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Watch video of fight: Israel Adesanya knocks out Pereira to reclaim UFC middleweight title




Israel Adesanya has defeated Alex Pereira to reclaim the UFC middleweight belt title in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 287.

The bout took place at the FTX Arena, Miami, Florida, on Sunday morning.

The Nigerian-born mixed martial artist knocked out the Brazilian in the fourth minute of the second round of the bout.

The victory is Adesanya’s first-ever win over Pereira who defeated and took the belt off him with a vicious fifth-round knockout in November 2022.

The Brazilian had also defeated him twice before that fight at the Maddison Square Garden in New York.

However, in their latest bout, Adesanya demonstrated an improvement in his discipline which had previously cost him against Pereira. He had a laser-like focus throughout the entire blurry exchanges of kicks and jabs.

He kept his hard mask of control through the first round despite the constant infuriation of Pereira’s low kick into his right calf.

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In the second round, however, he charged out of his reserved, calculating stance and flew after the Brazilians with strings of attacks.

Although Periera initially countered Adesanya’s moves and pinned him with a flurry of punches to the corner, the Nigerian-born fighter wriggled out of the trap with a vicious left hook, followed by a more debilitating right cross-jab that sent the Brazilian to the mat.

Adesanya then finished the job with some ground and pound and the referee was forced to call the match.

The win over Pereira is Adesanya’s 24th in his career in mixed martial arts (MMA) and he had suffered just two losses.

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I owe my feats to Nigerians – Ademola Lookman





London-born Nigeria winger and Atalanta forward Ademola Lookman, says the support he gets from Nigerians motivates him to do more in his footballing career.


Lookman’ s stunning hat-trick on Wednesday night in the Europa League final encounter with Bayer Leverkusen’s, ensured the victory of the Serie A side.


The London-born Nigerian international with his performance in the encounter set a record of becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in a European final since 1975.

The 26-year-old who had represented England at youth football levels before switching allegiance to Nigeria, said: “It’s incredible, and I have said this in earlier interviews: the unwavering support and love I get back home is unbelievable; it gives me the motivation to try to inspire myself and try to evolve in different areas, not just in my game but as a person.


“It has taken me to a new level. Competing in AFCON this January, unfortunately, we lost in the final, but it catapulted us as Super Eagles, and the support back home is incredible.”

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He also said: “Probably, I’ve always had the confidence to create and score goals and help my teammates.

“In the past few years, I’ve been able to take my game to a new level and show that on a more consistent basis.


“I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made, but this is just the beginning. I hope for more nights like this.”

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Ademola Lookman hits hat-trick as Atalanta end Leverkusen run to win Europa League





Ademola Lookman etched himself into Atalanta folklore with a Europa League final hat-trick that he says didn’t catch him by surprise – although boss Gian Piero Gasperini admitted nobody could have expected his progress.


The London-born Nigeria winger became only the sixth player to score a hat-trick in a European final – the first since Jupp Heynckes for Borussia Monchengladbach in the 1975 Uefa Cup – with all three goals in the Italian side’s win over Bayer Leverkusen in Dublin.


That is the Bayer Leverkusen side led by Xabi Alonso, which had not lost a single game of football for 361 days.


Lookman, 26, had never managed double figures in a season for Charlton, Everton, RB Leipzig, Fulham or Leicester.

After this treble the former England Under-21 winger, who now represents Nigeria at international level, has netted 15 goals in each of his two seasons with Atalanta.


Gasperini said: “We had a senior manager at Atalanta [Lee Congerton] who had worked at Leicester, who saw the opportunity to bring him in and thought he was a possible useful player.


“Nobody could ever imagine he’d could make this much progress. He wasn’t overly prolific in England. I changed his position to a more attacking role.


“Tonight he achieved something which will remain in the annals of football history – a stunning hat-trick.”

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Lookman was asked afterwards if he could have imagined this growing up in Wandsworth and when he started out at Charlton’s academy.


“Probably, yeah,” he replied. “I’ve always had the confidence in my ability.


“In the past two years I’ve been able to take my game to a new level and show it on a more consistent basis.

“Maybe it could have come earlier but it’s come now. I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made but this is just the beginning. I hope for more nights like this.”


‘One of the best nights of my life’
Immediately after the final whistle Lookman told TNT Sports “it’s one of the best nights of my life”. Perhaps understated.


A Dublin party was “100%” planned, he added. “We’ve got to celebrate, we made history tonight.”


Lookman joined Gasperini’s post-match news conference midway through and after the manager had left he spoke about the role he has had in his career.

“The past few years, the club and coach have supported me in terms of giving me minutes… it’s helped me elevate my game to a new level,” he added.


“The first few conversations we had, made me look at football a bit differently. It made it simpler in my mind in terms of what he expected from me.

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“It made me look at, and play, my game in a different light. I’m very grateful to him.”


Lookman laughed when an Italian journalist claimed a street may be named after him in Bergamo one day.


The forward is one of about 120,000 people who live in the northern Italian city close to Milan.

“I feel the support from the fans from the first minute I was in Bergamo,” he added. “The city of Bergamo gives me a sense of calmness. It’s a very calm, relaxed city and that has helped me a lot with my living style. I’m focused on the important things.


Lookman’s mentor and coach of former youth side Waterloo, Felix Emanus, also spoke to TNT Sports after the game.


“I really can’t tell you my emotions – sky high,” he said. “We’ve been dreaming about this for a long time, since Ade was a kid at Waterloo. Tonight was a dream come true.


“I cried when the third goal went in. I’m so happy for Ade. He works so hard, quiet lad. Sometimes misunderstood because of his quietness but he’s a great kid. Wants to learn, wants to always get better and wants to reach the top.”

At the age of 66 years and 117 days, Gian Piero Gasperini is the oldest coach to win the Europa League

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While this may be remembered as the Lookman final, Atalanta’s success is just as remarkable.


In their 116-year history, this was only their second trophy – after the 1963 Coppa Italia.


Just last week they lost the Coppa Italia final to Juventus. What a way to bounce back.

Gasperini’s men also became the first Italian team to win this tournament since 1999.

“I am hugely proud for all of Italy because it was a cursed trophy,” said the 66-year-old, who took charge of the club in 2016. “Having won it with Atalanta is perhaps one of those footballing fairytales that rarely crop up.


“It gives hope for meritocracy. It doesn’t come down to Super Leagues. You can show faith in other teams without big bills and budgets.

“Let’s try to savour this win before thinking about how far we can go next season. This team has grown with results. We’ve done so while making sure we balance the books or turn a profit and that’s the most exceptional element of this club.

“Typically the clubs who are winning things struggle to keep costs down. Atalanta have managed to win things while being a financially sustainable club. That’s extraordinary.”

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Mauricio Pochettino leaves Chelsea after only one season





Mauricio Pochettino has left Chelsea by mutual consent.

Pochettino departs Chelsea after less than a year in charge having agreed a two-year deal last summer. Jesus Perez, Miguel d’Agostino, Toni Jimenez and Sebastiano Pochettino have left the club in addition to Pochettino.


Chelsea finished sixth in the Premier League in a massive improvement from the previous year, but the former Spurs boss becomes the third permanent coach the club have parted ways with since the 2022 takeover.


The decision comes following a season of uncertainty around the Argentine coach’s position after a difficult start to life at Stamford Bridge. For much of 2023/24 the team languished in midtable before a turn in fortunes from February saw them march up the table.


Mauricio Pochettino releases statement as Chelsea confirm exit after just one season in charge


A meeting between Pochettino and sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley and co-owner Behdad Eghbali took place in which Pochettino agreed to his departure.

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Sporting Directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said in the club’s statement: “On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, we would like to express our gratitude to Mauricio for his service this season. He will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching career.”


Mauricio Pochettino said: “Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and Sporting Directors for the opportunity to be part of this football club’s history. The Club is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come.”


Mauricio Pochettino during Chelsea’s fifth straight win to close the Premier League season.
T he Blues boss hinted ahead of the end of the season that a decision on his future would not only be in the hands of the club. “Look, it is not important,” he said.


“The most important thing is to keep going working if we are all happy, not only the owners happy with us, the sporting directors with us, or us with the organisation the club is building here because then we are all under assessment.

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“If we are happy, perfect. But it is not only if the owner are happy or the sporting directors are happy. If we are happy, you need to ask also because we said ‘look maybe we are not happy with certain situations and maybe we are not happy and we need to split.


“It is not going to be the first time that a coaching staff decide at the end of the season not to keep going. But understand that it is always the opposite way, always the owners or the sporting director.

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