Kevin Iole

  • Legitimate champ or not, Daniel Cormier showed true grit in UFC 192 win

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    He retained the light heavyweight belt he won in May by defeating Alexander Gustafsson on Saturday via split decision in the main event of UFC 192, coming out on top in one of the year’s best fights.

    It was a back-and-forth, bruising, bloody battle, reminiscent of ex-champion Jon Jones’ epic victory over Gustafsson at UFC 165 in Toronto. Like Jones did at UFC 165, Cormier took the final round to pull out the win at the Toyota Center in Houston.

    Kerry Hatley scored it 49-46 for Cormier, giving him all but the second round. Sal D’Amato scored it 48-47 for Cormier, while Derek Cleary scored it 48-47 for Gustafsson. Cleary gave Gustafsson Rounds 2, 3 and 4. Yahoo Sports had it for Cormier, 48-47, giving him Rounds 1, 3 and 5 in an insanely close and competitive fight.

    After four rounds, D’Amato had it even 38-38. Hatley had Cormier up 39-37 and Cleary had Gustafsson up 39-37. When Cormier won the fifth – and all three judges gave Cormier gave him the fifth – he pulled out the fight on D’Amato’s card and earned the win.

    It probably wasn’t enough to make fans regard Cormier as the legitimate champion, but it showed him to be one of the toughest, most hard-nosed men in the world.

  • Dominick Cruz says Cormier has tall task to overcome at UFC 192

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 2 days ago

    When then-champion Jon Jones defended the light heavyweight championship against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in Toronto in 2013, much of the marketing centered around Gustafsson's height advantage.

    The 6-4 Jones had run roughshod through some of the best competition in the history of the division, and few were seriously giving the 6-5 Gustafsson much of a chance. And so when the UFC played up the difference in height, fans and media alike scoffed.

    But it took everything in Jones' power to win a decision that night in a fight that was much more difficult than expected. And that came even though Jones only gave up one inch in height and enjoyed a five-inch edge in reach.

    On Saturday at UFC 192 at the Toyota Center in Houston, reigning light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will make the first defense of the belt he won in May when he meets Gustafsson. And this time, the 5-11 Cormier will give away six inches in height and seven inches in reach to the Swedish challenger.

    Cruz said his own fights showed how much range make a difference in a bout.

    Cruz said Cormier can do it, but that it won't be easy.

  • Johny Hendricks out of UFC 192

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    UFC president Dana White tweeted the news about eight hours before the scheduled weigh-in at the Toyota Center.

    Hendricks vs Woodley is off the card due to Hendricks weight cut issues.

    Hendricks' manager, Ted Ehrhardt, told Yahoo Sports via text message that Hendricks had a blockage in his intestine and a kidney stone. Ehrhardt said Hendricks was taken to the emergency room at a Houston hospital late Thursday, where he was administered an IV.

    Because it is so close to the fight, a replacement for Hendricks could not be found and so the bout was completely scrapped. The UFC will replace it on the pay-per-view portion of the card by elevating a flyweight match between Joseph Benavidez and Ali Bagautinov from the prelims.

    White told Yahoo Sports that while he had no evidence that it wasn’t a kidney stone that caused Hendricks to withdraw, he said he believed it was related to his weight cut.

    UFC vice president Marc Ratner said that Hendricks was “20 to 25 pounds over” the non-title welterweight limit of 171 pounds when he checked in on Tuesday afternoon in Houston.


  • Finally at the top, Daniel Cormier says being champ 'not really that different'

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    He was days away from a shot at the UFC light heavyweight championship, held then by Jon Jones. Cormier's disdain for Jones was obvious, as the two had gotten into a brawl in the lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas a few months prior.

    Cormier spoke frankly about his inability to win at the right time during his athletic career.

    He spoke of losing to the legendary Cael Sanderson in the NCAA Division I wrestling finals. He discussed his failures as a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic wrestling team.

    Repeatedly, he pointed out how he’d always gotten so close to the summit, only to lose when it mattered most.

    “I need this one,” Cormier said while sitting amid a group of reporters a few days before he was to fight Jones.

    He was too fired up, too eager, too emotional. And Jones was too good. He routed Cormier and seemingly ended Cormier’s dreams forever.

    But Jones was stripped of his title following allegations of leaving the scene of a traffic accident, and Cormier wound up fighting Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in May for the vacant belt.

    And this time, he didn’t fail. He choked out Johnson to become the UFC’s light heavyweight champion.

  • Slugger Lucas Matthysse’s boxing skill could be key to his title shot

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Longtime boxing fans were all but frothing at the mouth in the spring, when Golden Boy Promotions announced Lucas Matthysse would face Ruslan Provodnikov.

    It would be the brawl to end all brawls. Two men with concussive power in each hand and a willingness, almost an eagerness, to mix it up made fans giddy at the prospect of them fighting.

    Matthysse won a unanimous decision that April night in Verona, N.Y., but a strange thing happened: It was his boxing skills that led him to the majority decision victory.

    Provodnikov couldn’t get much going in the early part of the fight, largely because Matthysse boxed so beautifully.

    It was hardly what fans expected from the Argentinian, who entered the bout with a 36-3 record and 34 knockouts. He hadn’t won a fight by decision since Dec. 20, 2008, when he was fighting on smaller shows in his native Argentina.

    What American fans knew about him was that he was a killer. They saw the first-round devastation of Mike Dallas Jr. and the third-round blowout of Lamont Peterson. They watched as he outslugged John Molina Jr. in 11 thrilling rounds and were awed as he knocked Roberto Ortiz unconscious in the second.

  • Boom or bust time for Adrien Broner

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    It's not difficult to call Adrien Broner a bust, despite world titles in three weight classes before his 24th birthday and a 30-2 record with 22 knockouts.

    Adrien Jerome Broner, 26, is a professional boxer, but he's hardly professional. The former WBO super featherweight, WBC lightweight and WBA welterweight champion has repeatedly failed to train for bouts and either lost to men he should have beaten or not given the fans their money's worth.

    There is one thing that Broner has going for him as he heads into his super lightweight title bout with Khabib Allakhverdiev on Showtime on Saturday in Cincinnati that is more important than the hand speed, the quickness, the agility and the punching power that have been plainly obvious in his seven-plus years as a pro: his age.

    Broner is two months past his 26th birthday, an age when the majority of professional athletes are in their prime.

    Broner still has a chance to make this all right, and to become what his talent suggests he should have been long ago.

    It's no less of a joke that he's fighting for a world title just three months after giving very little effort in a one-sided loss to Shawn Porter in a bout on NBC.

  • Jon Jones' future still unclear after plea deal

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Hopefully, Jon Jones chooses to fight again. He’s a brilliant talent, by far the best I’ve ever seen, and it would be a shame if mixed martial arts fans never got to see him compete again.

    It’s hardly a given, though, that the former UFC light heavyweight champion will resume his career as if nothing happened in the wake of a plea deal he reached Tuesday with a New Mexico court regarding an April automobile accident in Albuquerque.

    Jones was accused of leaving the scene after the rental car he was driving slammed into a vehicle driven by a pregnant woman.

    The plea enables Jones to avoid jail time and, if he meets the terms of his probation, will not put a felony conviction on his record.

    Fortunately, the woman has fully recovered from the broken arm she suffered in the accident and sustained no permanent injuries.

    This wasn’t Jones’ first problem. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated when he rammed a car he was driving into a tree near his home in Broome County, N.Y.

    So he has had his share of issues, though I suspect that much of it comes due to an inability to handle the scrutiny of being in such an intense spotlight.


  • UFC makes another push for New York with Madison Square Garden event

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    On Monday, the UFC issued a news release that would have, in many circumstances, been cause for a joyous celebration for New York state's many fight fans:

    It announced that on April 23, 2016, it will hold a show at Madison Square Garden.

    The catch, of course, is that the event is incumbent upon receiving an injunction from a federal judge that bars state officials from enforcing their law that bans professional MMA.

    Without the help of some federal judge, there's no fight card.

    It's a strategic, symbolic move by the UFC – and a new tradition as UFC cards had been conditionally booked in NYC the past two years – with no better than a 50-50 likelihood of working.

    I'd have loved to see them take it a step further, and gone forward with an event at Madison Square Garden in spite of the state's misguided law.

    The UFC regulates itself in events around the world in which there is no official oversight of the sport. Why can't New York be the same?

    New York legislators are well aware by now, after a decade of lobbying from UFC officials, that there are mixed martial arts cards on an almost weekly basis happening somewhere within the state's borders.

  • The moment Wladimir Klitschko turned his career around

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    The 10th anniversary of what might be viewed as just another in a long series of consecutive wins for Wladimir Klitschko is on Thursday.

    But his unanimous decision victory over Samuel Peter on Sept. 24, 2005, in Atlantic City, N.J., might be the one win that turned Klitschko’s career around.

    Klitschko is now 66-3, holds the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight belts, has won 24 bouts in succession and is about as much of a sure thing as there is in the sport.

    But when he faced Peter in a title eliminator at Boardwalk Hall, Klitschko was an enigmatic heavyweight with a questionable, at best, chin.

    Peter was, at the time, one of the hardest hitters in the sport and Klitschko’s late trainer, the great Emanuel Steward, was plenty worried.

    “If you watch the HBO broadcast, you could see how worried Emanuel was,” said Klitschko, who has few worries these days heading into an Oct. 24 title defense against Tyson Fury in Germany. “That was definitely a very challenging match. Samuel Peter was on his way up and many people thought I was on my way down.”

    He was sick of hearing questions about his heart, his chin, his intestinal fortitude.

    But he is quick to point out that none of it just happens.

  • Mayweather-Berto PPV comes in well under 1 million in sales

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 18 days ago

    Floyd Mayweather's Sept. 12 bout with Andre Berto at the MGM Grand Garden sold roughly 400,000 pay-per-view units, a source told Yahoo Sports. That number, the source said, includes about 145,000 sales from DirecTV, which is almost always the first distributor to report a figure.

    Another source close to the promotion of the fight said the figure was higher and estimated it between 500,000 and 550,000.

    In any event, the result will be the lowest figure since Mayweather sold 325,000 while fighting Carlos Baldomir on HBO Pay-Per-View in 2006.

    Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza said he did not plan to release the results. Espinoza said his default position is not to release the figures and only does when there are other parties involved who ask that it be released.

    He would not speak in specifics but agreed to talk to Yahoo Sports about the difficulty in promoting the last fight of Mayweather's legendary career.

    Cable systems tend to sell a bit more than 50 percent of the total sales of a show. The telephone companies generally account for eight percent or less. The satellite companies, DirecTV and Dish, make up the rest.