Dec 2, 2012

What is Jimmy V Week?

This year will mark the sixth time Jimmy V Week will be held across the various ESPN avenues in hope of raising money for cancer research. During the first five years of the program, it has raised nearly $5 million, including more than $1.2 million in 2010 and $1.3 million in 2011, setting a new record.

The festivities began on Nov. 27 with the infamous speech Jimmy Valvano gave when he was the first recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the 1993 ESPY Awards. The speech will be shown throughout the week before the event concludes with the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 4 featuring Texas, Georgetown, NC State and Connecticut at Madison Square Garden.
In 2011, the 10th annual women's showdown featured the NCAA Champion Texas A&M against the University of Connecticut at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. The Huskies easily dispatched the Aggies by 30 points, 81-51. In the 17th annual men's double header at MSG in New York City, Missouri defeated Villanova 81-71, while Marquette and Washington battled in a great contest that went down to the wire, with Marquette winning 79-77.
Valvano was a legend in the sport of college basketball before being diagnosed with bone cancer in June 1992. During his time as a coach in Division I, he had a record of 346-210 with one National Championship and nine tournament appearances.
Among the many things that Valvano will be remembered for is his infamous ESPY Award speech in 1993, just weeks before succumbing to cancer. He was also the owner of one of the most famous scenes from a college championship, when he went running across the basketball court in 1983 looking for someone to hug after his NC State Wolfpack defeated the University of Houston.
The Jimmy V Foundation has helped raise more than $90 million to help follow Valvano's dream of never giving up. Among the programs the foundation offers is the V Scholar award. This award is heavily sought after by young physician/scientists at the leading cancer centers in the nation.

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Hobson Lopes can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.

Jul 30, 2012

Jay Z's 40/40 Club Pictures

After visiting Jay Z's 40/40 Club for an article, here are some additional pictures that didn't make the cut of my Yahoo article.

Which piece of memorabilia is your favorite?

Jul 7, 2012

Khabib Nurmagomedov beats Gleison Tibau at UFC 148

After the first two fights from UFC 148 on FX went 15 minutes, Gleison Tibau and Khabib Nurmagomedov fought in a major international affair. For the sake on my sanity, I will refer to Nurmagomedov as Khabib in this write-up. Khabib was 17-0 in his career coming into the fight, including an impressive win against Kamal Shalorus in his UFC debut. Tibau, the UFC veteran came into the fight with a 25-7 record, including wins in three straight (Kurt Pellegrino, Rafaello Oliveira and Rafael dos Anjos).

First Round
Both fighters attempted strikes in the early going, but both fighters missed more than they connected. Midway through the round, Khabib worked at a takedown, but was unable to take the tough Brazilian fighter down. The younger Khabib attempted several wild strikes, but the technical Tibau avoided. The round ended with another failed takedown attempt from Khabib.
My scorecard: Tibau, 10-9

Second Round
The round began with both fighters taking it easy with strikes, as Khabib continued to work towards a takedown. Tibau prevented the takedown and kept the fight on the feet. Tibau then used his strength to get a takedown of his own, but was unable to hold the position. Once at the feet, Khabib went for another takedown, but Tibau once again blocked it. The referee separated them, allowing Khabib to attempt his wild strikes again, but Tibau danced around and avoided the contact.
My scorecard: Tibau, 10-9

Third Round
This round was more of the same from the first two. Tibau continued to block the takedown attempts from the Russian and neither fighter landed any serious strikes. In the final seconds, both fighters exchanged powerful strikes, but the round ended with both men standing.
My scorecard: Tibau, 10-9 and overall 30-27

Official Decision: Unanimous Decision (30-27x3) for Khabib Nurmagomedov

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Costa Philippou defeats Riki Fukuda at UFC 148

In the second fight from UFC 148 on FX, the American, Costa Philippou took on the Japanese star, Riki Fukuda. Philippou had won three straight coming into the fight after losing to Nick Catone at UFC 128, while Fukuda came in a victor in his last fight after losing to Nick Ring in his UFC debut.

First Round
The first minute of the round was mostly uneventful as Fukuda used kids to try to keep Philippou on the outside. Fukuda quickly shot for a takedown and worked at taking the former boxer down. Philippou fought back and never went down. Once separated, Philippou started to find his stride and connected with solid strikes to the face. With about a minute left, Philippou seemed to really get comfortable inside the Octagon and finished the round with some more strikes.
My Scorecard: Philippou, 10-9

Second Round
As the round went on, Philippou began to slow a bit as Fukuda began to be more offensive. Fukuda used his kicks to keep Philippou away, which seemed to be a strategy that worked for the Japanese fighter. As the round ended, Fukuda and Philippou began exchanging strikes.
My Scorecard: Philippou, 10-9

Third Round
The round began with both fighters looking tired. They circled around each other with the occasional strike thrown. With two minutes left in the round, Philippou got poked in the eye and was in a tremendous amount of pain. He continued the fight and came at Fukuda with a newfound aggression and demeanor. In the final 10 seconds, Philippou used his striking advantage to attack Fukuda.
My Scorecard: Philippou, 10-9 and 30-27 overall

Official Decision: Unanimous Decision (30-27x2, 29-28) for Costa Philippou

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Shane Roller Defeats John Alessio

In the opening fight of the UFC on FX portion of UFC 148, Shane Roller took on John Alessio. Alessio came into the fight at 34-15 in his career, but was most recently seen losing to Mark Bocek in his return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Canadian can win a fight in any facet of the sport, but had a tough test with Roller, a tough wrestler. Roller was 10-6 in his career coming in, including losses in three straight (Melvin Guillard, T.J. Grant and Michael Johnson). We have seen the UFC become more lenient when it comes to releasing fighters on losing streaks and I think Roller may continue with the promotion no matter what.

First Round
Both fighters opened the round trying to find their distance with strikes, but neither was able to garner much serious offense. More than a minute into the round, Roller landed a solid punch, but was unable to follow it up. Roller landed an inadvertent groin shot that stalled the action. After Alessio recovered, both men went straight at each other again and Roller attempted a takedown, but was unsuccessful. With about 10 seconds left, Alessio knocked Roller down with a huge punch, which stole him the round in my book.
My Scorecard: Alessio, 10-9

Second Round
Alessio opened the fight by moving straight forward and pushing Roller against the cage. Roller countered by going for a Guillotine Choke, but Alessio fought out of it, but still ended up on his back after a brief exchange. Once in the top position, Roller landed solid strikes and eventually found his way controlling the back of Alessio. Roller locked on a body triangle and then hooks in an attempt to get the finish. With the round ending, Roller went for the choke, but was unable to get it with his back to the cage.
My Scorecard: Roller, 10-9

Third Round
The round began with Alessio applying pressure and landing countless strikes to Roller. Roller took all the shots and eventually went for a takedown and succeeded. Roller maintained control on top, but Alessio fought back to the feet. Roller connected with another takedown and with about 90 seconds left, Alessio began shouting at Roller about actually fighting. With 45 seconds left, Roller locked on a body triangle and finished the round trying to get the submission, but Alessio fought out and finished the round with some strikes.
My Scorecard: Roller, 10-9 and 29-28 overall

Official Decision: Unanimous Decision (29-28x3) to Shane Roller

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Feb 25, 2012

Mark Hunt Earns TKO Victory Against Cheick Kongo

The next fight on the UFC 144 card from Japan featured a heavyweight showdown between one of the most improved fighters in the sport against one of the biggest names in history.

After losing six straight between 2006 and 2010, Mark Hunt had a 5-7 record and may have been looking at the end of his professional mixed martial arts career. He was able to bounce back and defeat Chris Tuchscherer and Ben Rothwell to get to this fight with Cheick Kongo.

Kongo is one of the most improved fighters in the UFC during the past three years and was looking to follow up his previous two victories against Pat Barry and Matt Mitrione with a solid win at the Saitama Super Arena.

To open the first round, Kongo used his reach advantage to get in and rock Hunt, but was unable to do serious damage. About a minute later, Hunt rocked Kongo with a vicious left. On wobbly legs, Hunt continued to attack Kongo and landed several unanswered right hands to lay out the Frenchman.

Official Decision: Mark Hunt via TKO at 2:11 of the first round

Joe Rogan said it during the telecast that Hunt may be improving, which at the age of 37, is insane, but it is true. Those who underestimated Hunt (myself included) will have to take a look at how much skill he has in the sport. At 37, it is hard to imagine him ever challenging any of the young heavyweights, but he is fun to watch.

For more UFC 144 coverage and fight recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes

Tim Boetsch Defeats Yushin Okami After Amazing Comeback

The third of seven fights on the UFC 144 card from the Saitama Super Arena saw a middleweight fight between Tim Boetsch and Yushin Okami.

The 26-6 Okami was making his first appearance in the Octagon since being dismantled by Anderson Silva at UFC 134 last August. The 14-4 Boetsch was looking to move his record to 3-0 in the middleweight division with a victory against the native Japanese fighter.

To start the fight, both men seemed tentative, but Okami looked quicker with his strikes. Okami was landing his jab at will, which really caused problems for Boetsch. Boetsch was trying everything he could to land strikes against Okami, but each time he came close, he got rocked. In the final minute of the round, Boetsch was beginning to find his range and connected with a couple solid shots to Okami, but Okami didn't seem fazed.

My scorecard: Yushin Okami, 10-9.

The start of the second round saw both men come forward, but Boetsch saw himself backed up to the cage by Okami. Two minutes into the round, Okami took Boetsch down, but the American attempted a guillotine choke. Okami alleviated some of the pressure of the choke and when he got out of the position, he was in good top position. He eventually worked to the full mount with 25 seconds left in the round to finish the fight.

My scorecard: Yushin Okami, 10-9.

Boetsch needed a knockout or submission to win this fight and went right after Okami to start the third round. Okami was retreating, but Boetsch connected at will. Boetsch landed upper cut after upper cut and finished off Okami.

Holy crap, what a comeback by Boetsch.

Official Decision: Tim Boetsch via TKO at 0:54 of the third round.

Despite the loss for Okami, it was the best two rounds he has seen during his time in the UFC. All that matters is how the fight ended, which was an amazing comeback by Boetsch. He may be the real deal at middleweight even after being dominated for 10 minutes.

For more UFC 144 coverage and fight recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes

Hatsu Hioki Dominates Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144

The second televised fight from UFC 144 featured two talented featherweights. Hatsu Hioki was making his second appearance in the UFC, while the colorful veteran, Bart Palaszewski was also making his second appearance. Hioki defeated George Roop in his debut, while Palaszewski knocked out Tyson Griffin in his debut.

Hioki was 25-4 in his professional career coming into this fight, including wins in five straight. Palaszewski came into this fight a winner in five of six, including a win against Anthony Pettis in December 2009.

The open of the fight saw Hioki land a solid strike to rock Palaszewski. Palaszewski rebounded, with both men landing solid strikes during the next minute. Hioki then connected with a takedown, but Palaszewski was working for a guillotine, which Hioki evaded. Hioki quickly got to side position and was working towards a crucifix. Hioki landed countless unanswered and unblocked strikes to the head of Palaszewski.

With two minutes left in the round, Palaszewski gave up his back, which led to Hioki to work towards an arm bar, which Palaszewski got away from, leading to a triangle attempt. Palaszewski again got away and found Hioki in his guard. Hioki spent the final minute of the round landing vicious strikes from the top on Palaszewski.

My scorecard: Hatsu Hioki, 10-9.

The second round started a bit slower than the first, but Hioki continued to land damaging strikes. Two minutes into the round, Hioki landed a beautiful combination that concluded with a nice head kick. Palaszewski  began to find his range midway through the round, landing nice combination's of his own, ending with leg kicks.

My scorecard: Bart Palaszewski, 10-9. He was landing more strikes and did more damage. Hioki had a noticeable limp at the end of the round. 

With the fight even on my scorecard, which fighter would come out more aggressive?

Palaszewski came straight forward to start the third round, but Hioki got a takedown less than 30 seconds into the round. After showing great patience, Hioki moved into the mounted crucifix and landed countless blows. Palaszewski gave up his back and Hioki gained over-under control as he worked towards a rear-naked choke. Hioki didn't stop working towards the submission, but Palaszewski did a good job of avoiding the submission, but Hioki won the round.

My scorecard: Hioki 10-9, overall, Hioki 29-28.

Official Decision: Hatsu Hioki via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

After watching Hioki in this fight, I can actually see somebody employed by the UFC as a viable threat to Jose Aldo and the UFC featherweight title.

For more UFC 144 coverage and fight recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes

UFC 144 News

UFC 144 emanates from the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan. It will be the first UFC event in Japan since UFC 29 in December 2000. That night, Tito Ortiz and Pat Miletech retained their UFC middleweight and lightweight championships. This time around, Frankie Edgar will be defending the UFC lightweight title against Ben Henderson and Japanese fan favorite Quinton Jackson will fight Ryan Bader, despite coming in six pounds overweight.

Ben Henderson New Lightweight Champion
Ryan Bader Upsets Rampage Jackson
Mark Hunt TKOs Cheick Kongo in Round 1
Jake Shields Earns Decision Victory Against Sexyama
Tim Boetsch Defeats Yushin Okami in Amazing Comeback
Hatsu Hioki defeats Bart Palaszewski
Anthony Pettis KOs Joe Lauzon

Top Fights to Watch at UFC 144
Who Needs Win the Most at UFC 144
Preview and Predictions for UFC 144
Odds and Outlook for UFC 144

Jan 30, 2012


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