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Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa has overcome distractions to play some of his best football

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Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa has overcome distractions to play some of his best football

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovialoa was getting spitballs fired his way by defensive tackle and team jokester Christian Wilkins as he stood at the podium for his weekly Wednesday press conference.

Undeterred, Tagovailoa continued through his responses, as if the spitballs coming through a straw from the other side of a door Wilkins left slightly ajar were pass rushers speeding past him and he was stepping up in the pocket to deliver his answers — about his throwing accuracy, finger injury or status of his ribs.

While it may have been a fairly trivial matter, it was almost a microcosm of how Tagovailoa has played some of his best football in recent weeks despite a number of distractions that could’ve caused him to go the other way.

“It’s hard to rattle him,” said Dolphins quarterbacks coach Charlie Frye. “It really is. His focus and concentration, that is at a high level right now. And his makeup, he doesn’t let a lot of things bother him. Whatever that is — injuries, all the burdens that go along with being the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins — a lot of mental toughness that you’re seeing.”

Tagovailoa has missed five starts this season due to the two aforementioned injuries. Just a month ago, he was thrown into the middle of a saga with the Dolphins (5-7) heavily involved in trade talks for embattled Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson. If that would’ve materialized, he would’ve lost his hold on the franchise’s quarterbacking reins.

“It seems probably overwhelming to everyone else, but that’s the NFL,” Dolphins play-caller George Godsey said. “There’s always discussions that go on, injuries happen. Players get hurt on our team at other positions that you’re going to have to build relationships with guys playing new roles, and he’s done that.

“That’s a sign of him growing up as an NFL player. He’s a very mature kid, and it’s just a matter of being able to deal with the adversity.”

In the past two wins over the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers, Tagovailoa posted a 108.3 and 108.7 quarterback rating, respectively. He was 54 of 64 (84.3%) for 503 yards, three touchdowns and one interception over the two games. The Panthers, by the way, entered Sunday with NFL’s top-ranked pass defense.

He had similar effectiveness when he entered in the second half of the missed start against the Baltimore Ravens prior to those two outings, going 8 of 13 for 158 yards and a rushing touchdown playing through the injured finger on his throwing hand in the upset victory.

“For me, the most important thing was the guys in the locker room,” Tagovailoa said Wednesday. “It wasn’t really the outside noise, what was going on around the building.”

He finally gave in to Wilkins’ increasingly pressing attempts to break him at the podium before wrapping up his thought, saying about distractions, “Just can’t worry about them.”

The Dolphins’ brass has noticed Tagovailoa’s improvements in this stretch run to his second NFL season that almost serves as an audition for whether the franchise will stick with him in the future or make a move for another quarterback in the offseason.

“There’s been a lot of positives,” Miami coach Brian Flores said. “He’s improved every week. I think he’s getting better every time he steps on to the practice field. He’s getting the reps from a preparation standpoint, and he’s doing better.”

Above all, Tagovailoa’s accuracy on his throws and ball placement has stood out. It’s something that was stressed to him in his very early quarterbacking days.

“Working out with my dad, that was imperative,” Tagovailoa recalled. “Everything I had to do had to be to his liking, so if the ball placement wasn’t where it should’ve been, then we do it again and we do it until we get it right. That goes with footwork, all of that.”

Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki thought back to a time in the preseason opener in Chicago where Tagovailoa impressed him by putting a pass low and away where only he could catch it. It was a moment where he really noticed Tagovailoa’s ball placement, and it has translated to the regular season and his current run.

“He’s going to throw a very catchable ball and he’s going to make the job easy for his receivers,” Gesicki said. “A lot of guys are making plays because of where he’s putting the ball.”

Added Jaylen Waddle, who caught a touchdown from Tagovailoa and a 57-yard catch and run over the middle: “He hits you when you’re in stride, so your run-after-catch ability is on display.”

Tagovailoa’s approach to putting the ball where it needs to be depends on the coverage.

“If it’s man, you never want to put it behind him. You never want to put it on him. You always want to lead him,” he said. “In zone, you’re just trying to beat the defensive guys in spots when you’re throwing. A lot of it has to do with timing.”

Tagovailoa added he no longer feels discomfort with the fractured finger on his throwing hand, nor does he think about his fractured ribs when playing.

As for the spitballing Wilkins, who always seems to be at the center of the team’s fun, whether it’s on-field celebrations or otherwise, he said Wednesday: “We’re playing a kids’ game and we get to call it work.”

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UFC 270: Ngannou vs Gane | Betting Picks, Predictions & Odds

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UFC 270: Ngannou vs Gane | Betting Picks, Predictions & Odds

It’s a new year, and for the first time in 2022, we have UFC on pay per view. As soon as the bell dings, we’ll have two title fights to whet our UFC 270 betting appetites.

The main event is Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane, and we have the odds, picks, and predictions for that heavyweight title fight, as well as the other four main bouts at UFC 270.

Kindly note that all information in this preview, including whether or not the events will take place, is subject to change due to Covid-19.

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UFC 270: Ngannou vs. Gane Betting Picks and Predictions

For the first time since 2015 and the fight between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum, we have a heavyweight champion going toe-to-toe with another heavyweight champion.

It’s also interesting that Francis Ngannou’s contract expires after this fight, and if he wants to remain in the UFC, and if the UFC wants to keep him, the result here should go a long way toward deciding that.

Ngannou and Ciryl Gane used to train together and have sparred against each other multiple times. Both fighters know the other one intimately, which favors Gane.

Like Ngannou, Gane is a power puncher. But he’s more technical in his approach to fights and doesn’t rely solely on the power behind one landed punch. He’ll approach the fight with more of a plan, while Ngannou’s mindset stays the same from fight to fight – throw a flurry of punches and hope that one of them hits.

This is why Gane is the betting favorite and why he’s our predicted winner. Both men land their share of knockouts, but Gane can also win a fight on points. That versatility in how he plans for a fighter, and how he can win, makes him the slightly better bet.

UFC 270: Ngannou vs. Gane Odds

The most recent UFC 270 odds have Ciryl Gane as the favorite to win. But if Ngannou is to pull off the upset, a knockout is the most likely scenario.

Win Outright:

Francis Ngannou (+120)
Ciryl Gane (-140)

Win by KO/TKO/DQ:

Francis Ngannou (+130)
Ciryl Gane (+240)

Win by Decision:

Francis Ngannou (+700)
Ciryl Gane (+333)

Win by Submission:

Francis Ngannou (+2500)
Ciryl Gane (+900)

Draw (+6600)

Francis Ngannou – Fighter Profile and History

Born and raised in Cameroon, Francis Ngannou moved to Paris at the age of 26 to pursue a professional boxing career. Living homeless on the streets and desperate for a break, Ngannou found his way to the MMA Factory, the largest mixed martial arts gym in France.

From there, he was convinced to switch from boxing to MMA, and as he began training at the gym, he was also allowed to live there.

After winning five of his first six MMA bouts in France, he signed with the UFC and debuted in 2015 – that fight resulted in a second-round knockout of Luis Henrique. Ngannou would go on to win his first six UFC heavyweight fights, five of them by KO or TKO, setting up his first title bout in 2018 against Stipe Miocic.

Ngannou lost that fight, but after three long years and four more KO/TKOs, he got a rematch for the title in March 2021. Ngannou won the UFC Heavyweight Championship, also by knockout.

This is Ngannou’s first fight since winning the championship 10 months ago.

Ciryl Gane – Fighter Profile and History

Born on the western edge of France, Ciryl Gane grew up playing sports but never dreamed of having a life in MMA. After his school days were over, Gane took a job as a furniture salesman. But after that shop closed its doors, he needed to find something else, and he’d recently been introduced to Muay Thai by a school friend.

Gane was a natural from the start and won all 13 of his professional Muay Thai fights. Gane left Muay Thai as the WBC Muay Thai champion and began his MMA career with TKO in Canada in 2018. In his debut, he fought for the vacant heavyweight title and won it.

After three fights in Canada, and three wins, Gane joined the UFC, where he has since won seven more MMA fights without a loss.

The last of those wins was at UFC 265 when he beat Derrick Lewis for the interim Heavyweight Championship, which was awarded because Ngannou was allegedly unwilling to defend his title.

UFC 270: Fight Card Betting Picks and Odds

The Heavyweight Championship is on the line when Ngannou meets Game, but there are four other fights on the main card worth talking about. If you’ve never staked money on a UFC fight, then here’s where you’ll find everything you need to know about UFC betting.

Brandon Moreno (-180) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (+155)

This one is for the UFC Flyweight Championship, and these two men are becoming well acquainted with one another. Not only is this their third meeting, but it’s also their third meeting in a row.

The first meeting was a draw, and the second fight resulted in a Moreno win by submission, giving him the UFC Flyweight Championship, a title he also held when he was with the Legacy Fight Championship. A second win at UFC 270 in their third bout would solidify his claim as the best fighter in the division and prove once again that he never should’ve been cut by UFC in 2018.

Michel Pereira (-280) vs. Andre Fialho (+230)

UFC 270 marks the beginning of Andre Fialho’s UFC career. He comes into his UFC debut with a 4-0 record in 2021 and is 14-3 overall. He has most recently been fighting with the UAE Warriors.

Michel Pereira has been fighting professionally since 2011, and he has been with a variety of organizations, primarily in Brazil and Peru. After doing well in South America, he joined the Serbian Battle Championship and won the welterweight title while fighting there.

Since that time, Pereira joined the UFC in 2019, has a 4-2 record, and should have little problem taking care of Fialho. Pereira’s last two wins have come by unanimous decision.

Cody Stamann (+170) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (-200)

These two fighters are bantamweights looking to prove they belong among the best in the division. Right now, both men are outside the top-15 rankings, and both are a long way from getting any kind of title shot.

Said Nurmagomedov is the more accomplished fighter, having won a bantamweight title in Russia and compiling a 3-1 record since joining the UFC. His last fight was a first-round knockout 15 months ago in Dubai.

Cody Stamann was a wrestler in college and is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s been with the UFC since 2017. He’s 5-3-1 with the UFC, but he’s lost his last two bouts, and this likely third straight loss could be the end of his career at this level.

Rodolfo Vieira (-225) vs. Wellington Turman (+185)

The final bout on the main card of UFC 270 is a middleweight fight between Rodolfo Viera and Wellington Turman.

Viera has a long history in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has 17 gold medals from the Pan American Championship, European Championship, the World Cup, and the World Championship.

He joined the UFC in 2019 and won his debut by submission, which is how he has finished seven of his eight victories. Two fights ago, in February of last year, he suffered his one and only UFC loss.

Turman also has a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background and is a black belt. But unlike Vieira, who’s done well since coming to the UFC, Turman has struggled. He’s 2-3 since making his debut in 2019 but did win a split decision his last time out. However, that came against Sam Alvey, who hasn’t won in seven straight bouts.

UFC 270: Venue

An event this big needs a roaring crowd, which is what the nearly 19,000-seat Honda Center will provide.

Since the Honda Center first opened in 1993, it has hosted The Stanley Cup Final, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and it’ll host the volleyball competition for the 2028 Summer Olympics. The Honda Center has also hosted several previous UFC events, beginning with UFC 59 in 2006.

At that first-ever UFC event in California, Tim Silva beat Andrei Arlovski to reclaim his heavyweight title, and Tito Ortiz beat Forrest Griffin to help set up his fight title with Chuck Liddell at the end of 2006.

UFC 270: COVID-19 Updates

For the first time since the pandemic began in 2020, vaccinated UFC fighters will not be tested for COVID-19 during the week of the fight. The same holds true for all vaccinated corner people. They also haven’t had to quarantine before UFC 270, which is a change.

All fighters and their corner people did have to test negative before they arrived in California, and all of them will be tested again before they leave after the event.

Unvaccinated fighters who arrived in California between Monday and Wednesday had to test negative twice – once upon arrival at the host hotel and again on Thursday. Anyone arriving Thursday only needs to test negative once.

This article was provided by Betting.com, a betting community website where you can find the latest promo codes, sportsbook bonuses, expert predictions, and betting picks on all major leagues in the United States and beyond. You’ll also be able to compare odds between different betting sites, have access to high-tech betting calculators, and sports stats to help you place winning bets.

Gambling involves risk. Please only gamble with funds that you can comfortably afford to lose. Whilst we do our utmost to offer good advice and information we cannot be held responsible for any loss that may be incurred as a result of gambling. We do our best to make sure all the information that we provide on this site is correct. However, from time to time mistakes will be made and we will not be held liable. Please check any stats or information if you are unsure how accurate they are.


The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

This sponsored content article is governed by our Online Gambling Content Disclaimer (the “Disclaimer”) available here (or at the following URL: https://www.denverpost.com/online-gambling-content-disclaimer), and this sponsored content article constitutes “Gaming Content” as that term is defined in the Disclaimer.  Among other things, the Disclaimer governs your access to, and use of, this Gaming Content.  By accessing and using this Gaming Content, you expressly agree to the terms and conditions of the Disclaimer. The entire Disclaimer is incorporated herein by this reference. We strongly encourage you to please read the entire Disclaimer carefully.

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King Soopers strike: Union, grocery chain reach tentative agreement

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King Soopers strike: Union, grocery chain reach tentative agreement

King Soopers and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 announced Friday morning that they have reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, ending the 10-day-old strike at the grocer’s metro Denver stores immediately.

The three-year deal still needs to be ratified, and union members will begin voting on it Monday. Terms of the new contract have not yet been made public.

According to the union, the agreement will guarantee respect, protection and fair pay for grocery workers in King Soopers stores across Colorado.

“After months of negotiations and after our members walked out on strike, we have reached a tentative agreement with King Soopers/City Market that addresses the company’s unfair labor practices and ensures that our members will receive the respect, pay and protection they warrant,” Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, said in a news release. “This fight will always be about the workers. I could not be prouder of our members who put it all on the line to have their voices heard.”

More than 8,000 workers at 78 stores across the Denver metro area went on strike Jan. 12 to protest the company’s labor practices after contracts began expiring throughout Colorado. The strike had been scheduled to last three weeks.

“We are pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates’ paychecks and secures health care and pension plans,” said Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers and City Market, in a news release. “We look forward to welcoming back our associates and customers.”

Cordova said the community’s support in not crossing picket lines helped members get a contract they deserve and can be proud out. She thanked King Soopers customers that chose to shop elsewhere over the last 10 days.

“All of us at Local 7 are proud to fight on behalf of our members who show up to work every day, keeping shelves full to feed their communities through this ongoing pandemic while barely making ends meet to feed and provide for their own families,” Cordova said. “We didn’t ask for this fight, but the company chose to put profits over people for so long and failed to listen to the workers who made its success possible.”

Details of the contract “will be made public in the coming days to the members,” the union said in its news release.

During the negotiations, King Soopers has proposed raising starting pay to at least $16 an hour –13 cents above Denver’s minimum wage. A spokeswoman for the chain said King Soopers’ average hourly wage is $18.29.

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Opinion: For Colorado’s Jewish community, praying in peace means confronting anti-Semitism

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Texas rabbi says he, 2 hostages escaped synagogue standoff

We are deeply grateful that Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three congregants at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas were able to escape safely after being taken hostage during last Saturday’s worship services. This attack against a sacred community in the middle of Sabbath services should be shocking to all people who share the bedrock principle that all of us, no matter our religion, should be allowed to pray free from fear.

The trauma caused by the perpetrator of this heinous act extended far beyond the small congregation in Colleyville. It added to the concerns of Jews in Colorado and around the country that such a horrific event could happen in their synagogues. While the hostage-taker’s focus may have been on the release of a convicted terrorist with links to Al Qaeda, he did not choose a library, shopping mall or church to try to leverage his ask; he chose a synagogue. This was an act of antisemitism, plain and clear.

Antisemitism has reached a high-water mark in the United States. Unfortunately, being on edge and hypervigilant is very much a part of the American Jewish experience. We saw it in the aftermath of the rally in Charlottesville in 2017 when white supremacists chanted “Jews shall not replace us” while marching with their tiki torches across the University of Virginia campus; the deadly shootings at synagogues in Pittsburgh in 2018 and Poway in 2019, and the subsequent attacks on Jewish targets in Jersey City, New Jersey and Monsey, New York.

In 2020, 2,024 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism in the United States were reported to the Anti-Defamation League, the third-highest year for incidents against American Jews since ADL started tracking such data in 1979. In Colorado, there were 60 antisemitic incidents reported in 2020, just one less than the high set in 2019. A 2021 ADL poll found that well over half of Jewish Americans have either experienced or directly witnessed some form of an antisemitic incident in the last five years.

So, when The Denver Post failed last Sunday to give prominent attention to the taking of hostages at gunpoint during worship services in Colleyville, it was painful. The story was relegated to the “Briefs” section on page 13, a section that included a story about the value of superstar Prince’s estate. We recognize that print deadlines may have passed, but steps should have been taken so that this terrible event was not made to appear less relevant than the primary story on page 2 about the “Nasal Ranger,” a machine that detects smells.

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