UFC 264: Poirier wins by TKO after McGregor leg break

By Sports Desk July 11, 2021

Dustin Poirier has won UFC 264 by TKO after Connor McGregor suffered a nasty leg injury at the end of the first round on Saturday in Las Vegas.

American Poirier was firmly in control, dominating the early exchanges, before McGregor attempted a punch and fell on his own left leg causing an apparent fracture and a doctor's stoppage.

McGregor left the octagon with a leg splint on in a stretcher, casting doubts on his future in the sport.

"He fractured in one of the checks at the beginning of the fight," Poirier said after the fight. "Then it broke on a punch, for sure.

"When I pointed at him at the beginning of the fight, that's when I checked a good kick and I felt a crack. it was probably cracked and then on the twist of the punch it finished."

Despite the defeat and being unable to stand, the Irishman continued to trash talk Poirier as he had in the lead-up to the fight when he said he would "murder" the American.

Poirier added: "There's no holds barred with the trash talk but murder is something you don't clown around with.

"This guy was saying 'he was going to murder me, I was going to leave her in a coffin'. You don’t talk to people like that. I hope this guy gets home safe to his beautiful family."

He added: "This guy's a dirtbag… Karma's not a b****, she's a mirror and this guy's said the wrong s*** and I've been busting my ass."

Poirier had no doubt he deserved the win despite the circumstances of the victory, in the latest edition of their trilogy.

"Sometimes these things happen. I beat the guy," he said.

Poirier becomes the eighth fighter in UFC history to earn 20 wins.

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  • FIFA urged to throw Iran out of World Cup over 'shameful' treatment of women FIFA urged to throw Iran out of World Cup over 'shameful' treatment of women

    FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been urged to expel Iran from the World Cup because of the country's treatment of female football supporters.

    The Open Stadiums campaign group claimed previous commitments by FIFA to encourage Iran to change its ways amounted to "empty words and promises".

    The group said Iran has systemically kept women away from football stadiums "for over four decades", calling it a "gross human rights violation".

    Pointing to "shameful scenes" of women being tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed when attempting to attend a World Cup qualifier against Lebanon in March, Open Stadiums said: "All this was happening, Mr Infantino, under your watch and, seemingly, with FIFA's protection and approval, judging by your organisation's inaction."

    It labelled a commitment to allow women into the Azadi Stadium as "a short-term PR stunt" to boost the Iranian Football Association's image before the World Cup begins in November.

    Iran are due to play England, Wales and the United States in the group stage, facing England in their opening Group B game on November 21.

    The death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in custody in September after she allegedly refused to comply with hijab rules sparked outrage among Iranian women, followed by what Open Stadiums describes as a "brutal clampdown by the regime".

    In its open letter to FIFA, the group also pointed to Sahar Khodayari, the woman known as 'Blue Girl', who attempted to attend a football game dressed as a man in 2019 but was spotted and arrested for flouting hijab rules. She died by suicide, reportedly because she expected to be sent to prison.

    Open Stadiums said there was a clear ongoing case of "government interference", with a number of sports journalists and photographers "arrested and left in solitary confinement with no charges brought against them", and a footballer and fan group leader killed by Iranian authorities.

    FIFA rules do not allow governments to wade into sporting matters. Open Stadiums claims the Iranian FA "remains untouched and seemingly beyond reproach by FIFA", and described the country's football authority as both "an accomplice of the crimes of the regime" and "a direct threat to the security of female fans in Iran and wherever our national team plays in the world".

    The group fears Iranian women who travel to the Qatar 2022 finals will be kept "in check" by travelling undercover state agents, warning of possible revenge on women's rights activists and female football fans following the tournament.

    "That is why, as Iranian football fans, it is with an extremely heavy heart that we have to raise our deepest concern about Iran's participation in the upcoming FIFA World Cup," the group said in its letter to Infantino.

    "Why would FIFA give the Iranian state and its representatives a global stage, while it not only refuses to respect basic human rights and dignities, but is currently torturing and killing its own people? Where are the principles of FIFA's statutes in this regard?

    "Therefore, we ask FIFA ... to immediately expel Iran from the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

    "The Islamic Republic's authorities and its football federation must not be given the honour of participating in football's finest tournament while it is killing its citizens on our streets.

    "Mr Infantino, FIFA needs to act now to protect Iran's dedicated and passionate female football fans."

  • Premier League Fantasy Picks: Son and De Bruyne can deliver, but so can Fulham's flying Dutchman Premier League Fantasy Picks: Son and De Bruyne can deliver, but so can Fulham's flying Dutchman

    The Premier League returns now the September international break is done and dusted, and it will be foot to the floor until the World Cup comes around.

    With two disrupted months of the season almost gone, some teams are settling down at this stage, while others are continuing to tinker in the hope of igniting their campaigns.

    The Qatar 2022 break is on the horizon, adding an extra dimension as many players jostle to earn tickets on the plane with their national teams.

    Opta data points to familiar faces who may be primed to deliver those all-important fantasy football goals and assists this weekend, as well as a couple of less-vaunted prospects who could boost your points tally.

    Jose Sa (West Ham United v Wolves)

    Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa has seen his side struggle this term, with just one win so far meaning they sit a spot above the bottom three – but it has not been down to his own form, with only Manchester City's Ederson having kept more clean sheets than his three this term.

    No side have scored fewer goals than Wolves' weekend opponents West Ham this season (three, tied with Wolves themselves) which suggests Sa could be on course to bank another strong performance between the posts.

    West Ham have been wasteful with their chances, and are underperforming against their expected goals (xG) tally by 4.6 goals, the worst such record in the Premier League.

    Kenny Tete (Fulham v Newcastle United)

    Sitting sixth coming out of the international break, Fulham already look on course to avoid the drop back to the Championship, and that has come with a handy assist from their Dutch right-back.

    No Premier League defender has more assists than Tete this season (three), with only Kevin De Bruyne (six) and Bukayo Saka (four) providing more among all players.

    In addition, two of those assists from Tete have come in his last two games for the Cottagers, suggesting a rich chance he could maintain his form.

    Son Heung-min (Arsenal v Tottenham)

    Having endured a dramatic goal drought to start the season, South Korea international Son's freewheeling hat-trick off the bench last time out likely pushes him back to the forefront of Antonio Conte's plans.

    If he bags three goals again in the north London derby, he would become the eighth player to achieve the feat in consecutive Premier League games.

    What's more, he can continue to build on an exceptional 2022, where only team-mate Harry Kane leads him for overall Premier League goals (18) and involvements (24).

    Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City v Manchester United)

    While team-mate Erling Haaland has been tearing up the goalscoring charts, the Belgian heart of Pep Guardiola's side remains a surefire bet for any fantasy football player.

    No player has provided more assists (6) or created more chances (25) than De Bruyne this season – and after his prior exploits against United in March, he'll be eyeing up another superb performance.

    In a 4-1 City win on that occasion, he scored twice and assisted once. Only against Wolves in May, when he scored four times, has De Bruyne had more goal involvements in a Premier League game.

  • Signed for Tuchel, Aubameyang ironically the key to Potter inspiring Chelsea momentum Signed for Tuchel, Aubameyang ironically the key to Potter inspiring Chelsea momentum

    It's 22 days since Graham Potter took over from Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, and yet he's only just about to take charge of his first Premier League match when they go to Selhurst Park on Saturday.

    Potter's one game at the helm came in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Salzburg on September 14, with the postponements following Queen Elizabeth II's death and the subsequent international break ultimately making it a fairly quiet introduction to life at Stamford Bridge.

    But with 13 matches across all competitions to fit into the next seven weeks before top-flight football pauses for the World Cup, Potter can ill afford to not inspire some momentum.

    Arguably Chelsea's chief problem in the early weeks of the season was a lack of goals, scoring more than once in just three games, and on each occasion they never managed more than two goals.

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's arrival at the end of the transfer window was seen as a welcome relief, particularly given how effective he'd been under Tuchel in the past.

    Well, that reunion didn't last long, but Potter knows Aubameyang could be the key to kick-starting their season.

    A player with baggage

    Any concerns Chelsea fans might have about Aubameyang will likely revolve around his attitude and professionalism – few will have forgotten the circumstances that led to his Arsenal exit.

    But for those who have, here's the overview.

    Last March he was dropped ahead of the north London derby due to a disciplinary issue, perhaps something you wouldn't expect of the club captain – although he was "reminded of his responsibilities" a month earlier after reportedly flouting COVID-19 restrictions to get a tattoo.

    Either way, Mikel Arteta continued to give him the benefit of the doubt until another breach of club rules in December was essentially the end of his stay with the Gunners.

    Arteta excluded him from the team, ended his reign as captain and made his stance on the player crystal clear when allowing Aubameyang to join up with the Gabon squad early ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.

    The fact many coaches and managers routinely bemoan the timing of the AFCON should highlight how unusual – damning, even – this was.

    On February 1, Arsenal confirmed Aubameyang had left the club by mutual consent, paving the way for him to join Barcelona – talk about failing upwards.

    "I am living the dream," he said in a Guardian interview published two days later.

    In the same interview, Aubameyang suggested Arteta was the only person to have an issue with his conduct. Perhaps he'd still be at Arsenal were it not for his tardiness in December.

    A point to prove

    He is back in London, however. Aubameyang's stay in Barcelona was little more than a sojourn.

    After joining them officially in February, he must've been aware there was always a chance Barca could look to cash in on him quite quickly if the opportunity arose.

    President Joan Laporta was desperately trying to raise cash in order to register their swathe of pre-season signings, and the combination of Aubameyang retaining decent market value and being on high wages made him a very sellable option on their part, they just needed someone to come calling.

    Given his rather scattergun approach to being an interim sporting director, new Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly probably should've been the obvious candidate, though Aubameyang's links to Tuchel helped the deal make sense.

    What made slightly less sense was the fact Boehly sacked Tuchel only a week after Aubameyang signed. Granted, the German isn't the only coach who'd be able to get a tune out of the forward, but you have to wonder what the player was thinking.

    Tuchel's familiarity with Aubameyang from their time together at Borussia Dortmund was evident in how he spoke of the 33-year-old shortly after the signing was confirmed.

    He said: "Auba, from my point of view, has always been happy to fight for something and to accept the challenge, so the more challenges he has the better it is.

    "I know him as [being] very focused and in general a person with a very open heart and very happy to be on the pitch every day. This is what we wanted, he's a very positive influence on the training group.

    "He's up for any challenge, he's happy to be on the pitch to score goals and this is what we want."

    The "challenge" Tuchel was initially referring to was ending the so-called number nine curse at Chelsea, though it could now extend to winning over a new coach.

    A striker out of left field

    One of the first things Aubameyang highlighted after joining Barcelona was how Xavi said he'd been earmarked to play specifically as a number nine.

    Let's not forget, he spent a great deal of his time at Arsenal operating from the left, and for the most part he was effective there. Yet, you could argue his finishing abilities weren't maximised in that position.

    Between the 2015-16 and 2020-21 seasons, Aubameyang averaged at least 0.7 goals per 90 minutes every campaign for Dortmund and then Arsenal, bettering or matching his expected goals (xG, per 90 mins.) in all but one season. Even then, the one term he fell short, he was still scoring at a rate of 0.8 every 90 minutes. Over the short term, one might suggest outperforming xG is a sign of luck, but over a prolonged period it is surely a product of quality.

    Aubameyang certainly cannot be accused of being ineffective as a central striker for Barca. His average of 0.8 non-penalty goals per 90 minutes was his best record since 2016-17 (0.8), and he helped Barca enjoy a fine second half of the season to eventually finish runners-up in LaLiga.

    His form for Arsenal had been less convincing before his departure. He'd scored only four league goals from 6.6 xG – a comparison of his shot maps last term does show much greater localisation to the centre of the area while at Barca, perhaps understandable given his use as a number nine, though that doesn't completely explain why he underperformed in relation to xG while still at Arsenal.

    Aubameyang will hope that spell with Barcelona was something of a palate cleanser. He said himself he has unfinished business in the Premier League.

    Uncertainty and intrigue definitely surround his move to Chelsea given Tuchel is no longer there, but if Aubameyang does return to silence his critics then there's every reason to suggest Potter will hit the ground running as well.

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