The weekly look at stories you may have missed from the world of Olympic sports, MMA, soccer and whatever else pops up this week starts with …
Beach volleyball: Kerri Walsh Jennings was pregnant during the Olympics. For some people, this is startling news. For soccer fans, it’s a Christie Rampone impression.
Cycling: Philippe Gilbert is your new road race world champion, making a well-timed late breakaway. Germany’s Tony Martin held off the USA’s Taylor Phinney to win the men’s time trial.
Olympic champion Marianne Vos added the women’s road race world title (USA’s Amber Neben was fourth), and Germany’s Judith Arndt won the women’s time trial ahead of the USA’s Evelyn Stevens.
Meanwhile, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart says he has received death threats. Can you guess why? Bet you can.
Soccer (European): They’re in Germany, but they’re American. They play for Hoffenheim, but the stadium’s in Sinsheim. But they can both find the goal — Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams scored in Bundesliga play this weekend.
Track and field: From today’s Track Super Fan roundup – Matt Centrowitz pulled off an unusual indoor (Millrose) and street (Fifth Avenue) mile double this year. And the sport may be hit with some labor strife.
Curling: Three events, two titles and an 18-2 record for a team of Olympic vets: Erika Brown, Debbie McCormick, Jessica Schultz and Ann Swissheim.
Cricket: Unseeded Ireland was knocked out of the World Twenty20 tournament when their match against West Indies was rained out after West Indies posted a higher net run rate in their previous match, which was decided on the Duckworth-Lewis table after rain interrupted Australia’s innings with Australia posting a higher run rate than West Indies but not so much higher that the net run rate between West Indies and Ireland … no, this doesn’t make any sense.
England got absolutely thrashed in their second match, getting bowled out for 80 to lose to India by 90 runs. They had already advanced to the next round, but that hurts.
Archery: The USA’s Brady Ellison finished second in the World Cup Final but won the season prize for scoring the most 10s.
MMA: UFC 152 was a terrific card. So why is Dana White in such a feisty mood? And what’s up with yet another injury in a main event (this time in UFC corporate sibling Strikeforce)?
And this week’s recap of The Ultimate Fighter:
– Looks like a new house or possibly a heavily renovated house, though they still cram several beds into one room. A laughing Igor Araujo provided the best summary of TUF existence in the show’s history: “This is the best place that I’ve lived in my life. I wish I could bring my wife and my two kids here and then could stay here forever. But with those guys, I just want to stay the six weeks and leave.”
– To illustrate the point, Matt Secor and Julian Lane start showing their peacock fighters. Lane’s Mohawk is turning pink. Secor says that’s like (bleep). Lane says it’s the color of (bleep). Secor says it’s really the color of (bleep). I have no idea whether to be offended. Later, they turn to more traditional fare like who fared worse in his prelim. Secor got beat up a bit but finished his fight. Lane is proud he wasn’t marked up. Lane thinks Secor has run his mouth. The rest is bleeped. (Oh, and they happen to sleep next to each other.)
– Lane and Colton Smith pulled a pretty good flour-over-the-door prank. All well and good, but Colton Smith somehow tied it into team-building exercises in the military. After that segment came an ad with Marines “running toward the sound of despair.”
– Michael Hill and Mike Ricci are buddies. Ricci says he can’t have conversations with others because they’re not at the same level mentally. That’ll go over well.
– Shane Carwin reads his academic resume (two advanced scientific degrees), and that somehow leads to his accomplished coaching staff of Trevor Wittman, Pat Barry and others. Barry is one of the funniest guys in the UFC — can he get some screen time? In general, Carwin is taking the Georges St. Pierre approach of assembling an all-star team of coaches and letting them be the experts. Carwin went a step farther and let his assistants do the cornering during the fight.
– Roy Nelson, who has been through TUF as a fighter, doesn’t want to do two-a-days. They’re going to train in the afternoon because that’s when they’ll fight. Some of the fighters are a little surprised to have such an easy schedule. Shocked, even.
– Nelson made a puzzling fight announcement. Neil Magny looked great in his prelim. Cameron Diffley is a jiu-jitsu expert. Nelson thinks Magny was in tough spots that Diffley can exploit. Carwin and his fighters think Nelson blundered. Bristol Marunde doesn’t like Nelson’s pick, Nelson’s diet, Nelson’s hair, Nelson’s beard … we get it, dude.
– Meet Neil Magny! Used to get in trouble a lot, then joined the Army and did the combatives program.
– Meet Cameron Diffley! He became a teacher before he became a fighter, and he grew up in the fight capital of the world. Now he’s the student, as Colton Smith tries to work on his wrestling.
– The fight always looked like it would go Magny’s way. In the prefight hype, Diffley sounded like a guy who had studied a bunch of stuff that could work in theory. Magny sounded like a confident fighter who had been well-drilled on how to avoid Diffley’s jiu-jitsu.
– Round 1: Three minutes of Magny looking much sharper on the feet, despite Diffley’s half-decent leg kicks. Then two minutes of Diffley nearly submitting Magny on the ground, transitioning quickly between a couple of submission attempts and threatening a kneebar for a while.
– Round 2: Magny came out strong, then foolishly dropped to the mat with Diffley, who threatened a heel hook. Magny finally got the message that he didn’t want to give Diffley any openings, and he simply jabbed at Diffley the rest of the way, standing up as quickly as possible when Diffley got him to the mat again.
Not the smartest fight. Easy to pick on Nelson for the fight pick, but Magny spent far too much time in the danger zone. It easily could’ve gone to the sudden-victory round, but judges rarely give submission attempts the respect they deserve. Unanimous decision for Magny.
Golf: It’s Ryder Cup time.
Australian rules football: It’s Grand Final time.