Tagged in: weekend

Holm-Aldana UFC weekend main event called off

The organized main event for the Aug. 1 UFC Fight Night card between Holly Holm and Irene Aldana has been called off.

Aldana took to Instagram on Wednesday to announce that she had to withdraw after testing positive for the coronavirus.

According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the main event will be Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan with Holm vs. Aldana no longer on the card.

Helwani added that the current plan is to rearrange Holm vs. Aldana for Oct. 5 as the main event.

The 32-year-old Aldana has won five of her past six fights and is among the fastest-rising stars in UFC’s female ranks. Holm was set to be arguably the biggest challenge of Aldana’s career despite her recent inconsistency.

Holm is best known for her shocking upset victory over Ronda Rousey in 2015, but she is just 3-5 since the win of her life. She has fallen to big names such as Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes, but she is coming off a win over Raquel Pennington at UFC 246 in January.

Aldana lost to Pennington last year, but she has bounced back with victories over Vanessa Melo and Ketlen Vieira.

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Overall, Aldana is 12-5 with six wins by way of knockout and three submission victories professionally, while the 38-year-old Holm is 13-5 with eight knockouts. Holm is ranked second in the UFC women’s bantamweight division, and Aldana is sixth.

Whenever the Holm vs. Aldana fight does take place, the winner could be in line for a title shot versus Nunes.

The middleweight bout between Brunson and Shahbazyan will be a classic case of a clash between a grizzled veteran and an up-and-coming youngster.

Brunson, 36, is 20-7 professionally and has faced some of the biggest names in the sport, including Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya and Lyoto Machida. Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Shahbazyan is a perfect 11-0 with nine of those wins by knockout.

Shahbazyan hasn’t faced the big names Brunson has, but he is 5-0 under the UFC banner and viewed as one of the top prospects in the sport.

If Shahbazyan manages to defeat Brunson, it will be the biggest win of his career and should help him rise significantly from his No. 9 ranking in the middleweight division.

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Tiger Woods produces late birdies to make Memorial cut

Tiger Woods fought back from looking almost convinced to miss the cut at the Memorial to produce two birdies in the last three holes to survive until the weekend.

Yet as much as this great escape reminded the game of the 44-year-old’s enduring competitive spirit, for Woods, himself, this was further evidence of Father Time’s cruelty. “Ageing is not fun,” Woods said after his 76. “Early on in my career I thought it was fantastic because I was getting better and better and better. And now I’m just trying to hold on.”

In fairness, this was Woods first competitive event in five months and only his third of 2020. Rust was predictable. Except it was worrying that, after birdieing his third hole (the 12th) when hitting his tee-shot to within two feet on the 170-yard par three, he proceeded to drop six shots in the following eight holes.

Woods’s back was sore and his body language gave it away. “I wasn’t quite moving as well as I’d like and couldn’t quite turn back and couldn’t quite clear – It was a bit of a struggle,”

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Woods, the five-time Memorial champion, said. “It started this morning during the warm-up. It wasn’t quite as good as I’d like. [But] I finished birdie-birdie-par and that’s about the only positive to it today. I would like to have the opportunity to play tomorrow.”

Alongside Woods at Muirfield Village, Rory McIlroy shot a level-par 72 for two-under, five better than his playing partner.

The Northern Irishman faces a fight for the world No 1 position this weekend with Jon Rahm looming menacingly on the leaderboard on an assignment to become just the second Spaniard in history to top the rankings.

Jose Maria Olazabal never managed it and neither did Sergio Garcia, despite both winning the Masters. The late Severiano Ballesteros stands alone and as the great conquistador happens to be Rahm’s inspiration, prepare for some rich Iberian emotion should the 25-year-old climb to the summit in Ohio.

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Tiger grouped with Mcilroy, Koepka for Memorial

The head-to-head showdown many fans were hoping for this week at Muirfield Village will have to wait until at least the weekend.

Brooks Koepka will play in one of four featured groups for the first two rounds of the Memorial Tournament. However, he will not be grouped with Bryson DeChambeau, the winner in Detroit two weeks ago who has involuntarily become somewhat of a rival to Koepka.

Instead, Koepka draws the No. 1-ranked player in the world, Rory McIlroy, and five-time Memorial champion Tiger Woods, who will play on Tour for the first time since the Genesis Invitational in February.

Woods has played just three times this season, winning the Zozo Championship, tying for ninth at the Farmers Insurance Open and ending up solo 68th at Riviera. McIlroy had seven consecutive top-5s, including a victory, to start the season, but since the Tour returned from its three-month absence during the COVID-19 pandemic, McIlroy has no top-10s in three starts.

Koepka is coming off a missed cut last week at Muirfield Village and has just one top-10 this season as he continues to recover from an ‘excruciating’ injury to his left knee, which he re-injured in October after undergoing a stem-cell treatment following last year’s Tour Championship.

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DeChambeau will be grouped with last week’s Workday Charity Open winner Collin Morikawa and defending Memorial champion Patrick Cantlay.

The other two featured groups will be Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele, and Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry.

While Woods, McIlroy and Koepka is one heckuva draw, golf fans on Twitter had been lobbying for a Koepka-DeChambeau pairing after Koepka appeared to take a couple of shots at the bulked-up DeChambeau last week, first tweeting only a GIF of “Eastbound and Down” character Kenny Powers attacking a cameraman over alleged steroid allegations, and then telling reporters that he was going to “run the table” after committing to the Memorial late Friday, seemingly a reference to DeChambeau’s recent casino speak.

The perceived shots come after Koepka called DeChambeau out for slow play last August at The Northern Trust, causing DeChambeau to seek out Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliott, and tell him that he wished Koepka would make those kind of comments to his face.

The two later met on the range at Liberty National and apparently squashed the beef. Though neither player revealed what was said, less than two months later DeChambeau revealed in Las Vegas that he was going to transform his body in a quest to add speed and distance.

Nearly 40 pounds later, DeChambeau has, and two weeks removed from his victory in Detroit he finds himself ranked seventh in the world, right behind Koepka.

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