Rua, Machida post big UFC wins in Fox show


Rua, Machida post big UFC wins in Fox show

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Former champion Lyoto Machida stopped Ryan Bader with one punch midway through the second round of the UFC's latest prime-time network show Saturday night, getting a knockout that might have earned him a chance to reclaim his title. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua stopped Brandon Vera in the main event with a flurry of strikes with 50 seconds left in the fourth round for another dramatic finish. After the fights, UFC President Dana White said Machida had earned another light heavyweight title shot with his sudden victory. White promised a shot at the winner of champion Jon "Bones" Jones' bout with veteran Dan Henderson next month to the fighter who was most impressive at Staples Center, although the date could be tough to keep immediately. Machida (18-3) had the light heavyweight belt until Rua took it from him with a first-round knockout in May 2010. Machida failed to reclaim the belt last December from Jones, who stopped him with a standing guillotine choke in Toronto for the formerly formidable Brazilian's third loss in four fights.

Machida looked impressive again in flattening Bader (14-3), who also has lost to Jones. "I think it was a great performance, and I want to say, the Dragon is back," Machida shouted, citing his own nickname. Machida needed just one big right hand 90 seconds into the second round to knock out Bader, who spent the first round warily staying outside Machida's dangerous karate-based style. Machida picked apart Bader to win the opening round, and when Bader attempted to close the distance, the Brazilian star ducked slightly and apparently rendered Bader unconscious with a punch square to his face. White hyped up interest in the Los Angeles show by claiming he would choose the next title contender from this bunch of fighters with significant recent defeats on their records. The UFC could be more interested in matching Jones against welterweight star Georges St. Pierre next year, but Machida did everything possible to get back on a title track. Earlier, Joe Lauzon ended a thrilling bout with veteran Jamie Varner by securing a triangle choke midway through the third round. Mike Swick also returned from a 30-month octagon absence for a second-round knockout of DaMarques Johnson. Rua (21-6) survived a grueling fight with the veteran Vera (12-6), bouncing back from multiple spots of trouble and pushing through fatigue that slowed both fighters midway through the scheduled five-round bout. Rua finally got rid of Vera with a series of strikes that began with a precise right hook to Vera's jaw. Vera's mouthpiece apparently came loose, distracting him moments before Rua finished him with a few more strikes to celebrate his first victory in nearly a year. "I'll improve, but you'll see my best for sure in the future," Rua said. "The most important thing is a victory. I respect Brandon a lot. It was a good fight. I was a little tired from the second to the third round, more than I expected." Rua lost his light heavyweight title to Jones in his first defense in March 2011, and Rua lost again to Henderson last November in a five-round brawl. Varner was a last-minute replacement opponent for Lauzon, a reliably entertaining Massachusetts fighter who still had lost three of his past six bouts. Varner is a former WEC champion who returned to the UFC with an upset victory over Edson Barboza in May. Although Varner controlled the entertaining first round, he couldn't keep up later with Lauzon, who rallied with strikes that set up superb ground work ending with his legs cinched around Varner's neck.

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Doctson could return from IR in Week 15

Doctson could return from IR in Week 15

The announcement that the Redskins are sending Josh Doctson to injured reserve wasn’t really a surprise to anyone, although perhaps the timing was. Jay Gruden has said earlier that he thought they would wait until after the bye to make a decision on whether or not to put Doctson on the shelf. But visits to a couple of specialists convinced them to make the move.

The team’s top draft pick ends the season with 31 snaps played and two receptions for 66 yards including a 57-yard reception against the Cowboys. Doctson wasn’t expected to contribute much this season but the plans were to let him get his feet wet, learn in practice, and be ready to take over a starting role next year.

Now, he can’t practice for eight games even if he overcomes his mysterious Achilles problems. He can go to meetings and be around the facility and there is some benefit in that.  

Like any player put on injured reserve after the roster cut to 53, Doctson is eligible to return after eight games. The team has one move off of IR that it can use each season. The earliest that Doctson could return is Week 15, when the Redskins host the Panthers. There is a long way to go before that bridge needs to be crossed.

The other possibilities to be activated later are center Kory Lichtensteiger and safety David Bruton. But that is a decision that can be made later in the season. Who knows what the injury picture might look like when they do have to make a call.

To replace Doctson on the roster the Redskins signed rookie free agent wide receiver Maurice Harris to the roster. At 6-3 Harris immediately becomes the tallest receiver on the roster.

The move doesn’t have much of an effect on the wide receiver depth chart since Doctson has been inactive for four weeks. It remains to be seen when Harris will see the field on game days.

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John Wall responds to NBA GMs survey: 'That's just more motivation'

John Wall responds to NBA GMs survey: 'That's just more motivation'

Most rankings put out by online outlets are simply material for page clicks and fodder for debate among fans. Few carry the weight of a survery of league general managers.

But even the opinions of those who construct rosters can't necessarily be taken as gospel. This year's NBA GM survey put out by included some things Wizards point guard John Wall just doesn't agree with.

Wall wasn't even listed among the best four point guards in the league. While he was ranked as the second-fastest player with the ball, he was nowhere to be found among the best passers. Not even under the honorable mentions of the 'also received votes' category.

That last one irked Wall more than any. He spoke on the subject after the Wizards' win over the Raptors in their preseason finale on Friday night.

"I see it every day on my Twitter. It's funny. I enjoy it. A guy that finished in the top two of assists last year can't pass? I guess so," he said.

Wall, who has averaged 10 assists per game in each of the last two seasons, says he is no stranger to being overlooked. 

"I've been an All-Star and have done this and that in my career. I think I'm doing a pretty good job of something," he said.

"Everything anybody has to say about John Wall, it's never in the top of five category of anything. That's just more motivation for me. They have their opinion. I know what I do. My teammates believe in me. They trust me and see everything I do and all the hard work I put in. One day they will respect me."

[RELATED: NBA GMs pick Wizards for playoffs, but overlook John Wall]