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UFC star reflects on Francis Ngannou’s exit, claims Jon Jones ‘peaked too early’

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) saw plenty of fresh development this past week. UFC president Dana White while addressing a press conference confirmed that Francis Ngannou, who was the undisputed heavyweight champion, has been released by the company, and Jon Jones will fight Ciryl Gane for the vacant title at UFC 285, which will take place in Las Vegas in March.

The news came as a shock to many, and one among them was UFC fighter Johnny Walker, who in an interview with hindustantimes.com wished that the two parties (UFC and Ngannou) could have reached a mutual agreement. “I don’t like to see Francis out of UFC. I wish he could stay in the organization and I just wish that they could have made an arrangement that everybody would be happy. But he looked after himself. But I wish I could see the fight between Francis and Jones. But it’s not gonna happen, so everybody’s gonna be sad,” Walker said on Wednesday.

It was initially decided that Ngannou would defend his heavyweight title against Jones, making the fight nothing short of a blockbuster event. Had the fight taken place as decided initially, Walker feels Ngannou would have walked out as the winner, justifying his pick by pointing at Jones’ over three years hiatus from the Octagon.

“I think Francis would have more chance to win. Jones is really good but he was without competition for so long. When you don’t fight for that long, you lose timing. Maybe you heal up your injuries and get stronger but timing is important.

“And of course he’s (Ngannou) also coming back from injury, but he was been fighting more than than Jones,” he added.

Walker also made a bold claim, stating Jones, who is considered as one of the best talent in the MMA circuit, peaked too early and expects Gane to win the heavyweight title.

“I also think Jones peaked too early. He was champion too early. He made a lot of big fights too early. Maybe his peak of his prime was done, but we never know. Let’s see what’s gonna happen when he comes back with serious gun.

“Being long time without competition can be a little trouble for him. But he’s a really good fighter and he’s the goat. He’s the best I think but Gane has been more active than Jones and it makes a big difference when you are off for a long time. But again he is Jon Jones,” said Walker.

Walker will be seen in action against Paul Craig in the Light Heavyweight category at UFC 283 on Sunday and win for either of the two will push them into the top 10.

Watch the LIVE coverage of UFC UFC 283 – Teixeira vs Hill on Sony Sports Ten 2 (English), Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi) & Sony Sports Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels at 8:30 am IST on 22nd January 2023.

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Leading Mexico players snub Davis Cup tie over differences with federation | Tennis News

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Mexico’s leading tennis players have decided not to play in next week’s Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against Taiwan due to differences with the Mexican Tennis Federation (FMT).

Led by Santiago Gonzalez, Alejandro Hernandez and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela, the players said they will not take part in the Feb. 4-5 Group I playoff tie in Metepec, State of Mexico.

“After a difficult deliberation, we have not reached a positive conclusion, so we have decided not to participate in the upcoming series against the Chinese Taipei team,” said the players’ statement, published on social media on Monday.

“The lack of communication, lack of planning and lack of interest show that the situation has not been handled in the right way and that personal interests have taken precedence over sporting ones.

“It is sad that the FMT does not have the minimum standards in dealing and planning with the best national representatives.”

The players said they had already informed the federation of their reasons for not participating in the Davis Cup tie.

The statement was also signed by players Ernesto Escobedo, Lucas Gomez, Hans Hach, Gerardo Lopez, and Manuel Sanchez.

The FMT was not immediately available to comment.

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West Ham set up Man United tie by beating Derby | Football News

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West Ham United eased into the FA Cup fifth round with a comfortable 2-0 victory away to third-tier Derby County on Monday to set up a meeting with Manchester United.

Derby, fourth in League One, went into the match on the back of 14 matches unbeaten in all competitions but were quickly overrun by the Premier League side, who took the lead in the 10th minute with a close-range volley from Jarrod Bowen.

Bowen went 12 matches without a goal before netting twice against Everton last week and now has three in his last two games.

The forward then crossed for striker Michail Antonio to head in a second goal five minutes after the interval to break his own goal drought stretching back to November.

David Moyes’ side saw out the victory without conceding many chances, recording back-to-back wins for the first time since October, and Bowen said he hoped the win would boost his side, who are 16th in the table, one point above the relegation zone.

“Two wins on the bounce is good for us it’s all about results and momentum and we can use this as a real springboard,” he said.

Midfielder Pablo Fornals added: “Everyone knows it hasn’t been an easy season so every game we can win gives us massive confidence.

“We work hard every day in training to get a chance and then you have to take it. That’s what the players tried to do tonight.”

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Valencia sacks coach Gennaro Gattuso for poor results | Football News

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Spanish club Valencia sacked coach Gennaro Gattuso on Monday following the team’s poor results.

Valencia said in a statement it reached a mutual agreement with Gattuso to end their contract.

The announcement came after a 1-0 loss at Valladolid in the Spanish league on Sunday. The club has won only one of its last 10 league games, before the World Cup.

The latest defeat dropped Valencia to 14th place, one point above the relegation zone.

Its only two wins this year came in the Copa del Rey, though it was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Athletic Bilbao at home last week. In the Spanish Super Cup, Valencia lost to Real Madrid in a penalty shootout in the semifinals.

The 45-year-old Gattuso arrived last June on a two-year contract.

The former defensive midfielder helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup and AC Milan win two Champions League titles, both as a player. He coached Milan and Napoli in Italy.

Valencia did not announce a replacement for Gattuso.

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