Northern California gets shut out in Pacific Northwest

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Northern California gets shut out in Pacific Northwest

Nitesh Dutt
CSNBayArea.com

In what was being called the biggest card in the UFC this year, each and every fight truly delivered and gave fans what they wanted. For Northern California fans, the night was not as memorable.

Things didn’t start off well for Northern California on the main card, San Jose’s Mike “Quick” Swick became victim to his own nickname. In a battle of two welterweights hoping to throw their names into title contention, Matt Brown came out looking like the better fighter.

The first-round started off slow as both fighters spent the first few minutes feeling each other out with solid jabs. Brown was able to score a takedown two minutes into the bout and used his jiu-jitsu to gain a quick upper-hand. He had Swick in some early trouble in the round, but AKA’s Swick was able to get out of a guillotine and triangle choke. It was clear, even after five minutes, that Swick was slightly outmatched and sluggish.

It was much of the same in the second round for Brown, who was able to make “quick” work of Swick. Brown landed left then right to drop Swick 2:31 into round two. The bout lived up to the expectations and did finish in quick fashion, but it was in a way that Nor Cal fans were not hoping for.

The hopes and dreams of Nor Cal MMA fans on this night were now in the hands of Stockton’s Nate Diaz.

Diaz, the younger brother of UFC Welterweight Nick, challenged Benson Henderson for Henderson’s UFC lightweight championship in Seattle. This bout was hyped as a match-up of the top two lightweights in the world, not just the UFC. When the lights hit and the action took place, one lightweight simply outclassed and out-fought the other.

Right from the first bell Henderson was in-control. He used his wrestling, kicks and every skill that he has to show he was the better fighter. And to prove, that there is not one fighter near his level.

Fighting in front of his hometown crowd of Seattle, the one they call “Smooth” delivered his best performance since joining the UFC. Even though the bout went the distance, it was not as close as one would imagine. Benson ended up winning via unanimous decision, outscoring Diaz 50-43, 50-45 and 50-45.

As for Diaz, who was fighting in his first title fight, was staying true to form. At a certain point in the fifth round, while he was already thoroughly beaten, Diaz began to antagonize Henderson by tapping himself on the chin asking to be hit. It was a classic Diaz moment and left the Gracie Fight Team with zero UFC titles.

Once the final second passed, Henderson stared down Diaz and sent a message to him and the rest of the lightweight division. He’s growing in each fight and will let his actions inside the octagon do the talking.

Nitesh Dutt is a Productions Assistant at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. You can follow him on Twitter @NiteshDutt

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

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