Ten things to know from last week: December 7-13. Last lap F1 definition, a huge upset in MMA, the end of an era in Polo...
Ten things to know from last week
Last lap definition! Max Verstappen (NED, Red Bull) won his first Formula 1 World Driver’s Championship after passing Lewis Hamilton (ENG, Mercedes) for the win in the very last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, following a restart. It was a controversial finale, as the Race Director decided to restart the race with one lap to go, unconventionally only allowing the lapped cars between the first and second place to pass by the Safety Car, in order to have a restart. Verstappen had just pitted for soft tires and was in a better condition. Mercedes won the Constructors Championship. This was the last F1 race for Kimi-Matias Räikkönen (FIN, Alfa Romeo).
Upsetting the best! Julianna Peña (VEN), who had lost two of her last four Mixed Martial Arts fights, pulled one of the biggest upsets in the sport’s history after beating the #1 Pound for Pound female MMA fighter, Amanda Nunes (BRA) , to take her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship, with a rear-naked choke submission in the second round. The Champion dominated the first round but Peña landed good shots before the knockout. Later, Charles Oliveira (BRA) beat Dustin Poirier (USA) to successfully defend his UFC Lightweight Championship.
Finally a new Champion! La Natividad broke the duopoly of the Argentine Polo Open held by Ellerstina and La Dolfina dating back to 2005, by beating La Dolfina Saudi 15-13 in the Final. Adolfo Cambiaso’s (ARG) La Dofina changed its player configuration this year, after their eight titles in a row. La Natividad fielded Camilo “Jeta” Castagnola (ARG, 9), Paul “Polito” Pieres (ARG, 9), Bartolome Castagnola Jr (ARG, 9), and Ignatius Du Plessis (ZAF, 9). The Women’s Argentine Open saw the comeback of Nina Clarkin (ENG) and she proved again that she is the best female polo player in the world, by propelling La Dolfina BP to its record third title…The previous two were with her as well, before force majeure forced her out of two editions. She was joined by Mía Cambiaso and the sisters Candelaria and Milagros Fernández Araujo (ARG).
Bombarding again. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers became the first team in 11 years to win the Canadian Football League for the second year in a row, after beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33–25 for the 108th Grey Cup. It was the fourth Grey Cup to go to overtime. Quarterback Zach Collaros (USA) threw the touchdown and respective conversion to win and was awarded the ‘MVP’. Estranged NFL kicker Sergio Castillo (MEX/USA) scored seven times and led one conversion within the nine scoring plays by the Blue Bombers during regulation time.
Esport Champions. Valorant, a globally popular 5v5 character-based tactical First Person Shooter game, crowned its first Champions, as European team Acend beat Gambit (RUS) in the Grand Finals. Another FPS, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, had its Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI Winter event in Stockholm, where Team Vitality (FRA) beat Ninjas in Pyjamas (DNK) 3-0, with 70 kills by Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut (FRA). Rocket League held its first in-person global Major in two years, and Team BDS (CHE, with Spanish and French players) beat The General NRG (USA) in overtime. In Age of Empires II, Ørjan “TheViper” Larsen (NOR) won the King of Desert 4 tournament.
Musumeci denies sweep. Just as in the previous World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), the only non-Brazilian to win a gold has “Musumeci” as a surname, as Mikey Musumeci (USA) won his fourth world title in the 57 kg division, beating 10-times World Champion Bruno Malfacine (BRA) with his usual Ankle Lock in an excellent final. Beatriz Mesquita (BRA) won her 10th world title in the women’s 64 kg division. Felipe Pena (BRA) and Gabrieli Pessanha (BRA) won the Absolute Championships.
The best Para-Surfer. Bruno Hanson (DNK) became the first Para Surfer to win si World Championship gold medals and extended his record as the most successful, undefeated Para Surfer of all time. He won the sixth in a row, by taking the Men’s Prone 1 over Casey Proud (HAW, USA), who was very close to beating him. In the end, the United States of America won the team title in California. Victoria Feige (CAN) and Melissa Reid (ENG) became the first female Para Surfers to win three gold medals in the Championships.
Double Flag for USA. Team USA won its fourth consecutive IFAF Flag Football Men’s World Championship, having won each edition of the IFAF tournament since 2014. This time they beat Mexico 44-41 in a close Final game held in Jerusalem Israel and won all seven matches they had. They have now won five World Championships. The women’s side would see a similar story, as Team USA also beat Team Mexico in the Finals, in this case, 31-21, for the second title in a row for the US Americans.
The last one? Magnus Carlsen (NOR) successfully defended his World Chess Championship for a fourth time. Only three Chess players have won six World title matches and Carlsen remains the player with the second-longest streak as #1, behind Garry Kasparov (RUS). Carlsen beat Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS) 7 1/2 to 3 1/2 as the Russian had uncharacteristic blunders. Perhaps his collapse was triggered by the sixth game, where Carlsen won the longest match in World Championship history, featuring 136 moves. On Monday, Carlsen hinted it could be his last World Championship unless his next challenger is Alireza Firouzja (FRA).
Clear Olympic favorites? Several competitors that might already be considered gold medal favorites for Beijing 2022 won their World Cup competitions this weekend: Francesco Friedrich (DEU) keeps extending his World Cup win records in 2-Man and 4-Man, Nils van der Poel (SWE) won the 5000m at the Speed Skating World Cup in Calgary (CAN) after breaking the World Record last week, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR) won the Men’s Cross-Country Sprint in Davos (SUI), Maja Dahlqvist (SWE) won the Women’s Sprint, and Therese Johaug (NOR) won the Women’s 10k, Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR) and Gyda Westvold Hansen (NOR) won both Nordic Combined competitions in Otepää (EST), Maxim Burov (RUS) won both Aerials in Ruka (FIN), Cai Xuetong (CHN) won the Snowboard Halfpipe in Copper Mountain (Colorado), and Eileen Gu (CHN) won the Ski Halfpipe. The surprise was that Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) did not win the Moguls in Idre (SWE) but won the non-Olympic Dual Moguls.
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