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Fil-Am Robbie Lawler retains UFC gold in classic

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Cover photo from UFC Europe Twitter account

What a way to start 2015!

Going into this bout, mixed martial arts pundits have penciled this bout to be an absolute slobber knocker. After the fight was over, it was an understatement as Filipino-American “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler was able to rally late to retain the UFC World Welterweight Championship against an equally aggressive “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit by split decision Saturday evening (Sunday morning Philippine time) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas City, USA.

Lawler was aggressive in the early-goings of the fight in forcing the action and cornering Condit. NBK though was able to drill the champion with a counter punch that stunned Lawler. Combinations capped with leg and body kicks closed out the opening round for Condit.

The Filipino-American champion was able to recover in the second stanza as he was able to weave-out of the quick and diversified combinations by his 31-year old opponent. A huge right by Lawler dropped Condit midway but was able to recover in securing a guard from the bottom. With both men standing up, the champion’s counter-striking was on-point to gain the round.

The two warriors went into a flurry in the pivotal third round. Condit’s kicks nullified the powerful combinations of Lawler. The two fighters tried to go for takedowns late in the middle round but were not able to secure it. A roundhouse left kick by Condit was answered by a body kick by Lawler to close out the round.

Going into the championship rounds, American Top Team head coach Fabiano Silva warned Lawler that he needs this final two rounds in order to retain his coveted crown. However, both fighters became wary of each others power to open the fourth round in throwing combinations that hit nothing but air. Lawler tried to convert on a slow leg kick but was caught by Condit and resulted to a slip-up. This gave the challenger confidence in throwing combinations left and right that forced the champion to the defensive. Body kicks on a prone abdomen of the champion were quickly followed by huge overhands to end the fourth round in favor of the the Albuquerque, New Mexico-resident.

With his back against the wall, Lawler gave a performance for the ages to gain at least a shot of retaining his hardware. The “Ruthless” one connected on a huge leg kick-right overhand combination in the first 30 seconds of the deciding round that slowed Condit. Another overhand left by the Filipino-American connected but Condit was able to recover and connect on diverse combinations that included elbows and spinning back fists. With 1:43 left, a huge right by Lawler on an attacking Condit stopped the challenger from his tracks. Sensing blood, Lawler furiously battered Condit with head kicks, punches, and knees but could not even at least drop a flailing Condit. With 47 second remaining, the former WEC Welterweight Champion went for a clinch to at least gain a breather but Lawler just shoves him away. The two warriors then exchanged fists and fire to the delight of the Las Vegas crowd to close out an epic round.

The two warriors were clearly exhausted after the bout as both men went side-by-side on the corner in a classic moment.

High anticipation from both the crowd and fighters as everyone awaited the judges’ decision. The judges scores were as follows: 48-47, 47-48, and 48-47 with two of the judges seeing it in favor of the current World Champion Robbie Lawler. The statistics showed that Lawler landed 51% of his significant strikes. Even in landing just 35% of his punches, Condit was able to outstrike the champion 176 (of 495) against Lawler’s 92 (of 177).

“Carlos is a hell of a fighter. He had a great gameplan. There were two winners,” said an exhausted Lawler after the bout. “‘And still?’ But let’s do it again.”

“Carlos is really tough. Hats-off to a champion like him. He’s a hell of a fighter!,” the champion emphasized.

Lawler admitted that he knew the fight was razor-thin close and that he needed to win the last round. “It was close. You got to win that last round,” he told Joe Rogan during the live telecast.

For the challenger, he felt that he had three rounds in the bag in saying, “I felt like I had three rounds in the bag. But that’s why you don’t leave the fight to the judges.” Nonetheless, Condit had only kind words to say about his opponent in leaving only high praise for the Filipino-American. “It’s an honor to fight a warrior like Robbie Lawler. I’m blessed to be doing this as a job,” he closed.

The UFC World Welterweight Champion is now 27-10-1 in his MMA career and 8-1 since making a return at welterweight. Condit, on the other hand, falls to 30-8.

Do you agree or disagree with the decision? Who won the third round? Share your thoughts on our comments section below

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ABL

AJ Mandani sparks Singapore in win over Joshua Munzon-led Westsports

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Back to his role as the sixth man of the Slingers after two games, AJ Mandani provided the firepower needed by Singapore in a fourth quarter surge to stop the Westsports Malaysia Dragons, 93-85, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.

The win arrested the Slingers’ two-game losing streak, raising their slate to 6-6. Westsports, a team coming off a two-game winning streak that included a 91-87 win over Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat last January 18, fell to 3-5.

Struggling in the first three quarters, Mandani six of his eight points in the final frame. And those points were povital in fending off Westsports.

With Singapore clinging to a solitary point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Filipino-Canadian scored four straight points 8-0 run to gain a 74-67 lead with under seven minutes left. Another basket by Mandani followed it up with a breakaway layup with with 5:18 remaining to give Singapore an 81-72 cushion.

Filipino exports Joshua Munzon and Patrick Cabahug tried to rally the home team back as a triple by the latter cut the lead down to just three with 1:40 on the clock. Big buckets by Delvin Goh and Chris Charles sealed off the Malaysia-based club team.

Munzon went just 5-for-18 from the field to finish with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Cabahug chipped in eight points on 3-for-4 shooting off the bench.

Xavier Alexander led Singapore with 33 points while Charles tallied a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three swats. Singaporean Goh had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Marcus Marshall paced Westsports with 22 points, playing all 40 minutes as fellow World Import AJ West had a tough outing.

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AU

Impervious Lady Chiefs stay perfect after sweep of Lady Pirates

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The Arellano University Lady Chiefs extended their winning streak to 17, dating back to last season, after clobbering the Lyceum of the Philippines Lady Pirates, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The defending champions were unrelenting, with four Lady Chiefs scoring in double-digits. Rookie Necole Ebuen powered in 11 points. Third-year open hitter Regine Arocha and Arellano’s middle blockers Mary Anne Esguerra and Andrea Marzan each provided 10 markers.

Conversely, no Lady Pirate managed to score in double-figures.

“Maganda naman talaga ang nilalaro ng mga bata. Lahat kasi kami determinado na makakuha ulet ng championship. Alam nila (Lady Chiefs) na kailangan pataas nang pataas ang ginagalaw namin,” said Arellano head coach Obet Javier.

The Lady Chiefs also limited their errors to a season-best 16, while the Lady Pirates surrendered 24 miscues.

Christine Miralles and Monica Sevilla each supplied the struggling Lyceum with eight point apiece.

The Lady Chiefs will look for their sixth win of the season when they face the red-hot University of Perpetual Help System DALTA (4-1) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Pirates (1-4) take on the undefeated San Beda College (4-0) on Wednesday also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

AU (3) – Ebuen 11, Arocha 10, Esguerra 10, Marzan 10, Prado 3, Ramirez 3, Liu 2, Balanoba 1, Donato 1, Verutiao 0, Buemia (L), Flores (L)

LPU (0) – Miralles 8, Sevilla 8, Juanilla 7, Patio 4, Genova 1, Romanban 0, Bongabong 0, Marcella (L)

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Basketball

Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse, drops Red Lions to 0-2

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23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing with 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse — the second-best club team in Tunisia, who boasts four national team players and an American import — led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points, while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a one-day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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JRU

Perpetual overpowers JRU to keep pace for Final Four

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Strutting their decisive height and power advantage, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas slammed the Jose Rizal University Lady Bombers, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Lady Altas were still heavy-handed with their errors, surrendering 35 miscues, including 12 in the second set — the only frame they lost.

The Las Piñas-based program, however, kept a scorching offensive pace, bombarding the Lady Bombers with six blocks and 12 aces. JRU had just five points combined from those categories.

“Mataas pa talaga ‘yung tendency ng mga bata mamigay ng mga puntos. Sabi ko nga hindi kami mananalo kung tutulungan pa namin ‘yung kalaban maka-score,” rued Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño.

“Pero, unti-unte namang gumaganda ‘yung galaw ng mga bata. Lahat naman ng pagkukulang nila, tinatrabaho namin para maayos sa ensayo,” the champion mentor added.

Perpetual’s six-foot-three middle blocker Lourdes Clemente towered over the Lady Bombers with a season-high 19 points which included 14 attacks, two blocks, and three aces. Winger Cindy Imbo added 15 points.

Rookie Dolly Versoza paced the Lady Bombers with a game-high 21 points, while captain Shola Alvarez managed 15.

The Lady Altas (4-1) take on the undefeated defending champs Arellano University (5-0) on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Lady Bombers (2-3) face the College of Saint Benilde (3-1) on Wednesday, also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Clemente 19, Imbo 15, Sangalang 8, Llorente 7, Tripoli 7, Gual 6, Versoza 2, Umandal 1, Estanislao 0, Medalla (L)

JRU (1) – Versoza 21, Alvarez 15, Ebuenga 5, Montojo 2, Rivera 2, Sibangan 1, Bodiongan 0, Macaraya (L)

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