Title race far from over even if Manchester City lose to Liverpool, claims Vincent Kompany

All is not lost for the City defender, even if the Reds win at the Etihad. (AFP)
Updated 03 January 2019

Title race far from over even if Manchester City lose to Liverpool, claims Vincent Kompany

  • City skipper certain his side can still win the title even if they suffer defeat in the top-of-the-table clash.
  • Liverpool can go 10 points clear of defending champions with victory.

MANCHESTER: Manchester City’s hopes of retaining the Premier League title will not be over even if they lose to leaders Liverpool on Thursday, according to captain Vincent Kompany.
City are currently in third place with 47 points, seven points behind table-toppers Liverpool, and a defeat would give the Merseyside club a 10-point advantage in the title race.
“It’s easy for everybody to assume that everything rests on this game,” Kompany said.
“I’m probably one of the only ones that disagrees, for the simple fact that we only had three games that we were below standard.”
Liverpool are unbeaten in the league so far while City have lost three games with all defeats coming in December. The champions have lost against Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Leicester City.
“When you are 10 points behind ... if there are not many teams between you and first, it only takes one team to start having a bad month and you will be back in,” he added.
City came from behind to overhaul rivals Manchester United and win the title in 2011-12 season, even though they were eight points behind after 32 games.
“We overcame eight points in six games in the past,” he added. “To be honest, I don’t live with that scenario in my head, of what happens if we lose.
“The moment I have to face the situation, at that moment I’ll see what the options are.”

Gilbert Burns wallops Woodley in UFC’s return to Las Vegas

Updated 7 min 30 sec ago

Gilbert Burns wallops Woodley in UFC’s return to Las Vegas

  • The event was held without fans at the UFC Apex in line with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

LAS VEGAS: Gilbert Burns dominated former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley to win a unanimous decision on Saturday night in the mixed martial arts promotion’s return to Las Vegas.

Brazilian heavyweight Augusto Sakai employed some unpunished gamesmanship to eke out a split-decision victory over Bulgaria’s Blagoy Ivanov in the penultimate bout of the UFC’s first show in its hometown since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The event was held without fans at the UFC Apex, a gym with broadcast facilities on the promotion’s corporate campus. The UFC used minimal personnel to stage the fight, and the promotion said everyone involved was subject to strict health and safety protocols.

The 33-year-old Burns (19-3) dominated on his feet and on the ground, finishing his first main event bout with likely the biggest win of his career and his sixth consecutive victory since July 2018. 

The Florida-based Brazilian soundly defeated one of the most accomplished welterweights in UFC history and made his case for a shot at champion Kamaru Usman in the crowded 170-pound division.

The judges all gave all five rounds to Burns, scoring it 50-45, 50-44 and 50-44.

Burns came out with furious energy against Woodley, dropping the ex-champ in the opening seconds and gaining full mount. A gaping cut opened in Woodley’s left eyebrow in the opening minutes, and Burns again overcame Woodley’s famously strong takedown defense to drop Woodley again in the second round.

Woodley (19-5-1) had not  fought since losing his title in a one-sided thrashing from Usman in March 2019. Woodley had reigned atop the division for nearly three years, and the 38-year-old University of Missouri graduate said he dealt with depression while debating whether to stay in MMA or to pursue a music career.

Burns’ victory capped an entertaining show at the Apex, where the octagon is only 25 feet in diameter, compared to 30 feet in most competitive cages. The compact dimension typically leads to more aggressive fighting, and this card featured six finishes in its 11 bouts.

Burns was fighting in a fan-free arena for the second time in 2 1/2 months. He stopped veteran Demian Maia in Brasilia on March 14 in the UFC’s final show before it halted competition.

After an eight-week break, the UFC returned to competition earlier this month with three shows over eight days in Jacksonville, Florida. 

With ambitions to hold near-weekly cards throughout the summer as part of its expansive broadcast deal with ESPN, the promotion relocated its operations to its own facilities after the Nevada Athletic Commission agreed three days ago to allow the return of combat sports.

Although this card was fairly light on star power, the promotion will stage UFC 250 next Saturday night from the same gym. Two-division champion Amanda Nunes’ featherweight title defense against Canada’s Felicia Spencer headlines the pay-per-view card.

UFC President Dana White continues to promise additional shows this summer from the so-called “Fight Island,” an undisclosed private isle where the promotion intends to host bouts between fighters who can’t enter the U.S. due to health restrictions.

Sakai (15-1-1) remained unbeaten in the UFC with his fourth straight victory when two judges favored him 29-28 after a lively bout with Ivanov (18-4), who was up 30-27 on the third judge’s card.

Sakai escaped punishment from referee Jason Herzog in the third round when he blatantly grabbed the chain-link wall of the cage while attempting to avoid a takedown attempt by Ivanov.

Grabbing the cage is illegal and punishable by a point deduction, but Herzog merely warned Sakai verbally. The decision was met with audible disbelief by Daniel Cormier, the former UFC heavyweight champion working in the quiet arena as a color commentator.

Strawweight contender Mackenzie Dern opened the main card by finishing Hannah Cifers with a knee bar that was the first leg-lock submission victory by a woman in UFC history. Dern (8-1) earned her first win since giving birth to her daughter last year.