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MMA rankings: Jon Jones retains top light-heavyweight spot

Times' MMA ranking for January.

Heavyweight

 

1. Cain Velasquez

2. Fabricio Werdum

3. Junior Dos Santos

4. Travis Browne

5. Stipe Miocic

6. Josh Barnett

7. Mark Hunt

8. Antonio Silva

9. Ben Rothwell

10. Alistair Overeem

 

It was an uneventful month for heavyweight MMA. The biggest bout next month takes place February 22 when Frank Mir seeks to rebound from a four fight losing streak against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.

 

Light Heavyweight

 

1. Jon Jones

2. Anthony Johnson

3. Daniel Cormier

4. Alexander Gustafsson

5. Rashad Evans

6. Ryan Bader

7. Phil Davis

8. Glover Teixeira

9. Ovince St. Preux

10. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

 

In contrast to the heavyweight division, it was the busiest month in years for the 205-pound division. UFC champion Jon Jones won one of the biggest fights of his career, ending the undefeated record of highly skilled challenger Daniel Cormier. It was then revealed that Jones failed a drug test for cocaine prior to the bout, further deteriorating Jones’ troubled public...

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LeGarrette Blount on Seahawks' defense: 'They're not immortal'

The Seattle Seahawks held opponents to the fewest average yards per game in the NFL during the regular season, but that doesn't seem to bother New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.

Asked about the challenge of facing a defense that was the league's best at stopping the pass and No. 3 at thwarting the run, Blount gave the Seahawks some praise before putting things back into perspective.

"I don't care about them being the top defense. That doesn’t bother me," Blount said Tuesday, according to the Providence Journal. "They were good enough to get here, just like we were good enough to get here. They're not immortal. They can be beaten."

"Obviously they’re a pretty good defense," he said. "They were good enough to get here, they were good enough to get here last year, so we are going to put a plan together to hopefully make sure we come out victorious."

The Seahawks' defense has, indeed, looked a little more civilian in the postseason. It has given up an average of 334 yards...

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NBA D-League teammates ejected after getting into fight on bench

It appears at least a couple of NBA Development League players need to work on camaraderie just as much as their basketball skills.

Two players on the Iowa Energy were ejected during a game against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Tuesday after getting into a fight during a timeout. According to the Des Moines Register, Kailin Lucas and Jarnell Stokes started brawling in front of the Energy bench in the third quarter.

Video of the incident makes it difficult to see how the fight started or what exactly happened, but in-arena broadcasters covering the game did fill in some of the unknowns.

One of them tells the crowd, "… Some unfortunate happenings. Not sure what happened on the Iowa bench, but teammates kind of got into it."

Later, they described Lucas as being "bloodied up a bit" by the fight.

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the fight is how the referees appear to be oblivious to what's going on until the scuffle is well underway.

Before they were ejected, Lucas had 18 points and...

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What we learned from the Ducks' 4-0 win in Vancouver

With just six goals allowed in the last five games, the Ducks are suddenly in defensive mode.

In winning their sixth consecutive game Tuesday, 4-0 in Vancouver, Anaheim let just 17 shots reach goalie Frederik Andersen.

Andersen stopped each of them to tie Montreal’s Bill Durnan (1944) for the winningest start by a goalie in NHL history (47 wins in 63 decisions).

Defenseman Clayton Stoner launched his body forward to make a shutout-clinching diving takeaway of a puck in front of Andersen and Anaheim blocked 14 shots while performing precisely on the back end.

Takeaway No. 1: This was something to aspire to repeat.

The victory wasn’t against a team staggering through a back-to-back or a long road trip.

The Canucks were opening the second half from a lengthy break and sought to begin a six-game homestand impressively.

They took shots at the Ducks, at Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, even Andersen, but nothing stuck, and Kyle Palmieri’s goal on a delayed penalty after Jannik Hansen decked...

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U.S. teen Madison Keys beats Venus Williams at Australian Open

Madison Keys got one Williams sister out of the way on Wednesday at the Australian Open. On Thursday, the 19-year-old American will try to make it two, and this sibling might be a little tougher.

Keys overcame a left thigh injury to beat No. 18-ranked Venus Williams, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, and advance to the last four against top-ranked and 18-time major winner Serena, who had little trouble beating last year's finalist, Dominika Cibulkova, 6-2, 6-2.

Serena Williams made the win look easy despite suffering from a bad cold the last few days. She spoke with a hoarse voice in her post-match interview on court.

“I have to keep my answers short because I keep coughing,” Williams said.

There had been some hope the semifinals might feature an all-Williams matchup at a major for the first time in more than five years. The Williams sisters last met in a Grand Slam match at Wimbledon in 2009, when Serena won the final.

The semifinalists from the other half of the women's draw have already been...

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Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao meet at Miami Heat game

If either of them considers fate the final nudge to complete get a long-awaited deal, maybe it's significant that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao showed up at a Miami Heat home game in courtside seats across from each other Tuesday night.

The welterweight champions in negotiations to fight May 2 at MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas wound up chatting together briefly, with Mayweather in a photo widely disseminated on Twitter pointing Pacquiao to his mobile phone. 

Both fighters are big basketball fans who attend games frequently. 

“Getting closer,” one official close to the negotiations called to tell The  Times on Tuesday night.

Pacquiao’s manager, Michael Koncz, declined to reveal what was said between the fighters, labeling it “a private conversation.”

The fighters’ representatives say there has been agreement from both on the purse split and drug-testing plan for a fight that has been discussed for more than five years.

Premium cable networks Showtime and HBO are negotiating a...

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