mikhail Grabovski also found the back of the net. Nikolay Kulemin and Kyle Okposo added a pair of helperseach which was too much for Flames netminder Joni Ortio who stopped 31 shots in defeat.

Projected Lineups

Hurricanes (from Tuesday’s game)

Eric Staal – Victor Rask – Elias Lindholm
Nathan Gerbe – Jordan Staal – Chris Terry
Jeff Skinner – Riley Nash – Kris Versteeg
Brad Malone – Jay McClement – Brock McGinn

Ron Hainsey – Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles – Brett Pesce
Michal Jordan – Ryan Murphy
Noah Hanifin

Cam Ward
Eddie Lack

Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR – ACL), Joakim Nordstrom (lower body), Andrej Nestrasil (lower body)

Islanders (from Monday’s game)

Nikolay Kulemin – John Tavares – Ryan Strome
Anders Lee – Frans Nielsen – Kyle Okposo
Josh Bailey – Mikhail Grabovski – Brock Nelson
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan – Travis Hamonic
Brian Strait – Marek Zidlicky

Jaroslav Halak
Thomas Greiss

Injuries and Scratches: Eric Boulton (lower body), Thomas Hickey (lower body), Steve Bernier (healthy), Jean-Francois Berube (healthy)

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Calgary Flames vs Ottawa Senators

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October 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm (Canadian Tire Centre)

The Line: Ottawa Senators -144 / Calgary Flames +130

Over/Under: 5.5

Two teams seeking salvation face off Wednesday when the Calgary Flames visit Canada’s capital to take on the Ottawa Senators. Calgary is wrapping up a three-game road trip that began with losses to the New York Islanders and Rangers.The Flames totaled one goal in those setbacks and have dropped six of their last seven contests overall, netting more than two tallies just once in those defeats.

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About The Flames (2-7-0)

Calgary heads into the Canadian capital looking for any kind of spark as they’re just 2-7 so far on the season and for a team that had so much hype coming into the year they have really been a disappointment. Calgary has a ton of young talent that is the core of their team right now and while that novelty worked out well for them last year they haven’t been able to build any momentum this season and perhaps we are seeing what a team looks like when too much of their success is dependent on young players.

The Flames have the talent to turn things around quickly but they haven’t been getting it don in their own end and against a Sens team that is very opportunistic and has a lot of offensive depth it may be tough for them to get a victory here.

About The Senators (3-3-2)

The Senators meanwhile are coming off a home loss against the Coyotes and will be looking to move above the .500 mark with a victory here as they too have underachieved a bit through eight games as they’re just 3-3-2. Ottawa made some changes in the offseason but return the majority of their team that went to the playoffs last season including Craig Anderson who will be getting the start between the pipes as the Sens try to sort out who will be their go to guy in the crease moving forward between Anderson and Andrew Hammond.

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Miesha Tate Still Disappointed

Miesha TateMiesha Tate is no longer certain that her dream of winning a world championship in mixed martial arts is attainable, and that feeling has her at a major crossroads.

It’s been two months since UFC female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey announced on “Good Morning America” her that next opponent would be Holly Holm — not Tate, who had been publicly guaranteed the next shot by UFC president Dana White after her win against Jessica Eye the previous month.

Either way, Tate knows in her heart that she is the true number one contender for Rousey even if others don’t think she is due to her losing to Rousey twice.

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“I understand why they want to make the Rousey-Holly fight but that doesn’t change the way they handled it,” Tate told ESPN. “I think it happened the way it did because they didn’t want to risk the information getting out, but in a way, that’s also insulting to me. I’ve been fighting for a long time and I’ve proven my character. I’m a professional and I can separate my disappointment from my actions.

“I don’t think the UFC did this to be malicious, but I also don’t think they gave me any consideration. This was another day in the office to them but to me it’s like, ‘you just ruined my life,’ and I feel like they need to understand that a little.”

She feels that she deserves to fight Rousey for a third time and is worried that the UFC sees her as a gatekeeper in the division.

“I fear that they want me to fight all the other top girls and the connotation is that if they beat me, they get a title but if I beat them, it’s ‘bring on the next one.’ Essentially, I feel like they have deemed me as a gatekeeper and that’s fine for awhile because I put myself there. I won and lost those fights. But there has to be some light at the end of that tunnel. If there’s not, what is my future in this sport?”

“It’s a very fine line,” Tate said. “All I can say is I don’t want it to go in that direction but anything is a possibility. If it’s clear there’s no way for me to get a title shot as long as Ronda has the belt, then I don’t know. I suppose I have to look at my options. And that’s not saying I will retire, but it’s something I’d have to think about.”

Tate made it clear that she is a company person as she has shown that in the past, but also made it clear that will stand up for what she believes in and will not let the UFC bully her around.

“When push comes to shove, I will stand my ground,” Tate says. “I’m a company woman. I went to Japan and fought on Fight Pass for relatively low exposure. I fought Sara McMann when nobody wanted to fight her. I make myself as available as possible. But there comes a point when I can not sacrifice what I believe in my heart to be right.

“I’m not saying the UFC is trying to bully me, but if they really want something and they get it in their head, that’s all they want and for me it’s not that simple. When I don’t feel right about something or if my heart’s not into it, I’m not going to do it.”

Tate (17-5) is currently on a four-fight winning streak. In her last six bouts, she’s 4-2. She is scheduled to fight Amanda Nunes (11-4), who is 4-1 in her last five bouts and is currently on a two-fight winning streak, at a to be determined event in December.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY: espn.go.com