Leeds Farce Continues as Cellino Fails Owners’ and Directors’ Test

Leeds Utd

The ongoing debacles at Elland Road continued this week as it emerged that owner Massimo Cellino had failed the mandatory Owners’ and Directors’ Test, and will subsequently be told to vacate his spot among the Leeds directors. The Football League originally tried to block his first attempt to takeover in April 2014 but the move went ahead following Cellino’s appeal. Now, it appears he will have to take a step back until March 2015 at least.

The League’s board of directors arranged a meeting following the surfacing of tax evasion claims in Cellino’s native Italy. Having consulted the judge’s report the board were unanimous in their decision that Cellino be disqualified from carrying on in his current club role. What will now ensue is a tricky situation wherein he must immediately resign but has a fortnight to appeal. If the findings are upheld, which they very well could be, then he must steer clear of the club until March 18th 2015 at the earliest. Confusingly, he would then be eligible to reclaim his position, meaning that even if the ban is upheld it is effectively a three month hiatus as opposed to a long-term exclusion.

The charges come due to Cellino failing to pay adequate taxes on his yacht in Italy. This prompted the League to convene and their decision was clear to all. In a statement, the Football league said: “At its meeting last week, the board considered the reasoned judgment of the Italian court against Mr Cellino, having successfully applied to the Italian courts for its full disclosure.

“The board considered detailed legal advice and agreed unanimously… that Mr Cellino is subject to a disqualifying condition under the terms of the [Owners’ and Directors’] Test.

“As the judgment of the Italian court has not been published in Italy, the Football League will not make any of its contents public.”

This definitive stand leaves little room for negotiation, although it is likely the passionate owner will attempt to stand his ground. It may prove fruitless, but Cellino is not afraid of speaking out if he feels something is awry, even at the risk of being mocked. His tenure at Leeds to date is a testament to this. The zany Italian has frequently hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons, implementing unconscionable ideologies that have left fans and staff alike bemused.

In an effort to save money earlier in the season, Cellino took the dramatic move of closing the club’s training ground and moving proceedings to Elland Road until the start of the season. For a Championship club that was top tier less than a decade ago this is an extremely counter-productive move that gives off an alarmingly bad impression to potential investors, players and competitors. Tampering with tried and tested traditions is nothing new to Cellino, though. In a move that was guaranteed to upset the players he remarkably told them that they would be required to bring their own lunches to work. This is particularly unbelievable in the modern age where diet has become such an important aspect of sport at the highest level, not to mention the huge dent in morale and bitter taste it would leave.

As if that wasn’t enough, Cellino publically took it upon himself to dictate where players can and can’t live. Stating previous lateness as a valid reason for relocation, the fiery owner claimed that every player would have to live in Leeds.

“Next season I do not want one single player who lives outside of Leeds, no way. That is mandatory” said the eccentric President of Leeds United. “Last year there were players who were coming late to games.

“Next year before a home game the players will stay together, have dinner together and go to the game together.”

This came on the back of Cellino cutting short the players’ summer holidays in order to have face-to-face talks before the beginning of the season. Whilst many criticise the lavish lifestyles of footballers given what some perceive to be an easy job, it is widely accepted that a summer break is a necessity to ensure an effective season as evidenced by players like Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and Manchester United’s Robin van Persie already suffering from fatigue this year. This bullish decision will therefore have upset both the players and the fans, a recurring theme in Cellino’s rogue rulebook.

During his time in Italy when Massimo Cellino was in charge of Cagliari he earned himself the nickname ‘The Manager Eater’ after powering through 36 managers in two decades. This is a proud tradition he has continued at Elland Road, firing both David Hockaday and Darko Milanic after just six games apiece in the power seat. Not content with just sacking those in managerial positions, Cellino took it upon himself to wave goodbye to ex-Sheffield United goalie Paddy Kenny.

Having returned to the club for pre-season training in 2014 Kenny found that he had fallen out of favour with the owner and, if media rumours are to be believed, Kenny’s birthday may have something to do with it. Apparently, Cellino believes that the number 17 holds such bad luck that when he found out Kenny was born on the 17th of May he axed him. Although this hasn’t been confirmed by Kenny’s agents, the fact that Cellino had the number 17 seat at former club Cagliari removed and replaced with 16B does add some credence to the story.

The League’s decision to remove Cellino from his position will be met with a fierce defence, particularly given the short-term nature of the ban and the huge repercussions. Looking at the overall picture, many fans will be in agreement that whilst it may rock the boat in the immediate future the removal of Cellino will put an end to the circus show that has become Leeds United, and eventually lead to long-term stability.

WSOP Final Table Gets Underway for $10 Million Prize

Nov Nine 2014

As of 8pm (ET) November 10th, the 2014 World Series of Poker final table will resume play with the winner taking home a stunning $10 million windfall. The biggest annual tournament in poker is being held, as ever, in the US gambling Mecca that is Las Vegas. The remaining participants – a collective now referred to as the November Nine – have been patiently waiting for four months since making the final table, and you can track their progress to riches live on ESPN as they battle for the crown of WSOP No Limit Champion.

Reaching the final table of this esteemed tournament is no mean feat with a field regularly exceeding 6,000. Following Chris Moneymaker’s fairtyale win in 2003, the field tripled from 839 that year to 2,576 in 2004. From here it boomed right up to a peak of 8,773 people but over the last half a decade has consistently average around the 6,500. Remaining in the running until there are just nine people therefore requires patience, persistence, a huge amount of skill, and maybe a bit of luck along the way.

This year’s grand prize of $10 million is the first time the bounty has ever reached eight figures, making it one of the most exciting final tables to date. The November Nine are a mixture of familiar names, online sharks and one that can only be described as a wildcard. Starting with the bookies’ favourite and working through the odds, here’s a quick rundown of the nine competitor’s going into the climax of the competition.

Jorryt van Hoof:

For those of you that follow the online poker scene, van Hoof will already be well known to you after one of the sickest calls you’re ever likely to see in a major tournament. Under the alias of ‘TheCleaner11’, the Dutchman made a complete soul read on fellow pro Dylan Linde and called with just 8-high on a 4-3-5-5-4 board. There were only a handful of hands that he could be beating, and all would involve a deuce and a second card lower than an 8 but excluding 4s, 5s and 6s. Incredibly his read was spot on and when he called the pot size bet on the river, Linde flipped over pocket deuces leaving the cleaner to clean up. But his credentials stretch far beyond a simple hero call.

With over 38 million in chips van Hoof is the chip leader going into the final furlong. This will certainly allow van Hoof an edge, and it is understandable that he is viewed as the favourite to win the coveted bracelet.

Felix Stephenson:

Although van Hoof is the chip leader it is not a commanding lead, with Stephenson just a few million behind. Ironically the Norwegian almost gave this year’s WSOP a miss, and only entered after picking up around $60,000 backing the Netherlands to beat Australia 3-2 at the World Cup in Brazil. At that moment he packed up his things and headed on over to take part in the prestigious tournament, a decision he no doubt now rates among his most important ever. This time, though, he’ll be hoping the Dutch don’t come out on top again.

 Mark Newhouse:

As van hoof and Stephenson are nervously eyeing each other in the build up to taking their seats, it’s possible Mark Newhouse will be sitting back with a wry smile, puffing on a fine Cuban cigar in a pair of flip-flops and Hawaiian shirt. He is, after all, the only one to have been there and done that all before – as recently as last year. Yes, this is Newhouse’s second main event final table in as many years, which is an incredible achievement when you think about the size of the field. Last time out Newhouse was the first to fall, finishing in ninth in what he described as an emotionally draining experience. This year, expect that experience to help him get off to a strong start – perhaps stealing a few pots early on as the others get settled – and potentially overtake the leaders for the win.

Martin Jacobson:

The fact that Jacobson has the second smallest chip stack yet maintains relatively short odds speaks volumes about the bookies’ confidence in the bespectacled Swede. He is the leading tournament earner of the November Nine with $5.5 million accumulated to date and will be exercising that familiar final table confidence that has served him so well in the past. Certainly one to watch.

 Andoni Larrabe:

The youngest player still in the tournament, Larrabe will stand out not only for his tactical nous but his Athletic Bilbao shirt. The proud Spaniard will be representing his home colours as he eclipses his current career earnings, which have yet to hit six figures, and he will be hoping to make a mark on a strong table.

Dan Sindelar:

Sindelar is regarded by some as one of the favourites to walk away from the WSOP final as champion despite a seemingly average stack of just over 21 million chips. Since 2008 he has cashed in WSOP events 17 times, but has failed to make a single final table. Having moved to Las Vegas to pursue his poker career, it is clear that Sindelar takes his game very seriously.

 Will Pappaconstantinou:

Everybody loves an underdog. The bane of commentators everywhere, Pappaconstantinou is an amateur player that has found himself just a few places away from a historic victory. During the four month hiatus preceding the final table the Greek captured a foosball championship. He exclusively hones his skill in live poker, preferring that to an online game, and is also a dealer at Rockingham Park. It will take a momentous effort to beat the other eight competitors but, as Chris Moneymaker proved in 2003, anything is possible.

 William Tonking:

Tonking will be thrilled to have made the November Nine having come some close to elimination as the bubble loomed large. Facing off against Jacobson, Tonking flopped the stone cold nuts, holding J-9 on a 10-8-7 flop. He managed to get it all in but Jacobson flipped over a flush, leaving Tonking to sweat two more cards as the crowd vied for his elimination. He survived, and will be looking to build on his 15 million chip stack.

Bruno Politano:

The short stacked Brazilian has become somewhat of a star in South America, so much so that a documentary is being made about his journey since qualifying for the November Nine four months ago. With a nation behind him and the shortest stack in play, expect plenty of support and a lively showing from Brazil’s new golden boy.

NFL Halts New Jersey Gambling Expansion

draftkings

The National Football League has successfully had a temporary injunction placed on New Jersey’s ability to offer sportsbook gambling at Monmouth Park Racetrack. Judge Michael Shipp approved the injunction after hearing from NFL lawyers who will now have to decide firmly upon which grounds they want the ban to be upheld- but this may prove tricky.

For many years now the NFL has largely opposed the expansion of sports gambling. Among the fundamental reasons is the fact that they want to avoid any kind of match-fixing as much as possible; fans need only look to the 2007 NBA scandal to see the irreparable damage it can do to a sport. There is therefore a logical root to their argument, but with stars like Jay Cutler taking in around $18.5 million per year it is hard to imagine that cheating would be as tempting as it may have been back when wages were much more reasonable. With sports betting becoming as widespread and integral as it is to nearly every leading sport worldwide – not to mention the fact that many people already bet on NFL through various avenues – many fans feel that the NFL should get with the times.

One of the largest stumbling blocks that the NFL is set to face involves fantasy football betting. Whilst outright match betting goes against the NFL’s agenda they openly endorse fantasy football games. Fans pick out their own dream team using a set budget and accumulate points all season for passes, interceptions, touchdowns, safeties and so on. The best performing teams will earn the players prizes and fantasy football has proven a hugely popular pastime for fans across the US. More recently, differentiating between fantasy football and traditional sports betting has become somewhat of an issue in itself.

Adding daily fantasy betting to the already-existing format has resulted in a product markedly similar to sports betting. Whereas the overall aim of fantasy football is to have the best performing squad over a season-long period, daily markets allow customers to have a punt on much more short-term affairs. Having approved fantasy football, the NFL will now find it troublesome to distinguish what precisely they do and don’t approve of in legal terms. The New England Patriots have even struck up a recent partnership with DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports operator, indicating how integrated the habit has become within the game and adding further problems to the NFL’s chances of successfully quashing New Jersey’s attempts to legalise betting.

“DraftKings is incredibly proud to associate ourselves with the New England Patriots, one of the league’s most successful franchises, right here in our backyard,” said the co-founder of DraftKings, Paul Liberman.  ”The Patriots are one of the league’s model franchises and we are pleased to align ourselves with them.  We look forward to bringing the excitement of daily fantasy sports into the game-day experience.”

DraftKings and the New England patriots are clearly heavily invested in one another. The deal ensures that the Gillette stadium will be adorned with LED-based DraftKings signs promoting regular fantasy-based updates. The team’s regular e-newsletter, which goes out to its entire fanbase, will now feature weekly fantasy football tips. The Patriots’ website and social media channels will also be flooded with DraftKings’ content. Any strict move by the NFL against short-term fantasy betting would therefore prove most problematic for this particular arrangement.

According to recent documents issued on the case, the NFL’s lawyers have stated that the recent decision to relax the stringent laws are “in clear and flagrant violation of federal law – to accomplish what it unsuccessfully attempted to do three years ago: sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license or authorize gambling on amateur and professional sports at state-licensed casinos and horse racetracks. Because this effort is no more lawful than New Jersey’s past ones, it, too, should be enjoined.” This seemingly leaves little room for negotiation, which begs the question: how exactly are they going to definitively define what constitutes illegal gambling and what is permissible via the fantasy loophole?

This is not the first time such a protest has been lobbied against what many believe to be a stranglehold on the NFL’s betting regime. In 2011 a document was successful signed by voters to legalise sports gambling and the bill was approved by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. However, the leagues sued and had the approval reversed, and when New Jersey tried to take the case to the US Supreme Court they refused to hear the case, leaving little options going forward.

These actions do not sit well with fans who feel they are within their rights to gamble on the games they pay to watch and the teams they pay to support. On the subject of legalising gambling across the board, NFL official Joe Browne said “If sports betting becomes more prevalent through state-promoted schemes, it will inevitably lead those gambling fans to question whether an erroneous officiating call or a dropped pass late in the game resulted from an honest mistake or an intentional act by a corrupt player or referee.”

Yet this straightforward ideal is starkly contrasted with the fact that sports betting on the NFL is completely legal in Las Vegas. The year’s showcase event, the Super Bowl, has seen a steady year-on-year increase in the amount wagered at Las Vegas bookmakers. Browne went on to say that “a very small percentage” of viewers gamble on the games, but the figures do not exactly backup his statement. At the most recent Super Bowl in 2014, just shy of $120 million was wagered in Las Vegas as the Seattle Seahawks crushed the Denver Broncos 43-8. This is hardly an insignificant sum, so how does Browne’s claim to stop gambling in order to avoid match fixing stack up against a 9-figure betting sum on just one match?

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the case will unfold, with many believing that the NFL will emerge victorious as they often do. If that proves to be the case, punters will be left to turn their habits online – or head over to Vegas.

Which Vegas Hotel Are You?

Which Vegas hotel are you?

A little bit of this town goes a very long way.
—Hunter S. Thompson

While we at Intense Gambling are huge fans on online gambling, the true romance of this pastime is in Vegas. It may be fair to say that many online casinos lose appeal because they lack character. One thing Vegas hotels aren’t short on is personality.

The emptiness of the surrounding desert and the darkness of its nights have encouraged styles to be writ large and lit larger.

But which Vegas hotel matches your personality? You’re about to find out…

  • Could it be the headstrong and nightlong decadence of the Cosmopolitan, or the understated class and reserve typified by the Wynn?
  • Might you fit in with the playfully social nightlife of the Luxor, or should you be gracing the more secluded and sedate days by the pool at the Palms?
  • Do you relish the finer, exquisite delights provided by Caesar’s Palace, or would you be more at home with the cheap thrills and down-to-earth pleasures offered by the Hard Rock Cafe.
  • Or, perhaps, you are all show and the glitz, glamour and spectacle of the Bellagio mirrors your inner Vegas.

You can take the girl out of Vegas, but you can’t take the Vegas out of the girl.
—Charisma Carpenter

Whatever happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but we all carry a little bit of Vegas in us. Which bit best describes you?

You can find out in this infographic quiz, which will sort out the showmen from the showgirls, the drinkers from the loungers, the gamblers from the gambolers and the nighthawks from the day-trippers.

Will you head straight for the jacuzzi, the bar, the show or the tables? Get your dollars ready because we’re about to head to the Strip.

Las Vegas is sort of like how God would do it if he had money.
—Steve Wynn

How will you do Vegas? According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority:

  • Last year 39,668,221 visitors came, saw and conquered (or lost) in their own inimitable style.
  • They spent $6.5 billion on the gaming tables and machines of the Strip alone.
  • The big personalities of Vegas hotels boast an 87.1% occupancy rate, compared with the more modest average of 62.3% across the US.

However you want to do it, you can do it in style.

Everything and anything you want to do, you can do in Las Vegas.
—Drew Carey

So place your bets and cast your eyes down because your number is about to come up. Find out which of these 7 iconic Vegas hotels best matches your own personal style.

Game on.

Which-vegas-hotel-are-you

Add this infographic to your website by copying and pasting the following embed code:

Goal-Line Technology in a Nutshell

goal-line-tech-blog-header

The Bundesliga might’ve decided against adoption of goal-line technology, but it’s still a hot topic amongst Football’s governing bodies and managers, pundits and fans. In light of this we’ve put together a guide to help contextualise the argument – a summary of the advantages and disadvantages, criticisms and complaints about Hawk-Eye and company.

We’ve also dug out some of the most controversial goals (and not-goals) to see whether they’d be given or disallowed under the camera’s beady eyes. Looking at the parade of superstars in the header image, can you guess which goals we’ve put under the microscope?

Read it all by clicking through to our infographic here – Goal Line Technology in a Nutshell.

Pistons Look To Make It Four In A Row

andre-drummond-detroit-pistons

 

It’s been a couple of days to be proud of for the Bulls and Pistons who both dispatched LeBron and his champions to give them the perfect springboard to head into the weekend’s action.

The pair go head-to-head on Saturday December 7 in a huge game in the Central Division in what will be a tightly contested evening. The teams met just 10 days ago in a game which Detroit capitulated in the second half only basketing 26 points in a game where Small Forward Luol Deng scored 27 alone.

It was the 19th time out of 20 the Bulls have defeated the Pistons, a record which the Motor City will want to put right, starting on Saturday.

Since the embarrassing final quarters of November 27, Maurice Cheeks’ side have won three out of four and more importantly have learnt to close out games. The Michigan side had been tipped highly this year with all the talent they put together in the summer and it looks as though the team are starting to jell and move through the gears, none more so than second-year center, Andre Drummond.

Drummond is fast becoming one of the NBA’s hottest properties averaging 13.5 points per game, including an impressive 31 against the Sixers and 24 in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The 20-year-old is also picking up 12.8 rebounds per game, the highest in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls however have been enjoying performances from star men of their own. Carlos Boozer wowed the United Center on Thursday evening with a season-high 27 points whilst Deng has been in the 20s in his previous six games and will no doubt provide the Bulls with their many source of threat.

Bovada NBA

It’s been tough on the Bulls in recent weeks, they’ve been ruing the absence of superstar Derrick Rose, who sat out all last season and is out once again after only 10 games in November and had lost six out of seven before a dominant display against Miami.

And arguably a lot has changed since they steamrolled the Pistons last month. On top of Drummond’s widely-praised displays, the rest of the side are improving no ends. Rodney Stuckey is becoming one of the most dangerous sixth men in the league, whilst Brandon Jennings is averaging 8.4 assists per game and has some of the quickest hands in the NBA.

It looks to be a turning point for the Pistons, and you don’t beat the Heat if you don’t have talent, and you would expect them to see off Chicago at the weekend. And should they prove their mettle against the Bulls then who knows, they could prove their mettle and follow it up with another win against Miami and become real contenders in the postseason.

Heat Looking To Reignite At T-Wolves

dwyane-wade

 

The Timberwolves have offered fans the chance to high-five two-time defending champions the Miami Heat when they face up to each other on December 7th, and it’s likely they’ll be the only stars slapping hands after tip-off too.

The Timberwolves have been in free-fall of late having only won one of their last five with a record that only tops the struggling Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz in the Western Conference. They’re leaking on average 102 points per game and have only kept the Pacers under the 110 mark since November 22.

Taking on the Heat at the Target Center, the Timberwolves will be looking forward to getting back to playing after the midweek debacle in Mexico City when a generator fire led to the Spurs and Wolves going home without even dribbling a ball.

And it could be just the break they needed. The defence will have had chance to regroup after a gruelling previous few weeks taking on league giants OKC, Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets before welcoming LeBron James to the court.

The Heat come into the game in much better form and will be buoyed by the fact the Timberwoves haven’t beaten them since February 2010. With 14 wins on the board the Florida side lie just behind the Pacers at second in the Eastern Conference, but clear favourites to win both the Conference and the Championship in the NBA betting stakes.

And why shouldn’t they? James continues to be at his imperious best averaging 25.7 points and 6.1 assists per game, whilst in recent weeks he’s been hitting the 30s regularly. They could however once again be without Dwayne Wade, who had to sit out the Bulls game with flu. Wade has been averaging close to 20 and has been teaming up superbly with King James and was missed on Thursday evening as they slipped to their second straight defeat.

 It’s the first time they have suffered back-to-back losses all season which comes at a good time for the Wolves as they look to get their season back on track.

Bovada NBA

Three straight defeats for the champions would be unthinkable but in the last few games Kevin Martin has really upped his game scoring mid-to-late-20s in the last three games, which could see the Heat cooled once again. They are likely however to be without their star man, forward Kevin Love who sadly lost his grandmother on Wednesday evening. The 25-year-old didn’t train with the T-Wolves Friday and it’s unknown whether he will return for Saturday evening’s fixture.

It will be a major blow for the Minneapolis side who have often been carried by Love and if the crowd are more concerned about high-fiving LeBron than supporting their side, it could be a tough night both physically and mentally for the Western Conference strugglers.

It’s East Versus West As Pacers And Spurs Go Head To Head

hi-res-6721754_crop_650x440

To say the Spurs’ week has been a huge inconvenience is an understatement. They’ve been to Mexico and back to take part in the Global Games matchup that never happened and didn’t arrive back home until 12 hours later due to fog in San Antonio.

It’s not been plain sailing for Indiana either. Literally. The Pacers plane was rerouted on the way to Salt Lake City which saw them have to catch a bus down to San Antonio from Houston. But whilst the travel may have beaten both sides, not much else has this season.

A day’s rest should see the Western and Eastern Conference form teams back to their best as they go head-to-head in what will be one of the most thrilling games of the season so far. Indiana haven’t had much luck at the AT&T Center in recent times and their already ill-fated trip won’t have done them any favours either. The Spurs have won each of their last 11 meetings when they’ve welcomed the Pacers, and 10 straight both home and away, but with the Indianapolis side 17-2 this season they’ll be confident of overturning a record that dates back to January 2002.

Whilst the Spurs left Mexico City on Wednesday night having not even laced up their sneakers, the Pacers left the EnergySolutions Arena with a 95-86 victory over the Jazz taking their record to 8-2 on the road.

They will however be a little concerned with the fitness of George Hill. The Point Guard is suffering from a sore left hip so will be monitored by Frank Vogel ahead of the 8.30PM ET tip off. The Pacers will be hoping he pulls through for their biggest game of the season. Alongside fellow George, Paul, the pair have been star men this season and Hill in particular will want to prove himself against the team that drafted him in 2011.

It’s certainly an interesting one for those wanting to bet on the NBA. The Spurs have been one of the most consistent sides in the National Basketball Association in recent years, winning their division for the last three seasons.

Bovada NBA

After a disappointing Championship finals last season, it seems to have fuelled them this year and they’re comfortably netting over 100 points per game. A minor hiccup in recent weeks has seen them suffer defeats to some of the leagues form men in Kevin Durant at City Thunder and James Harden’s Rockets but the team remain top of the assists chart with 25 per game and are on the back of an impressive win against the Hawks.

In recent months the Eastern Conference has received wide-spread criticism with ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy saying, “Listen, no one can explain just how bad it is.”

The Pacers will be looking to rectify this. They have a great record defending the paint but the Spurs have a strong inside and outside game and one of the best defences in the league, so hold on to your hats, because this one could go either way.

UFC Fight Night 33 Hunt vs. Silva Preview – Fri. 6th Dec

mark-hunt-wins

This Friday, the UFC will be touching down in Brisbane, Australia for the Fight Night 33 event. The heavyweight fight between Mark Hunt and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva has snatched the headline spot, with these hard-hitting opponents guaranteeing an entertaining match up.

Odds for UFC Fight Night 33 Preview – Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva

Mark Hunt: -125

Antonio Silva: -115

This Friday will be the first time Hunt steps back into the ring after he fell victim to one of Junior dos Santos’ devastating spinning hook kicks back in May at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. The 39-year-old New Zealander saw his four-fight winning streak quashed and fan enthusiasm dwindle as a result of the defeat.

However, Hunt is now back with a vengeance and the 265-pound “Super Samoan” has the MMA experience to prove his worth. The experienced kickboxer has won the K-1 World Grand Prix back in 2001, defeating Jerome Le Banner, Stefan Leko and Francisco Filho in the process. He also lays claim to victories over MMA stars such as Bellator MMA Season 9 heavyweight tournament champion Cheick Kongo, 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix winner Mirko Filipovic and Pride Fighting Championships 205-pound titleholder Wanderlei Silva.

The UFC Fight Night 33 main event also marks the return of former EliteXC titleholder Antonio Silva, who has not competed in the UFC since falling prey to the first-round punches of heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez seven months ago at the UFC 160 headliner event. He is a fierce opponent for Hunt, with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and heavy strikes that has seen 16 out of his 18 career wins end in either submission, knockout or technical knockout.

UFC Fight Night

Also weighing in at 265-pounds, the “Bigfoot” has an impressive selection of victories to his name, including ones over Fedor Emelianenko, former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem and Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts standout Travis Browne.

Both men are coming off of brutal KO losses at UFC 160, and both are eager to prove themselves by snatching a win. They are matched up well, with fierce kicking and punching abilities as well as ridiculous knockout power on both sides. The odds are slightly favouring Hunt though, who has superior striking ability against his opponent. However, if the “Bigfoot” is able to avoid a connecting chin hit and get Hunt down on the ground, it could all end in submission.

The full event line-up is as follows;

Fox Sports 1 – 9PM/6PM ETPT

Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva

Mauricio Rua vs. James Te Huna

Ryan Bader vs. Anthony Perosh

Pat Barry vs. Soa Palelei

Dylan Andrews vs. Clint Hester

Julie Kedzie vs. Bethe Correia

Fox Sports 2 Prelims – 7PM/4PM ETPT

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Nam Phan

Nick Ring vs. Caio Magalhaes

Richie Vaculik vs. Justin Scoggins

Bruno Scantos vs. Krzysztof Jotko

Online Prelims – 6:30PM/3.30PM ETPT

Ben Wall vs. Alex Garcia

UFC’s Ultimate Fighter’s Go Head-To-Head This Weekend

UFN20_GrayMaynard_NateDiaz

The 18th finale of The Ultimate Fighter rolls into the bright lights, neon signs and 24-hour excitement of Las Vegas this Saturday November 30 which guarantees action, intrigue and, for the first time, a six-figure contract for a female MMA fighter.

Taking over the Mandalay Bay Events Center, the Ultimate Fighter finale is the perfect event to whet the appetite for next month’s UFC 168 which will see Chris Weidman take on Anderson Silva in a Middleweight Title fight.

Heading up the main event is Gray Maynard (11-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) and Nate Diaz (17-9 MMA, 11-7 UFC) who will take each other on for the third time. The popular reality show which will culminate in Sin City with two men who have been slightly out of sorts in the ring.

The pairing have a long-standing rivalry which dates back to Season 5 of the show, which Diaz went on to win, and have a win a piece head-to-head as they prepare for the grudge match at the weekend. Look back nine months ago and this fight would have probably had title implications, but with both men having had a difficult season, it has become more about determining who stays a major player in the 155 lb. division.

For those seeking a bet on the UFC, it could end up wide open but if Diaz somehow returns to form, it could very well be his to lose. Whether that will happen though, is another question entirely. The 28-year-old Californian has a record of 3-4 in his last seven fights and will enter the ring on the back of his first career knockout.

UFC Fight Night

The Bully has also not had the best of times recently and has recorded his only two defeats in his last three fights by knockout. However, with experience in his corner, it’s thought the 34-year-old will rise to the occasion and take part in what will be an almighty battle.

Maynard will have to be wary of getting involved in prolonged stand-up exchanges against Diaz who has rapid hand-speed in the punch, whilst the man from Phoenix will look to use his power over speed to send Diaz to his third straight defeat.

Where Diaz is likely to win it, should he bring his form, is on the floor. A technical specialist, Diaz holds the record, alongside Kenny Florian and Frank Mir, for the most submission victories in UFC history with eight, and wil be looking to clear them on Las Vegas Boulevard.

One match which may not be as tense is the main fight on the undercard between Jessica Rakoczy and Julianna Pena. Fighting for a six figure contract and the first women’s ‘Ultimate Fighter’ title, the fight is likely to go the way of 36-year-old Rakoczy, who got her first career win just prior to entering TUF tournament. She earned her place in the final with a unanimous decision over Raquel Pennington, who also features on the undercard, whilst Pena has dominated her way to the final but comes in off the back of two straight defeats in official matchups.

Pennington will kick off the Main Card in Vegas with a fight against 31-year-old Roxanne ‘The Happy Warrior’ Modafferi. Pennington should provide too tough for a fighter who struggles in her striking game and could just get bullied into a knockout.

Similarly the UFC TUF Men’s Finale could also prove to be one sided. Chris Holdsworth goes into the fight unbeaten in his five official outings and with a slightly longer reach and three first-round submissions in the season, he goes into the fight in superb form. Expect an early submission when he faces up to Dangerous Davey Grant.

It’s set to be a good weekend of fighting as we build up to the big Christmas event, and with the two tall TUF ladies also set to go head to head on Saturday night, you could also be expecting to see Peggy Morgan lose her official unbeaten record when going head-to-head with the technically superior Jessamyn Duke.

Bet365 UFC