Tuesday, January 30, 2018

NFL Draft 2018: Baker Mayfield Is No Johnny Manziel

By: Alex Hale (@TheCLESportsGuy)

Every year there seems to be that one prospect who splits writers and scouts alike right down the middle.  It doesn’t matter what they do on the field, it’s a created perception of the players character that everyone is fascinated with and won’t stop talking about whether it’s positive or negative  Without question the most polarizing prospect in this year’s draft is Oklahoma’s QB Baker Mayfield.  Writers and Scouts alike have drawn comparisons to Baker Mayfield’s play and some of his antics to former Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel.  The question though becomes, is the comparison warranted?  Both were of course electric personalities who tore up College Football with their play, but other than that, that’s where the comparisons really stop.  To truly understand the differences between the two, you got to understand their backgrounds on top of their play on the field.

We all by now know the background of Johnny Manziel.  His parents were very successful and were able to give anything Johnny wanted growing up.  In ways, Manziel didn’t understand the consequences of certain actions growing up that when he got into college, he was reckless with his actions thinking he could do whatever he wanted.  In ways his reckless off the field behavior made his collegiate accomplishments much more remarkable.  By the time Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, he had this attitude that he could do no wrong, especially in a city where the Browns fanbase treated him as a savior, his lack of work ethic that was always a problem started to show not just off the field, but on the field against players who are dedicated to their craft and playing at a much higher level.  Whether Manziel had the ability to scramble out of the pocket and make a big play downfield was irrelevant by then.  His lack of fire, passion and work ethic that he had while he was growing up and especially while in college caught up to him in the NFL and is the sole reason why he’s not playing in the NFL and also why he’ll always be known as a Draft Bust.

Baker Mayfield comes from a very tight knit family that works hard for what they got.  They also raised Baker to remember where he’s from and who he is and time after time he comes home to give back to those lives he’s touched and those who have touched him, he doesn’t forget those.  Baker looked up to his older Brother Matt, who was a walk-on Baseball player at Texas A&M.  Matt has been essential in his life, especially during the week after the Kansas game and the controversy surrounding it.  His parents were there for Baker as well, but it was his brother who was his rock at that time.  It shows that the family is united and won’t let anyone of them slip without having a hand to guide them.  Unlike Manziel’s father, who all but abandoned Johnny Manziel at his worst and told writers that he expected his son to end up dead if he doesn’t seek help, Baker Mayfield at his worst moment after being arrested said the hardest thing he’s ever done was to make the phone call from jail to his parents.  Here lies the biggest difference between the 2 men when it comes to their upbringing as an outsider.  Manziel seemed to have a strained relationship at his worst moment with his parents and only cared for himself.  At Baker’s worst moment, he was mortified to tell his parents of what he did.  We can all say Baker is cocky and flamboyant just like Manziel was, but the actions in their lives show us one thing, Baker Mayfield’s actions are one of someone who is passionate about playing the game and quite honestly is like a kid on the field.  Manziel was someone who liked to show you up, the actions were rubbing it in.

When it comes to my opinions of the players and their personal lives I will admit, I’m an outsider and while I’ve read numerous articles and stories, I’ve taken these articles and created my own assumption to how they’re different personalities as an evaluator.

But what most people care about is how did they play in college and are their styles in any way similar?  The answer to that once again is an emphatic NO.  In the case of Johnny Manziel he took over Texas A&M and made Kevin Sumlin into a superstar Head Coach.  Manziel was once a highly touted recruit who at one point was being strongly recruited by Chip Kelly at Oregon.  Manziel would go to A&M instead and quickly become the star of the team.  Once Manziel’s star rose and he was a Heisman Trophy winner, Manziel was given much more control over the Aggies offense and the freedom to really do whatever he wanted in the offense.  While most would agree from his college tape that Manziel was reckless as a QB, he somehow got the job done and made plays when it mattered most and that’s when people at Texas A&M and even some evaluators overlooked the fact that he never really ran an offensive system in college.  What they missed was Manziel had one of the most talented WRs in Mike Evans and had a deep WR core that included a 5 star Freshman in Ricky Seals-Jones.  Manziel big, physical targets that could bail him out when he made a bad throw and the talent of Evans alone is one that every college QB dreams of teaming with.  In ways, if Manziel didn’t do well with the players around him, he shouldn’t have even considered going to the NFL.  But he thrived thanks to the talent he had around him and in ways the freedom given to him in the offense to let, “Johnny be Johnny”.  By the time he was selected by the Browns and was in the NFL, he was forced to run an offensive system and didn’t have the same talent he had at College Station.  More importantly, the coaching staff didn’t have a system that let Johnny be Johnny.  In a nutshell, Johnny Manziel is the perfect definition of what the System QB is.

Baker Mayfield on the other hand have said that Baker is just another System QB, but the reality is he’s not that at all.  First off, Baker Mayfield’s rise to stardom has been the complete opposite of Johnny Manziel.  Mayfield wasn’t highly regarded at all and got very light interest before he went to Texas Tech as a walk-on.  Once he arrived at Texas Tech, he not only made the team as a walk-on, but won the Quarterback job as a Walk-On Freshman.  In his first game he threw for 413 yards and 4 TDs against SMU.  He would throw for over 2000 yards and complete around 64% of his passes.  He only lost the job due to injury and lost the job to now New York Giants QB Davis Webb.  He would leave Texas A&M to pursue his dream to play for Oklahoma.  Again he would walk-on and have to earn his spot as the starting QB and would do it again and as we know the rest is history.  Baker Mayfield unlike Manziel has had to earn his spot everywhere he’s gone and against all the odds time and time again he prevails and silences his critics.  One could say it’s because of Oklahoma’s system and the lack of defenses that lead to some believing that their are inflated stats that make Mayfield a fools good QB.  To debunk that myth, Oklahoma is a school that has produced a QB recently in Sam Bradford.  Now some may question why I put him on here, but the reality is that if Sam Bradford isn’t a fragile QB, his play suggests that he would be a Top 10 QB if he can stay healthy.  Oklahoma’s system requires a QB that can make quick decisions and make the smart throw.  To compare with Manziel, Mayfield hasn’t had the same weapons at Oklahoma that Manziel had at Texas A&M.  He didn’t really have the big, physical WR that can bail him out.  Instead Baker Mayfield had WRs like Dede Westbrook, Sterling Shepard, and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, all smaller, quick, route running WRs that require the QB to anticipate and place the football to where their WR can get it and get loose in the open field.  The only reliable big target he had was Mark Andrews, his TE.  Baker never had the same freedom that Manziel had in his offense at Texas A&M, he ran the plays and always looked to execute the play and in the worst case he would try to do something himself, but he relies on his teammates and always did everything he could to bring them up.  Baker Mayfield was the leader that Oklahoma needed and understood how to run the offense effectively.

The question after all of this is simple…is it fair for evaluators to say Baker Mayfield is just another Johnny Manziel?  If they’re only going by the one arrest and the crotch grab incident, it’s understandable, but you’re not doing your job as an evaluator or a writer because you clearly don’t know how different these two men are.  One has been given everything he ever wanted and took it for granted.  The other is a man who has had to earn his spot everywhere he’s gone, nothing has ever been given, it’s always been earned.  One didn’t even really run an offensive system in college, so he was doomed to fail in the NFL.  At the very least the other has an understanding of how important an offensive system is and how to learn and make the most of of it.  When you look at everything between these two men, there’s nothing there but false narratives.  It’s nothing but lazy scouting by those who shouldn’t be speaking out without doing their homework.

To paraphrase former Vice Presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen, I end with this message to the Cleveland Browns beat reporters and any person who compared Baker Mayfield to Johnny Manziel…

I watched Johnny Manziel, I know who Johnny Manziel was, Johnny Manziel played for MY TEAM, BAKER MAYFIELD IS NO JOHNNY MANZIEL.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Possession Arrow 1/11/2018: Five Storylines of the Season (So Far)

By Pat Tregoning, @PatNShaker

Welcome back to another edition of the Possession Arrow.

If you are coming down from the adrenaline of the CFP National Championship and you are looking for another sport to occupy your time? Welcome to College Basketball. This season has had a lot of compelling storylines as we are 60 days until Selection Sunday. In this edition of Possession Arrow, we give you the storylines to get you up to speed, four national headlines and one local headline.

1. There is no "favorite" for the National Championship so far. There are just a bunch of "good teams".

We are approaching 60 days to the NCAA Selection Show, and no one team has solidified themselves as THE favorite heading into March. We have had three different teams hold the top spot in the polls at some point or another this season (Duke, Michigan State, Villanova) and the teams we commonly find in the top 10-15, have all lost their fair share of games heading down the stretch this season, most recently Michigan State getting thumped by Ohio State in Columbus this past weekend. We have a case where 8-12 teams could all make a case to win the National Title in April, which team will seize the opportunity?

2. Kansas' Big 12 regular season title streak is in serious jeopardy

Jayhawk fans will tell you they are underachieving this year, and they are partially right. Coming into this season, Bill Self has only lost ten games at Allen Fieldhouse in his lengthy career. Kansas started the second week of January with TWO losses at home already. Depth is a big concern for the Jayhawks as they continue to limp to the end of the season, which is putting thei consecutive regular season title streak in serious jeopardy. The other half of that argument is that the Big 12 has risen up and become a tough conference this year. Outside of Kansas, you have West Virginia, Oklahoma and Trae Young (more on him later), Texas and Mo Bamba (more coming up), TCU is not an easy out and Texas Tech is a scary team to face this season. I'm not saying its a guarantee; but it is an intriguing situation to monitor.

3. Trae Young has taken the College Basketball world by storm

If you don't know who Trae Young is? You need to take the time to watch Oklahoma basketball. In one season, he has become THE National Player of The Year favorite and a skyrocketing lottery pick. With his play being compared to Steph Curry and his passing ability compared to some of the best dimers in the Association today, NBA scouts are flocking to Norman, Oklahoma to see Trae play. He is averaging a 56 percent assist rate while averaging 29.5 PPG. If you need someone to watch this season? Trae Young is a great player to watch (*cough cough* Cavs fans re: Brooklyn pick)

4. This is the year of the Big Man

No big man has won the Most Outstanding Player since 2012 (Anthony Davis). The men in the middle are dominating this season from the big time players like Marvin Bagley III (Duke) is solidifying himself as a top 3 pick, Mo Bamba (above, Texas) is a freak 6-11 brick wall averaging 5 blocks a game. DeAndre Ayton is 7-1, 250 pounds and has surged to the top of draft boards in Arizona, averaging 20 PPG and 11 RPG. If you want a big man outside of the big schools? Look to Jock Landale of Saint Mary's in California averaging 21 PPG and 10 RPG. Seton Hall's Angel Delgado has also had a double-double in 13 of 16 games this season. The big men are dominating this season, and they will all be players to watch in the NBA next season.

5. Ohio State Basketball is not officially "back".....but the future is very bright

If you read my article on the keys to a successful Chris Holtmann era in Columbus, you know what they needed. They needed the players to buy in to the Chris Holtmann system and for Holtmann to win the recruiting battle in Ohio. It's safe to say the Buckeyes are buying in to Holtmann's system. Coming into this season, Ohio State was picked by most to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten. They have silenced those critics with a 13-4 start, with wins at Wisconsin, Iowa and against then number one Michigan State by 16 at home. We have seen a renaissance from Keita Bates-Diop from potential Buckeye bust, to a bright NBA future. Obviously, we have two months of basketball left to play, so lets not crown them yet (RIP Dennis Green), but the future is VERY bright for the Buckeyes in Columbus.

Wrestling Lockup With Brandon 1/11/18: NXT Recap

By Brandon Albright, @B_Rock1978

NXT returned this week for more NXT action. Two weeks ago, Johnny Gargano became the new #1 Contender to the NXT World Championship. Ember Moon successfully defended her NXT Women's Championship against Sonya Deville. NXT was back at it in Atlanta, Georgia for this week's show after having a best of last week.

** NXT TV Card **

- Shayna Bazsler battled Dakota Kai.
- Kassius Ohno battled Raul Mendoza.
- Lars Sullivan battled Lio Rush.
- NXT World Tag Team Champions Undisputed Era defended their titles against Roderick Strong and Aleister Black.

** NXT **

- Shayna Baszler vs. Dakota Kai: The first match of the night saw the NXT debut of Baszler as she battled Dakota Kai. The match closes out with Baszler stomping repeatedly on Dakota's arm and elbow area, forcing the referee to step in and call off the match by stoppage. After the match, Baszler continues the assault and applies a sleeper on Dakota. Ember Moon finally hits the ring and makes the save. 

- Kassius Ohno vs. Raul Mendoza: The second match of the night saw Ohno battle Mendoza in a one on one match. The match closes out with Mendoza getting a near fall springboard kick. Mendoza ends up in the Electric Chair and gets dropped by Ohno. Ohno hits the rolling elbow on Mendoza and scores the pinfall.

- Lio Rush vs. Lars Sullivan: The third match of the night saw Lio Rush battle the monster called Lars. The match closes out with Rush dodging a Lars charge, but gets run over with a huge lariat, as he charged at Lars. Lars hits the Freak Accident and scores the pinfall. After the match, Lars challenges Killian Dain and then hits another Freak Accident on Rush.

- "NXT World Tag Team Championship Match": Undisputed Era (c) vs. Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe: The match never happens as SAnitY is found backstage laid out after Undisputed Era arrive in the ring. Nikki Cross tries to get revenge for SAnitY and hits the ring. NXT officials hold Nikki back as NXT GM William Regal arrives and announces that Undisputed Era is still defending their titles tonight against new challengers, Roderick Strong and Aleister Black.

- "NXT World Tag Team Championship Match": Undisputed Era (c) vs. Roderick Strong and Aleister Black: The match closes out with Black taking out Bobby Fish outside. Adam Cole distracts Black, forcing Black to chase Cole through the crowd. Fish and O'Reilly hit their double team finisher on Strong and score the pinfall to retain their titles. After the match, Black returns and unloads on Fish and O'Reilly. Cole returns and helps with the three on two on Strong and Black. Cole hits a fireman's carry onto a steel chair on Black. William Regal arrives and announces that it will be Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black in an Extreme Rules Match at Takeover: Philadelphia.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Podcast 1/10/18: On The Browns Front Office, Alabama Wins Again, NFL Playoffs, Movie Remakes & More

By Raven Williams, @nevaRWilliams

You can now download the latest episodes of "TripleThreatCLE.com's Podcast"!

Subscribe to us, on New Cleveland Radio iTunes here!

DOWNLOAD: On The Browns Front Office, Alabama Wins Again, NFL Playoffs, Movie Remakes & More (1/10/18)

DOWNLOAD: On College Bowl Games, Browns Offseason, NFL Playoffs & Coaching Moves and Movies Of 2018 (1318).mp3
SoundCloud Stream Here
Triple Threat CLE Podcasts of 2017
2017 Episodes Of Triple Threat CLE Radio Show
2016 Episodes of Triple Threat CLE Radio Show

Wrestling Lockup With Brandon 1/10/18: Smackdown Live Birmingham Recap

By Brandon Albright, @B_Rock1978

What's up wrestling fans, welcome to this week's Smackdown Live recap.

Last week, Sami Zayn scored the upset pinfall on the WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles, as Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon continued to have issues with each other during the match. Xavier Woods defeated Aiden English and advanced in the WWE United States Championship Tournament. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable thought they had won the WWE Smackdown Live World Tag Team Championship, however, due to pinning the illegal man in the match, the match was restarted and The Usos retained. Let's get to this week's recap as the show was live in Birmingham, Alabama.

** Smackdown Live Card **

- Ruby Riot battled Becky Lynch.
- The Bludgeon Brothers battled The Ascension.
- Mojo Rawley battled Zack Ryder in a WWE United States Championship Tournament Match.
- Rusev and Aiden English battled Breezango.
- WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura battled Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a Handicap Match.

** Smackdown Live **

- Renee Young Interviews AJ Styles: Smackdown Live kicked off in the ring with Renee Young interviewing AJ Styles. Styles says he was being sarcastic when he said he wanted a Handicap Match against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, but he'll hit them hard and fast. Styles says the decision to make the match wasn't fair, but neither is life. Styles says he's not sure what Daniel Bryan's deal is, but it seems like Styles is being pushed into Bryan's business and he also doesn't want to get included in Shane McMahon's either. Styles says he'll beat both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and truly be the best. Owens and Zayn interrupt next and Owens promises that Styles has no chance to retain the title at the WWE Royal Rumble and he and Zayn will be the first ever co-world champions. Shane McMahon interrupts next and says he agrees with Styles that this match isn't fair and can't understand why Bryan approves of this. Shane then announces another Handicap Match for tonight's main event. It'll be Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura.

- Ruby Riot vs. Becky Lynch: The first match of the night saw the women's division in action, with Becky battling Ruby of the Riot Squad. Charlotte and Naomi were at ringside giving Becky back up, as Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan were in Ruby's corner. The match closes out with Ruby attempting the Riot Kick, but Becky counters it and traps Ruby in the Dis Arm Her submission for the tap out win.

- The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Ascension: The second match of the night saw The Bludgeon Brothers battle The Ascension. The past couple weeks The Bludgeon Brothers have been destroying Breezango with The Ascension coming to Breezango's aide. This week The Ascension got their chance. The match closes out with The Ascension trying to attack earlier, but get destroyed quickly and pinned in a squash match. After the match, The Bludgeon Brothers leave both members of The Ascension laid out.

- "WWE United States Championship Tournament Match": Mojo Rawley vs. Zack Ryder: The third match of the night saw the final match of the tournament between the former tag team partners. The match closes out with Mojo avoiding the Broski Boot by rolling outside. Ryder attempts more offense, but catches a running right hand from Mojo, giving Mojo the win. Mojo advances to the Final Four to face Bobby Roode.

- Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable, Out For Justice: Benjamin and Gable are in the ring, show footage of last week's match against The Usos, state what it takes to be a superior athlete and state that they were robbed last week just like Georgia was robbed against Alabama in the National Championship. Gable says they were the new champs last week. Benjamin mentions the second referee coming down and ordering the match restarted. Benjamin and Gable state that it's come down to jealousy, the second referee was a snitch, a crime was committed and they deserve justice. Daniel Bryan interrupts and hits the ring. Bryan says he understands their complaints, but the referee's ruling will always stand. Bryan says the wrong Uso was pinned therefore the decision is final. Gable accuses Bryan of taking things out on them because Shane McMahon is mad at Bryan. Bryan finally announces a 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match at the WWE Royal Rumble between The Usos and Benjamin and Gable.

- Rusev and Aiden English vs. Breezango: The fourth match of the night saw Rusev and English battle Breezango. The match closes out with Rusev attempting The Accolade on Fandango, but Breeze stops it. All four men begin brawling and it ends with Fandango rolling up Rusev for the pinfall.

- The Shane McMahon And Daniel Bryan Drama Continues: Before the main event, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan meet backstage. Shane says he and Bryan are not on the same page and Bryan's decisions lately have been horrible. Shane disagrees with the fact that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn could become co-world champions and feels The Usos shouldn't have to again defend their titles against Benjamin and Gable when they already beat them. Shane accuses Bryan of being unstable. Bryan tells Shane that he could say the same about him considering he's a McMahon. Shane says they'll just agree to disagree at the moment then.

- "Handicap Match": AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn: The main event of the show saw the three on two handicap match that Daniel Bryan set up in the opening segment of the show. The match closes out with Owens and Zayn purposely getting counted out. Shane McMahon arrives, restarts the match and announces that it's a No Count Out Match now. The match continues with Zayn countering an RKO from Orton. Owens hits the ring with a steel chair and unloads on Orton, getting Owens and Zayn DQ'ed. Shane McMahon arrives again, restarts the match and announces it a No Count Out and No DQ Match. Styles and Owens brawl backstage as Zayn is trapped at ringside with Orton and Nakamura. Nakamura hits the Kinshasa on Zayn and Orton follows with the RKO to grab the victory. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Wrestling Lockup With Brandon 1/9/18: RAW Memphis Recap

By Brandon Albright, @B_Rock1978

It's the beginning of the week and time to kick things off in wrestling with Monday Night RAW!

Last week on RAW, Roman Reigns survived Samoa Joe and retained the WWE Intercontinental Championship, Asuka defeated the WWE RAW Women's Champion Alexa Bliss in a non title match and The Balor Club, Finn Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson reunited. Brock Lesnar and Kane battled it out in a face to face that seen Lesnar survive and laugh at a Kane choke slam. We're getting closer to the Royal Rumble as RAW was live this week in Memphis, Tennessee.

** Monday Night RAW Card **

- Bayley and Sasha Banks battled Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville.
- Woken Matt Hardy battled Curt Hawkins.
- WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore defended his title against Cedric Alexander.
- Sheamus and Cesaro battled Titus O'Neil and Apollo Crews.
- Samoa Joe battled Rhyno.
- WWE Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns and WWE RAW World Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan battled The Balor Club in a Six Man Tag Team Match.

** RAW Highlights **

- The Big Dog Kicks Off The Show: Roman Reigns kicks off RAW with a promo. Reigns says he silenced Samoa Joe last week and if you mess with anyone in The Shield, you mess with the entire group. Jason Jordan interrupts and hits the ring. Jordan says Reigns proved that the yard is his and thanks Reigns on behalf of he and Seth Rollins. Rollins interrupts and hits the ring next. Rollins tells Jordan that he still has a lot to learn and Jordan has to work on his timing because he's interrupting Reigns' moment. Jordan says they're all champions so it's all their moments. Reigns interrupts and tells Jordan to knock off the "we" stuff. Jordan says they're not The Shield but they're a dominant group. The Balor Club suddenly interrupt and hit the ring next. Balor says that Jordan isn't apart of the most dominate group, the only real group in the ring are The Balor Club who have been running things for ten years. Luke Gallows calls Jordan a nerd, forcing Jordan to slap Gallows. RAW GM Kurt Angle interrupts before a fight breaks out and announces The Balor Club vs. Reigns, Rollins and Jordan in the main event tonight.

- Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville: The first match of the night saw women's division tag team action. Sasha and Bayley continued their feud with Absolution, taking on Mandy and Sonya. The match closes out with Bayley accidentally distracting the referee after getting knocked off the apron, allowing Sasha to get hit with a cheap shot. Bayley knocks Sonya off the apron as Sasha traps Mandy in the Banks Statement submission and gets the tap out win. 

- Woken Matt Hardy vs. Curt Hawkins: The second match of the night saw Matt Hardy debut his "Woken" gimmick against the winless Curt Hawkins. The match closes out with Hardy making quick work of Hawkins with the Side Effect and the Twist of Fate for the pinfall. After the match, the lights go out and Bray Wyatt appears behind Hardy. Bray and Hardy go face to face and laugh at each other.

- Miz TV with The Miz, The Miztourage and Elias Samson: Elias Samson began with a concert, singing about Elvis, how horrible Memphis is and then welcoming back The Miz. The Miz and The Miztourage arrive to kick off Miz TV. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas fight over who missed The Miz the most until Miz tells them to sit down and shut up. Miz says he didn't forget about The Shield taking him out two months ago or Roman Reigns taking his WWE Intercontinental Championship. Miz says that 2018 will see the birth of his daughter and also Miz getting back his WWE Intercontinental Championship from Reigns and becoming the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in history.

- "WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match": Enzo Amore (c) vs. Cedric Alexander: The third match of the night saw Enzo defend his title against Alexander. Enzo was originally supposed to defend the title last week, but the flu kept Enzo out of action. Before the match, Goldust wished Alexander good luck backstage. The match closes out with Enzo taking a shot to the face from Alexander, busting open Enzo around his eye. Enzo gets sent to the floor where Alexander sentons over the ropes onto Enzo. Enzo appears to seriously injure his ankle and can't stand to beat the ten count, giving Alexander the win by countout. Enzo retains the title, as titles don't change hands on countouts.

- Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Titus O'Neil and Apollo Crews: The fourth match of the night saw the #1 Contenders, Sheamus and Cesaro, take on Titus Worldwide in tag team action. The match closes out with Cesaro getting sent to the floor. Sheamus tries to Brogue Kick Crews off the apron, but Crews counters by moonsaulting off the apron and on to Cesaro. Titus rolls up Sheamus and scores the upset pinfall.

- Brock Lesnar Sends A Message To His WWE Royal Rumble Challengers: Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman arrive for a promo. Heyman says the old school mentality of getting a challenger for the world title was one man stepping up and challenging the champion. Heyman hypes Lesnar battling Kane and Braun Strowman at the WWE Royal Rumble. Heyman wonders if Lesnar will pin Kane or Strowman or just stack them on top of each other and pin them both. Heyman announces that Lesnar will leave the WWE Royal Rumble the reigning and defending WWE Universal Champion. Kane attacks Lesnar from behind as he leaves the ring and they both brawl backstage.
Braun Strowman suddenly attacks from behind and tosses Lesnar into a production case and through a table. Strowman picks up a production case and hits Kane in the face with it. Strowman grabs a grappling hook, throws it up and wraps it around a metal scaffold wall and brings it crashing down on Kane and Lesnar. Kane gingerly crawls away and Lesnar gets stretched off and loaded into an ambulance.

- Samoa Joe vs. Rhyno: The fifth match of the night saw Samoa Joe battle ECW icon Rhyno. The match closes out with Joe making Rhyno tap out to the Coquina Clutch submission. After the match, Joe says the cracks in Roman Reigns have begun to form. Joe officially announces his entrance into this year's Royal Rumble and promises that John Cena we be the first man he eliminates.

- Nia Jax Attacks Asuka: Earlier in the night, Alexa Bliss confronted her best friend Nia and whispered in her ear something that Asuka said about her. As Asuka made her way out to the ring for her match, Nia attacked Asuka from behind and planted her with an electric chair drop. Nia then landed a senton splash on Asuka and left the emperess of tomorrow laid out.

- "Six Man Tag Team Match": Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan vs. Finn Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson: The main event of the show saw the six man tag team match that was set up during the kick off the show. The match closes out with Balor charging at Jordan. Jordan dodges Balor, causing Balor to drop kick Rollins into the corner instead. Jordan gets taken out as Balor hits Coup de Grace on Rollins to score the pinfall. After the match, The Miz and The Miztourage attack Reigns while he's still outside and beat him down. Back in the ring, The Miztourage hold up Reigns and set him up for The Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz and The Miztourage then hoist up Reigns and plant him with the triple power bomb to end the show.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Weekend 3 Count 1/7/18

By Brandon Albright, @B_Rock1978

Wrestling Lockup with Brandon, brought to you by Triple Threat CLE brings you the Weekend 3 Count. W3C brings you wrestling news, rumors and recaps from around the wrestling world. You'll find news rumors and recaps involving WWE, NXT, Impact, ROH, Lucha Underground, NJPW, House of Hardcore, NWA, ICW, CZW, FIP, PWG, AAW, EVOLVE, PROGRESS, SHINE, SHIMMER, BEYOND, DEFIANT and any Indy promotion that I find an interesting story or a cool discovery in. Be sure to check out the W3C every Sunday afternoon at @TripleThreatCLE

*** WWE ***

- John Cena Announces His Entry Into The Royal Rumble: This past week, the sixteen time WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena officially announced that he will compete in this year's Royal Rumble.

- The Balor Club Reunites: If you missed RAW this past week, Finn Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson reunited and battled Elias Samson and The Miztourage in a six man tag team match. It's unknown if this was a one night only team up or if The Balor Club is officially back.

- WWE Monday Night RAW Coming Back To Cleveland: It was announced this past week that WWE is bringing RAW back to Cleveland, two weeks before Wrestlemania 34. RAW will be at the Quicken Loans Arena on March 26th.

** 205 Live Recap **

- Akira Tozawa vs. TJ Perkins: The first match of the night saw the return of TJP, who's been out with an injury the past few months. The match closes out with TJP sticking a thumb in Tozawa's eye and then hitting the Detonation Kick to score the pinfall.

- Hideo Itami vs. Jack Gallagher: The second match of the night saw Jack Gallagher getting a rematch against Hideo Itami, who put Gallagher's friend, Brian Kendrick, out with an eye injury. The match goes to a No Contest, after Gallagher tries to attack Itami with his umbrella, before the bell. Itami unloads on Gallagher, but Gallagher reveals a lead pipe that he uses to knock out Itami with. 

- Goldust and Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak and Ariya Daivari: The main event of the show saw a rematch from this week's Monday Night RAW. The match closes out with Alexander hitting the Lumbar Check on Gulak and scoring the pinfall. 

*** NXT ***

- Candice LeRae Signing: According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Candice LeRae is expected to sign with NXT soon. Candice is currently going through the standard signing process but there's no word yet on when she might be signed.

- Official NXT Takeover: Philadelphia Card: The following has been announced for NXT Takeover: Philadelphia the night before the WWE Royal Rumble.

** "NXT World Championship Match": Andrade "Cien" Almas (c) vs. Johnny Gargano.

** "NXT World Tag Team Championship Match": Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly (c) vs. The Authors of Pain. 

** "NXT Women's Championship Match": Ember Moon (c) vs. Shayna Bazsler.

** "Extreme Rules Match": Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole.

** Lars Sullivan vs. Killian Dain.

*** Impact Wrestling ***

** Impact TV Recap **

- "Impact X Division Championship Match": Taiji Ishimori defeated Trevor Lee (c), by pinfall to win the title. Ishimori counters a suplex and hits a handspring kick for the near fall. Lee gets a near fall sit down power bomb. Ishimori knees Lee in the face and hits a 540 Splash on Lee to win the title. After the match, Dezmond Xavier congratulates Ishimori backstage and challenges him.

- "Impact Grand Championship, Triple Threat Match": Ethan Carter (c) defeated Matt Sydal and Fallah Bahh, by split decision to retain the title. Bahh took the first round from the judges. EC3 took round number two from the judges. Sydal hits the Shooting Star Press on EC3 in round number three, however, time expires to end the match before Sydal can get the pinfall. The judges give EC3 the third round and the win to retain the title. 

- "Career vs. Career, No Holds Barred Match": Dan Lambert defeated James Storm, by pinfall, ending Storm's Impact career. Storm goes to finish off Lambert, however, KM hits the ring and smashes a beer bottle over Storm's head. Lambert gets a near fall on Storm. KM and Lambert both smash beer bottles over Storm's head, helping Lambert score the pinfall.

- Chandler Park defeated Jon Bolen, by pinfall in his in ring debut. Park gets dominated for most of the match until Joseph Park interferes while the referee is distracted and punches Bolen in the face. Park rolls up Bolen and scores the pinfall.

- "Impact World Heavyweight Championship Match": Eli Drake (c) defeated Alberto El Patron, by pinfall to retain the title. Drake tries to hit El Patron with the title but misses. El Patron drops Drake head first on the title and gets a near fall. The referee gets knocked out allowing Drake to hit El Patron with the title to score the pinfall when the referee woke up.

- "Impact World Tag Team Championship Match": LAX defeated oVe (c), by pinfall to win the titles. oVe gets a near fall powerbomb/blockbuster combo. Jake and Santana meet on the top rope where Santana attempts a splash. Jake counters and hits a midair cutter on Santana. Jake gets hit with the Street Sweeper giving LAX the win and The titles.


** Wrestle Kingdom 12 **

- "New Japan Rumble": Japan's version of the Royal Rumble kicked off the show. Mashito Kakihara came out victorious, last eliminating Cheeseburger to take the victory.

- "IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match": The Young Bucks defeated Roppongi 3K (c), by submission to win the tag team titles. The Bucks hit the Meltzer Driver on Yoh and then Matt Jackson makes Yoh tap out to the Sharpshooter.

- "NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship, Gauntlet Match": Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) came out victorious to win the titles.

** Suzuki Gun (Zack Sabre Jr, Taichi and Takahashi Izuka) defeated Michael Elgin and War Machine.

** Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) defeated Suzuki Gun.

** Chaos defeated Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi and Togi Makabe)

** Chaos defeated The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale and Guerillas of Destiny) to win the Gauntlet and the titles.

- Kota Ibushi defeated Cody Rhodes, by pinfall. Ibushi hits the Last Ride power bomb and the straight jacket german suplex. Ibushi then hits a Phoenix Splash and scores the pinfall.

- "IWGP Tag Team Championship Match": EVIL and SANADA defeated The Killer Elite Squad (c), by pinfall, to win the tag team titles. Evil and Sanada hit the Magic Killer on Davey Boy Smith Jr. Sanada hits a moonsault off the top rope to score the pinfall.

- "NEVER Openweight Championship, Haircut Match": Hirooki Goto defeated Minoru Suzuki (c), by pinfall to win the title. Goto hits two straight head butts, a super ushigoroshi off the ropes and two GTR's to score the pinfall. After the match, Suzuki refused to get his head shaved, but eventually returned to the ring and shaved his own head.

- "IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship, Fatal Four Way Match": Will Ospreay defeated Marty Scurll (c), Hiromu Takahashi and Kushida, by pinfall to win the title. Ospreay hits the OsCutter on Scurll to score the pinfall.

- "IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match": Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) defeated Jay "Switchblade" White, by pinfall to retain the title. Tanahashi hits two straight frog splashes on White to score the pinfall.

- "IWGP United States Championship, No DQ Match": Kenny Omega (c) defeated Chris Jericho, by pinfall, to retain the title. Omega hits the One Winged Angel, but Jericho survives by grabbing the ropes. Jericho hits the Code Breaker on Omega, but Omega kicks out at two and a half. Omega hits the One Winged Angel on Jericho on top of a steel chair and scores the pinfall to retain.

- "IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match": Kazuchika Okada (c) defeated Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall to retain the title. Naito counters the Rainmaker and hits Destino. Naito attempts another Destino, but Okada counters into a tombstone piledriver. Okada hits the Rainmaker on Naito and scores the pinfall.

** New Year's Dash Recap **

- "Eight Man Tag Team Match": Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Yuji Nagata defeated Ren Narita, Shota Umino, Tetsuhiro Yagi and Tomoyuki Oka, by pinfall, after Kojima hits a lariat on Umino.

- "Ten Man Tag Team Match": El Desperado, Taichi, Taka Michinoku, Takashi Iizuka and Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Henare, Hirai Kawato, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV and Togi Makabe, by pinfall after Desperado hit the Pinche Loco on Kawato.

- “Switchblade” Jay White defeated Katsuya Kitamura, by pinfall with the Blade Runner.

- "Six Man Tag Team Match": Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson Nick Jackson defeated Cheeseburger & Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH), by pinfall with an assisted Indytaker on Cheeseburger.

- "Ten Man Tag Team Match": The Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Cody Rhodes, Leo Tonga, Marty Scurll and Yujiro Takahashi defeated Taguchi Japan (David Finlay, Juice Robinson, Kota Ibushi, Kushida and Ryusuke Taguchi), by submission with the American Nightmare from Rhodes on Finlay. After the match, The Bullet Club attack Ibushi, but Kenny Omega makes the surprising save and argues with Cody. Omega and Cody begin shoving each other until Omega grabs a microphone and says he's sick of Bullet Club’s infighting and he had the solution. Omega announces Switchblade Jay White as the newest member of The Bullet Club. White arrives, accepts the Bullet Club t-shirt, but then fakes out The Bullet Club by hitting the Blade Runner on Omega.

- "NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship Match": The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tonga Roa) defeated Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) (c), by pinfall with a Gun Stun from Tama on Beretta to win the titles.

- "Eight Man Tag Team Match": Suzuki-gun (Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre, Jr.) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin and War Machine, by pinfall with Killer Bomb from Smith and Archer onto Hanson. After the match, Suzuki attacks Tanahashi and celebrates with Tanahashi's IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

- "Ten Man Tag Team Match": Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi, Evil, Hiromu Takahashi, Sanada and Tetsuya Naito) defeated Chaos (Gedo, Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay and Yoshi Hashi), by pinfall with Destino from Naito on Yoshi Hashi. After the match, LIJ continue to attack and Sanada chokes out Okada with the Skull End.

- Chris Jericho Attacks Tetsuya Naito: Before the show ended, Naito cut a promo to talk about his loss to Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Chris Jericho suddenly hits the ring and attacks Naito from behind and beats him down to end the show.

And that's this week's W3C! Join me every Sunday afternoon as I bring you news, recaps and rumors all around the wrestling world!

Friday, January 5, 2018

UFC: 5 Fights That Need To Happen In 2018

By Pat Luhta, @PLuhta

2018 is now here as we get set for a big year in the octagon. The UFC has hit a milestone as it welcomes it’s 25th year of existence, to look back at what it was in 1993 to where it is now is nothing short of impressive and it seems that the sport is nowhere near it’s peak yet. With the company still growing and evolving, expectations are high for this year and there are some highly anticipated fights that could(and should) take place this year. Let’s take a look here at 5 fights that haven’t been booked yet but need to take place in 2018.

– This one is obvious, these 2 have to meet up with the lightweight title on the line. They were originally scheduled to meet at UFC 209 but a weight cut that went sour for Khabib forced him out. Since then, Ferguson defeated Kevin Lee for the “interim” title(the interim tag should soon be lifted and Ferguson will be declared the champ) while Nurmagomedov recently defeated Edson Barboza at UFC 219. That puts these 2 on a collision course once again, and this fight will be extremely anticipated. Ferguson has only lost 1 fight in the UFC and that was over 5 years ago while Khabib has an unblemished professional record, both are balanced fighters as well so stylistically this matchup is very even as well. UFC fans just have to hope for health, which has been Nurmagomedov’s issue throughout his career, and we should get this matchup sometime this year, hopefully sooner rather than later.

2. NICCO MONTANO VS SIJARA EUBANKS – The 2 finalists from “The Ultimate Fighter: A New Champion” never got to meet up due to a bad weight cut by Eubanks(something she struggled with during the show.) Instead, MMA veteran Roxanne Modafferi took Eubanks’ spot in the title fight and Montano won a thrilling 5 round fight over her to become the first ever women’s flyweight champ. I get that Eubanks’ issues with making weight fall squarely on her, but she ran through the ultimate fighter tournament and earned a shot at the title and she should get that chance to fight for it still. The flyweight division is still fresh and there are a number of competitors waiting for a chance at the Montano and the title, first shot should go to Sijara though to officially have the TUF finale for the belt.

3. DANIEL CORMIER VS ALEXANDER GUSTAFFSON – Daniel Cormier has an upcoming title fight against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220 later this month, but regardless of the outcome his next fight should be against Alexander Gustaffson. The two met back in 2015 with Cormier successfully defending his title by split decision, after that fight Gustaffson decided to take some time off rather than get a rematch, which we all expected to happen. After a year off, Gustaffson cemented his place as the #1 contender by defeating Jan Blachowicz and Glover Texeira, which sets him up for the next title shot. Cormier will turn 39 this year and has hinted that this may be his last year as a fighter(especially since he has a comfy announcing gig waiting for him as he’s a natural as both calling fights and in-studio analysis) so before he hangs up the gloves, the long awaited rematch between him and Gustaffson needs to happen. If Cormier loses the title then that may change things as Gustaffson could just sit and wait for a title shot, but I’d hate to see these two never get a chance to fight again.

4. CRIS CYBORG VS MEGAN ANDERSON – At this point, the UFC is just throwing names out there to see who can compete and actually defeat Cris Cyborg. The women’s featherweight champ lost her first ever fight way back in 2005 and has gone on to win her next 19 and establish herself as the most dominant woman on the planet. She’s so dominant that the inaugural women’s featherweight champ, Germaine De Randamie, decided to forfeit the title rather than fight her, that’s the respect and fear that she commands. In order for someone to defeat Cyborg, they will need to be a true featherweight with a reach advantage that has good hands and knockout ability, which perfectly describes Megan Anderson. Anderson, who is the Invicta featherweight champ, stands 6 feet tall while Cyborg is 5'8" and she has nearly a 10 inch reach advantage(Anderson has a 77.5 inch reach compared to Cyborg's 68 inch reach). Of her 8 professional wins, she has won 2 by decision, 2 by submission and 4 by TKO, showing that she has some balance in her fighting ability with stand up being her bread and butter. At this point it's tough to envision Cyborg losing but if the UFC wants to find a true competitor for her then a match with Megan Anderson needs to happen.

5. TYRON WOODLEY VS GEORGES ST. PIERRE - I'm aware that GSP may not be "deserving" of a title shot since he hasn't had a welterweight fight in years but hear me out. The division needs some flare added to it, Woodley's 2 title defenses were a lackluster fight against Stephen Thompson and a decision win against Damian Maia that went down as one of the most boring title fights in history. So not only does Woodley want his legacy to be remembered as the best welterweight ever(something he has continuously brought up) but also some intrigue needs to be injected into his title defenses. He can kill two birds with one stone here by defending his title next against GSP, while Rafael Dos Anjos(who is likely the #1 contender) can fight Stephen Thompson to see who gets the next title fight after Woodley and Georges St. Pierre square off.

UFC: 2017 Awards

By Pat Luhta, @PLuhta

Now that 2017 is over, we can look back on the year that was in the UFC. The year started a bit slow with only 3 PPV’s in the first 4 months, but it picked up as we went along and delivered plenty of memorable events. Great fights and fantastic finishes have become the norm but 2017 delivered 2 new divisions(women’s featherweight and flyweight), an upset for the ages, a record breaking title defense streak and the return of one of the greatest fighters ever.

Let’s look back on the year of 2017 by handing out some awards and discussing what’s next in 2018 for this ever growing sport.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Justin Gaethje – After spending over 3 years in WSOF(World Series of Fighting), Gaethje made his debut in July and instantly put the lightweight division on notice. He defeated Michael Johnson by TKO in the 2nd round, and overall impressive and dominating fight capped off by a backflip off the cage in celebration. That vaulted him all the way into the top 5 lightweight rankings, as he then went on to be a coach in the new Ultimate Fighter season, coaching against his next opponent and former lightweight champ, Eddie Alvarez. He ended up losing to Alvarez at UFC 218, his first ever professional loss, in a fight that many consider the fight of the year. 2 memorable fights and a top 5 ranking all in a half a years work, Gaethje made a huge impact in 2017 as a UFC newcomer.

SUBMISSION OF THE YEAR: Demetrious Johnson’s armbar vs Ray Borg – As if he wasn’t already considered the best pound for pound fighter in the company, “mighty mouse” added some extra flare to his fight technique. At UFC 216, Johnson took on Ray Borg, and as he outclassed and outperformed Borg through the first 4 rounds of the championship fight, coasting to a decision win wasn’t good enough for him. Johnson went for a belly to back takedown and on the way down to the mat he managed to transition into an armbar and lock it in for the win. The incredible speed, athleticism and precision to make a quick move like that is almost unimaginable, Brian Ortega’s standing guillotine on Cub Swanson also stands out but Demetrious Johnson’s armbar takedown has to be the best of 2017.

KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR: Marlon Moraes against Aljamain Sterling – Big KO’s are expected in the heavier divisions(Though Francis Ngannou knocking Alistair Overeem into 2019 was a serious contender here), so when a big time KO happens in the lighter divisions then it garners more attention. In a bantamweight bout at a UFC Fight Night in December, Marlon Moraes delivered one of the most memorable knockouts in recent history in his fight against Aljamain Sterling. Early in the first round, Moraes staggered Sterling with some blistering shots and knocked him down where the fight was nearly called. Sterling attempted to hook Moraes in a triangle choke which prompted Moraes to stand up and let Sterling get back on his feet, though it was clear that Sterling was still wobbly from those strikes. Sterling immediately tried getting it back to the ground with a takedown attempt, but Moraes threw a vicious knee as he was coming in for it and it landed flush on his forehead for the KO. It took minutes for Sterling to wake up from that knockout, a scary sight at the time which fortunately ended with no serious injuries, but this was about as memorable a knockout as it gets.

DISAPPOINTING FIGHT OF THE YEAR: Tyron Woodley vs Stephen Thompson – I really don’t care for this category only because I’m just a guy that sits on his couch and watches fights while these guys actually get in the cage and risk it all, so who am I to really critique these fighters? But Tyron Woodley vs Stephen Thompson was a major letdown here as this rematch did not live up to their fight in 2016. They first linked up at UFC 205 in New York City in November of 2016 and put on a show that was potentially the fight of the year, both fighters nearly finished the fight and after 5 rounds of edge of your seat entertainment, it was determined a majority draw. So a rematch was in place and fans were ready to see these two throw down again just like they did at UFC 205, the sequel did not live up to the original though. Both fighters seemed timid and weren’t taking risks to finish the fight, each landing just over 50 strikes each in 5 rounds with Woodley getting the lone takedown in this one. Woodley prevailed by decision to retain his title, but it was a lackluster performance overall especially when comparing it to their first fight.

UPSET OF THE YEAR: Rose Namajunas defeats Joanna Jedrzejczyk
– This wasn’t just an upset of the year, this was a top 5 upset of all-time. Joanna had basically cleaned out the 115 lbs straw weight division and her fight against Namajunas seemed more of a formality as everyone just figured she would win and then possibly move up to the new 125 lbs women's division to challenge for the title there. To make Rose's odds seem even more unfavorable, her 2 losses in the UFC were to Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Carla Esparza, 2 women that Joanna has beaten so if she couldn't beat them and they were unable to defeat Joanna then the transitive property says that Rose cannot beat Joanna. But at UFC 217, Rose Namajunas did the unthinkable, she stopped Joanna midway through the 1st round via TKO(punches/verbal submission) to become the new straw weight champion. And it's not just that she beat her, but the way she did. Joanna is renowned as the best striker in the division and she has outclassed everyone that has stood and traded with her, for Rose to dominate her on her feet and get a TKO win by knocking her down and punching her until Joanna verbally told the ref to call it is just mindblowing. Huge win for Rose Namajunas and easily the 2017 upset of the year.

FIGHT OF THE YEAR: Yancy Medeiros vs Alex Oliveira - At UFC 218 in Detroit, this fight stole the show. 2 guys that laid everything they had out there on the line, they stood and rocked each other with huge haymakers, both had takedowns and near submission finishes, just everything you want in a fight. Medeiros got the TKO in the 3rd round after escaping a takedown and rear naked choke attempt then blistering Oliveira with huge shots until he fell down and covered up, prompting the ref to step in and call it. Entertaining fight that was given a well deserved standing ovation by the crowd in attendance, an instant classic that fight fans could and should watch over and over.

FIGHTER OF THE YEAR: Max Holloway - This was tough to say, so many great candidates here such as Demetrious Johnson(who broke the record for most consecutive title defenses), Cris Cyborg, Rose Namajunas and Rafael Dos Anjos. I know that some will disagree and cite that Holloway only fought twice in 2017 and it was against the same opponent in Jose Aldo, but Holloway's year cemented himself as the cornerstone of the featherweight division and true heir to the throne that Aldo sat on for so many years. He first defeated Aldo at UFC 212 by TKO in the 3rd round, unifying the featherweight title that was vacated by Conor McGregor. Then at UFC 218 he took Aldo on again, this time on short notice after injury forced Frankie Edgar to withdraw from the fight. He once again stopped Aldo by TKO in the 3rd round, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind that he is the best featherweight in the world. And with both Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega waiting for their shot at the champ, Holloway's 2018 could end up topping his 2017 campaign.