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27.06.2018 07:56
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Four months doesnt seem like that long of a layoff, but for 135lb title challenger Eddie Wineland it has felt like an eternity. NGolo Kante Jersey . Initially slated to battle for the bantamweight championship in the main event at UFC 161 in Winnipeg against interim 135lb tourchbearer Renan Barao, those plans were unfortunately scrapped as the Brazillian Barao had to bow out due to a foot injury. Now placed in the co-main event at UFC 165 this Saturday, he doesnt feel any less pressure playing second fiddle to Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson who headline the card. "Being that Im like a 500 point underdog (anyways), that takes away the pressure right there," Wineland told TSN.ca. "Hes expected to come in and just beat on me. Theres nobody in the world that can just come and beat on me -- youll know youre in a fight. And if I lose youre still going to get beat up." For the Indiana native its been a long journey, from becoming the first-ever WEC bantamweight champion back 2006 to competing in his first UFC fight in 2011 against Urijah Faber. "This is full circle and now I get to fight for the UFC belt and thats something I never thought would happen, so its just absolutely awesome" While the odds may suggest this is a one-sided fight, Barao is expecting a war. "Im very well prepared and very well trained," Barao said. "Hes a very tough opponent and Ive been following (Winelands) career for a quite long time." Despite riding a 31-fight unbeaten streak, the Nova Uniao member isnt over confident and is prepared for any scenario in which the fight could play out. "I know how tough and difficult this fight will be and Im prepared to go five rounds. I feel great, well prepared, and Im going to provide a great show on Saturday." For Wineland, the 29-year old challenger, he sees Saturday nights title fight as a chance to shock the world. "The majority of people are counting me out and Ill take it with open arms. When I do what I do on Saturday night, theyre just not going to know what to think." Olivier Giroud France Jersey . DeGrom outpitched Jake Peavy in a tantalizing hitless duel that carried into the seventh inning Saturday night before the New York Mets broke loose and beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2. France Blank Jerseys . Venus Williams advanced to the ASB Classic final in Auckland on a walkover when fellow American Jamie Hampton withdrew from their semifinal Friday with a right hip injury. http://www.nationalfrancesoccer.com/florian-thauvin-france-jersey/ . Its like being on Broadway, everything you do matters. Id want to be good though! I couldnt play here if I wasnt very good. #83217388 / gettyimages.TORONTO - Masai Ujiri remembers being a boy attending a basketball camp in his native northern Nigeria, and the excitement of being given an Hakeem Olajuwon T-shirt.It was a small gesture with a big impact.My eyes were so wide, to get that T-shirt was unbelievable, Ujiri said.Ujiri speaks passionately about the power of sports to change lives. Hes seen it first-hand through his Giants of Africa camp and Basketball Without Borders, and is himself living proof as the president and general manager of the Toronto Raptors.Its a determination he shared with the late Nelson Mandela, who Ujiri and the Raptors will celebrate Friday in an all-star benefit.How many people in those kinds of positions ever have any kind of relations with sport in some ways other than being like a guest of honour or something? Ujiri said in a phone interview Thursday. But Nelson Mandela, with what he did with rugby, the way he supported sports, I thought it was so impactful because he said it best: sports has the power to impact people and society, and youth. And so I think its a great message for us, its not only a great game, but its a great day to spread that message around the world that we are blessed to have sports and we are blessed to participate in something fun like this.When South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Mandela famously donned the Springbok sweater, a gesture he hoped would help unite his racially-fragmented country.Friday marks the one-year anniversary since Mandelas death at the age of 95.Ujiri has assembled an all-star lineup for the event, including NBA legends Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson and Dikembe Mutombo, along with UN Goodwill Ambassador and 1999 Miss Universe winner Mpule Kwelagobe. Other guests include Raptors alumnus Tracy McGrady, Toronto Maple Leaf goaltender Jonathan Bernier and Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, former Toronto Argonauts star Michael (Pinball) Clemons, deputy commissioner of the NBA Mark Tatum and Amadou Fall, vice-president of NBA Africa. Funds raised will go to both the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Ujiris Giants of Africa.Ujiri founded Giants of Africa in 2003, both as a means to enrich the lives of children in Africa, and to shine a spotlight on the abundance of untapped talent there.He signed a deal with Nike to outfit the players. He sees himself in the kids he helps.You see these kids, their faces when you give them shoes and you give them gear, socks and shorts and jerseys and T-shirts, its remarkable how that affects them in some kind of way, and how they want to play the sport more, and even dedicate themselves more, Ujiri said. But its come to a point where I look at myself, and say: We have to look at it even beyond playing. I say How do we really use basketball as a tool? Because now sports has become so general, its important to expose Africa and kids to other aspects of sport.What about sports medicine, and sports journalism, and sports agencies, coaching, and all the different thinngs that you can do in sports, he said. Adil Rami France Jersey. . It doesnt have to be making the NBA or it doesnt have to be playing. You can figure out how you can use basketball as a tool and guidance to maybe do something very very reasonable and very very good for your life, and to grow.It doesnt necessarily have to be playing basketball. Im the prime example of that.The six-foot-four Ujiri played basketball in the U.S. at Bismarck State College, and then spent six years playing professionally in Europe. He virtually chiselled out a post-playing career for himself, working as an unpaid scout for the Orlando Magic. He paid his own way on trips at times, and bunked with other scouts and players.He went on to be an international scout for Denver and Toronto, then won NBA executive of the year in 2013 with Denver, where he was the first African-born GM of a major North American sports team. He returned to Toronto to be the teams president and GM in 2013.Ujiri said his summer trips to Africa are the times he looks forward to most. Going spending it in the grinds of not only travelling in Africa and seeing different cultures and different people, but seeing different communities and people, and what makes them tick and what makes them live, and how they live happy, and some of the struggles that they have. It puts life in perspective, Ujiri said. Its a huge part of who I am and what I want to do.Our concentration is sports and how we can build sports, and going into communities to help, whether its teaching basketball, whether its us figuring out charities or foundations that we can help, or us figuring out little courts that we can build, or give them a net, give a basketball team basketballs . . . those are the things we want to continue to build and grow over there. Thats the impact it has on me when I go back in the summer, he said.A big believer in never forgetting where youve come from, Ujiri said his experiences in Africa remain with him in his daily work back in Toronto with the Raptors.Honestly, it puts things in perspective, he said. We take things for granted a lot of times, and I would never forget to be humbled by the position that I am in, and the blessings that I have to be in this position, with such good people around me that give me that opportunity to go help other Africans, and other youth.I have to be a voice, and I have to make an impact on other people. If not, what Im doing here means really nothing.Fridays celebration will begin with a panel discussion. It will continue into Fridays Raptors game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, with video tributes. The Raptors will wear special edition shooting shirts and management will don Giant of Africa lapel pins. The Giant of Africa T-shirts will be for sale, featuring Mandelas five pillars; being a leader, fighting for freedom, creating a better future, committing to the community and using sport to inspire change. Proceeds from sales go to Giants of Africa. 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