Unbeaten UFC prospect Muhammad Mokaev relishing Abu Dhabi return

Unbeaten UFC prospect Muhammad Mokaev relishing Abu Dhabi return
Fighting out of Manchester, UK, Muhammad Mokaev is a hugely popular fighter in the Middle East. (X: @muhammadmokaev)
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Updated 17 October 2023
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Unbeaten UFC prospect Muhammad Mokaev relishing Abu Dhabi return

Unbeaten UFC prospect Muhammad Mokaev relishing Abu Dhabi return
  • British fighter won on his previous visit to the UAE capital last year

ABU DHABI: Unbeaten flyweight Muhammad Mokaev returns to Abu Dhabi on Saturday for UFC 294: Makhachev vs Volkanovski 2, looking to build on the win he enjoyed on his last trip to the UAE capital. 

Mokaev will take on Tim Elliot at Etihad Arena in a strong card headlined by the highly anticipated lightweight title clash between Islam Makhachev and the UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. 

Fighting out of Manchester, UK, Mokaev is a hugely popular fighter in the Middle East. This is due to his exciting fighting style and personal story. 

A refugee from Dagestan, Mokaev moved to the UK at the age of 12. From his family having to live on the equivalent of only $7 a day, he has become one of the UFC’s most exciting prospects with a 10-0-0 (1 no contest) record. He has achieved a perfect four wins from as many contests in the Octagon. 

With his Muslim faith endearing him to the region’s fight fans, he has enjoyed phenomenal support when fighting in Abu Dhabi, where he secured a submission victory over Malcolm Gordon in October 2022. 

Mokaev said he could not wait to return to Etihad Arena and put on a show for his supporters.

“I have an amazing fan base in Abu Dhabi,” he said. “Even when I fought on the prelims last year, the packed arena made it feel like a main event.

“I am very excited to be back and fighting again — I am as excited now as when I made my debut. When I got injured in March, I knew there would be UFC in Abu Dhabi and straight away I told the UFC, ‘Book me for this.’ They told me I might not be recovered in time, but I said ‘I will be recovered to fight there’.” 

The 23-year-old came to Bahrain in September to finish his preparations and ensure he was acclimatized to the Middle Eastern weather before his clash with Elliot.

“We came out here on Sept. 7 because the climate is a big difference to the UK,” he said. “A lot of fighters make the mistake of coming out too late, but I wasn’t going to do that.” 

Three of Mokaev’s four UFC wins have come by submission, and he is promising fans they will see the best version of him yet. “I think my all-round game has got a lot better — but especially my strength. I have been working on a lot of strength conditioning and you will see a different version of me in Abu Dhabi — this is Mokaev 2.0.

“I just want to say thank you to all the people who support me and I am looking forward to giving my thanks to them in Abu Dhabi with another (strong) performance inside the Octagon.” 


MLC stars Netravalkar, Khan, Patel aim to continue USA’s historic run at T20 World Cup Super8s

MLC stars Netravalkar, Khan, Patel aim to continue USA’s historic run at T20 World Cup Super8s
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MLC stars Netravalkar, Khan, Patel aim to continue USA’s historic run at T20 World Cup Super8s

MLC stars Netravalkar, Khan, Patel aim to continue USA’s historic run at T20 World Cup Super8s
  • As many as 47 MLC stars have featured in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024

DALLAS: Team USA have made history by advancing to the Super 8 stage of the International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 for the first time, decided by a wash-out in Broward County.

The US’s advancement ahead of cricketing powerhouse Pakistan has sent shockwaves around the globe and is rallying Americans to get behind their national team.

Team USA, as the host nation making its World Cup debut, has captured the world’s attention. After defeating Canada convincingly in the opening game, the team also emerged victorious against Pakistan in a thrilling super-over, putting them in a position to finish second in Group A.

Cognizant Major League Cricket players in Team USA are: Ali Khan, Nitish Kumar and Shadley Van Schalkwyk (Los Angeles Knight Riders); Steven Taylor, Nosthush Kenjige, Monank Patel and Shayan Jahangir (MI New York); Corey Anderson (San Francisco Unicorns); Harmeet Singh, (Seattle Orcas); Milind Kumar (Texas Super Kings); and Andries Gous, Saurabh Netravalkar and Yasir Mohammad (Washington Freedom).

With the USA set to face South Africa, the West Indies and England in Group 2 of the Super 8 round, MLC Chief Executive Vijay Srinivasan said the advancement of the team to the next stage of the home world cup was an incredible achievement.

“Congratulations to Team USA who, in their first-ever World Cup appearance, gave us three thrilling matches of cricket against the world’s best teams and earned their position in the Super 8.

“This is a historic moment for the sport, especially for our players from Major League Cricket who are representing the USA. We hope that this inspires boys and girls around the country to pick up a bat and ball this summer and encourages sports fans to attend an MLC game or tune into the broadcast. 

“The USA’s advancement to the Super 8 means they’ll automatically qualify for the 2026 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, providing Major League Cricket with a strong platform for continued growth.”

 

MLC’s six teams — Los Angeles Knight Riders, MI New York, San Francisco Unicorns, Seattle Orcas, Texas Super Kings and Washington Freedom — boast some of the world’s best international and domestic talent who are preparing to represent their respective countries in the World Cup.

All 47 MLC players who have featured in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, listed by team, are:

Los Angeles Knight Riders

Ali Khan — USA

Nitish Kumar — USA

Shadley Van Schalkwyk — USA

Andre Russell — WI

Shakib Al Hasan — Bangladesh

David Miller — South Africa

Josh Little — Ireland

 

MI New York

Steven Taylor — USA

Nosthush Kenjige — USA

Monank Patel — USA

Shayan Jahangir — USA

Tim David — Australia

Nicholas Pooran — West Indies

Rashid Khan — Afghanistan

Kagiso Rabada — South Africa

Trent Boult — New Zealand

Anrich Nortje — South Africa

Romario Shepherd — West Indies

 

San Francisco Unicorns

Corey Anderson — USA

Matt Henry — New Zealand

Josh Inglis — Australia

Sherfane Rutherford — West Indies

Haris Rauf — Pakistan

Pat Cummins — Australia

 

Seattle Orcas

Harmeet Singh — USA

Quinton de Kock — South Africa

Heinrich Klaasen — South Africa

Michael Bracewell — New Zealand

Ryan Rickelton — South Africa

Obed McCoy — West Indies

Imad Wasim — Pakistan

 

Texas Super Kings

Milind Kumar — USA

Mitchell Santner — New Zealand

Devon Conway — New Zealand

Aiden Markram — South Africa

Daryl Mitchell — New Zealand

Naveen-ul-Haq — Afghanistan

Marcus Stoinis — Australia

 

Washington Freedom

Andries Gous — USA

Saurabh Netralvakar — USA

Yasir Mohammad — USA

Marco Jansen — South Africa

Akeal Hosein — West Indies

Glenn Maxwell — Australia

Travis Head — Australia

Lockie Ferguson — New Zealand

Rachin Ravindra — New Zealand

 

The second MLC season kicks off on July 5.


Ons Jabeur ‘avoids risk’ by missing Paris Olympics

Ons Jabeur ‘avoids risk’ by missing Paris Olympics
Updated 18 June 2024
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Ons Jabeur ‘avoids risk’ by missing Paris Olympics

Ons Jabeur ‘avoids risk’ by missing Paris Olympics
  • Earlier in the day, world number three Aryna Sabalenka said she would also miss the Olympics to protect her fitness

PARIS: Three-time Grand Slam runner up Ons Jabeur said on Monday she will sit out this summer’s Paris Olympics to avoid further injury to her knee.
Tunisian Jabeur, 29, will miss the Games, between July 27-August 4. The competition being played Roland-Garros, meaning a switch back to clay immediately after the grass season and before the hard-court run up to the US Open.
Last year Jabeur underwent surgery on her right knee.
“After consulting with my medical team regarding attending to the Olympics in Paris, we have decided that the quick change of surface and the body’s adaptation required would put my knee at risk and jeopardize the rest of my season,” Jabeur said on her social media accounts.
“Unfortunately I will not be able to participate in the 2024 Olympics,” she added.
Jabeur reached the final at Wimbledon in 2022 and 2023 and at the US Open in 2022. She competed at the Olympics in London in 2012, in Rio in 2016 and in Tokyo five years later.
Wimbledon starts on July 1 with the US Open beginning on August 26.
Earlier in the day, world number three Aryna Sabalenka said she would also miss the Olympics to protect her fitness.


Boats cruise the Seine river in a rehearsal for the Paris Olympics’ opening ceremony

Boats cruise the Seine river in a rehearsal for the Paris Olympics’ opening ceremony
Updated 18 June 2024
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Boats cruise the Seine river in a rehearsal for the Paris Olympics’ opening ceremony

Boats cruise the Seine river in a rehearsal for the Paris Olympics’ opening ceremony
  • Officials are confident that the near four-hour ceremony will run like clockwork on July 26
  • On the day of the eagerly-awaited event, around 200 Olympic delegations will join the parade on more than 80 boats

PARIS: Curious onlookers gathered on bridges as dozens of boats snaked along the Seine river on Monday in a rehearsal for the Paris Olympics’ unique opening ceremony next month.

A total of 55 boats made the journey from Pont d’Austerlitz, named after a French military victory in 1805, to Pont d’Iena, a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, the nation’s most striking and best-known landmark.

Officials are confident that the near four-hour ceremony will run like clockwork on July 26.

“Six months ago we had like 10 minutes delay on the timing and today we are very close, almost to the second to our targets,” Thierry Reboul, the executive director for ceremonies said. “So it is very satisfying. We’ve respected an extremely precise level of timing.”

On the day of the eagerly-awaited event, around 200 Olympic delegations will join the parade on more than 80 boats. They will make the journey from east to west, along a six-kilometer (3.7-mile) route which has become a major talking point — for its audacity as a unique open-air event and for its exposure to potential danger.

Security concerns led French President Emmanuel Macron to say in mid-April that the ceremony could shift to Stade de France if the threat level was too high. But Reboul said Monday that authorities are preparing for the big day as originally planned, with no alternatives being prepared at this stage.

There will be a final rehearsal, involving the full armada of boats, before the opening ceremony — one which is expected to bring 100 world leaders to the city’s embankments, where more than 300,000 people will watch.

“We will give our heart and souls to make it a great success for the French people,” France’s Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said Monday. “They deserve it.”

The rehearsal saw 10 police speedboats shadowing the convoy, as well as speedboats equipped with television cameras. There were armed police officers stationed at various points along the way. The boats crossed 16 bridges, passing by iconic landmarks such as the green-tinged Grand Palais — where fencing and Taekwondo events will be held.

On each bridge, a few dozen people watched attentively.

“Fifty-five? That’s a lot of boats,” said 49-year-old Rosa Gabriel. Taking a break between walking from the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral, she watched it from the Pont des Arts bridge — fondly known as Love Lock Bridge, with its thousands of personalized locks attached to the railings.

One tourist even mistook the scene for something else.

“Maybe they are making a movie,” said Driss El Kaoutari, a 42-year-old from Morocco who was on vacation in Paris with his daughter.

What people actually saw were empty vessels bobbing slowly by. But they will be full of life, color, sound and movement next month.

“You will have many delegation members on the boats with their uniforms and their flags,” Reboul said. “Around them there will be many other things, as you can imagine.”

The water itself has become a sensitive and thorny topic for the organizers and politicians heading into the July 26-Aug. 11 Paris Games. A whopping $1.5 billion investment has already been made to improve the Seine’s water quality, with Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo both promising to take a dip.

This time, it was Oudea-Castera’s turn to give assurances about the river — where marathon swimmers and triathletes are set to compete during the Olympics.

She bristled a little when answering.

“Regarding the quality of the Seine’s water, we are confident. You shouldn’t ask us to be ready ahead of time,” Oudea-Castera said, adding that a new center for collecting waste will be opened next week.


West Indies thrash Afghanistan in final T20 World Cup group game

West Indies thrash Afghanistan in final T20 World Cup group game
Updated 18 June 2024
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West Indies thrash Afghanistan in final T20 World Cup group game

West Indies thrash Afghanistan in final T20 World Cup group game
  • Nicholas Pooran’s blistering 98 off 53 balls highlighted a dominant batting effort by West Indies

GROS-ISLET, Saint Lucia: West Indies thrashed Afghanistan by 104 runs in the final group stage game of the T20 World Cup on Monday.
Nicholas Pooran’s blistering 98 off 53 balls (six fours, eight sixes) highlighted a dominant batting effort by West Indies as they piled up 218 for five after being put in as the two Super Eight qualifiers sparred in advance of the next phase of the tournament starting on Wednesday.
Afghanistan were bundled out for 114 off 16.2 overs in reply.


Celtics win 18th NBA championship with 106-88 Game 5 victory over Dallas Mavericks

Celtics win 18th NBA championship with 106-88 Game 5 victory over Dallas Mavericks
Updated 18 June 2024
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Celtics win 18th NBA championship with 106-88 Game 5 victory over Dallas Mavericks

Celtics win 18th NBA championship with 106-88 Game 5 victory over Dallas Mavericks
  • Boston earned their latest title on the 16th anniversary of hoisting their last Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2008
  • Jaylen Brown had 21 points and was voted the NBA Finals MVP

BOSTON: The Boston Celtics again stand alone among NBA champions.

Jayson Tatum had 31 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds as the Celtics topped the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 on Monday night to win the franchise’s 18th championship, breaking a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in league history.

Boston earned their latest title on the 16th anniversary of hoisting their last Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2008. It marks the 13th championship won this century by one of the city’s Big 4 professional sports franchises.

Jaylen Brown added 21 points and was voted the NBA Finals MVP. Jrue Holiday finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Center Kristaps Porzingis also provided an emotional lift, returning from a two-game absence because of a dislocated tendon in his left ankle to chip in five points in 17 minutes.

It helped the Celtics cap a postseason that saw them go 16-3 and finish with an 80-21 overall record. That .792 winning percentage ranks second in team history behind only the Celtics’ 1985-86 championship team that finished 82-18 (.820).

Second-year coach Joe Mazzulla, at age 35, also became the youngest coach since Bill Russell in 1969 to lead a team to a championship.

Luka Doncic finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas, who failed to extend the series after avoiding a sweep with a 38-point win in Game 4. The Mavericks had been 3-0 in Game 5s this postseason, with Doncic scoring at least 31 points in each of the them.

Kyrie Irving finished with just 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting and has now lost 13 of the last 14 meetings against the Celtics team he left in the summer of 2019 to join the Brooklyn Nets.

NBA teams are now 0-157 in postseason series after falling into a 3-0 deficit.

Boston never trailed and led by as many as 26 feeding off the energy of the Garden crowd.

Dallas were within 16-15 early before the Celtics closed the first quarter on a 12-3 run that included eight combined points by Tatum and Brown.

The Celtics did it again in the second quarter when the Mavericks trimmed what had been a 15-point deficit to nine. Boston ended the period with a 19-7 spurt that was capped by a a half-court buzzer beater by Payton Pritchard – his second such shot of the series – to give Boston a 67-46 halftime lead.

Over the last two minutes of the first and second quarters, the Celtics outscored the Mavericks 22-4.

The Celtics never looked back.

Russell’s widow, Jeannine Russell, and his daughter Karen Russell were in TD Garden to salute the newest generation of Celtics champions.

They watched current Celtics stars Tatum and Brown earn their first rings. It was the trade that sent 2008 champions Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn in 2013 that netted Boston the draft picks it eventually used to select Brown and Tatum third overall in back-to-back drafts in 2016 and 2017.

The All-Stars came into their own this season, leading a Celtics team that built around taking and making a high number of 3-pointers, and a defense that rated as the league’s best during the regular season.

The duo made it to at least the Eastern Conference finals as teammates four previous times.

Their fifth deep playoff run together proved to be the charm.

After both struggling at times offensively in the series, Tatum and Brown hit a groove in Game 5, combining for 31 points and 11 assists in the first half.

It helped bring out all the attributes that made Boston the NBA’s most formidable team this postseason – spreading teams out, sharing the ball, and causing havoc on defense.

And it put a championship bow on dizzying two-year stretch for the Celtics, that saw them lose in the finals to the Golden State Warriors in 2022 and then fail to return last season after a Game 7 home loss to the Miami Heat in the conference finals.