WATCH: Henry Cejudo awkwardly pretends to kill a snake in front of T.J. Dillashaw

Saturday marks the anticipated debut of UFC’s 2019 partnership with ESPN, which will carry UFC Fight Night 143 from Brooklyn, and the main event pits champion vs. champion in Henry Cujedo and TJ Dillashaw.

Can’t get enough UFC? Subscribe to our podcast State of Combat with Brian Campbell where we break down everything you need to know in the Octagon.

After Thursday’s press conference for the Barclays Center showcase, it’s already a good bet that Cejudo and Dillashaw’s bout will be far more intense than any promotions for the fight.

Combat sports have a knack for bringing out the bizarre at weigh-ins and other pre-fight events, but you’re going to struggle to find a more awkward confrontation than what occurred at Thursday’s press conference between the current flyweight champion and reigning bantamweight champ.

Dillashaw, as is well documented, has embraced a

Canelo Alvarez to face Daniel Jacobs on May 4 in middleweight unification fight

Canelo Alvarez has his next opponent. The unified middleweight champion will take on IBF middleweight champ Daniel Jacobs in a unification bout set for May 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Golden Boy and DAZN announced on Thursday. The bout will air live on DAZN as a part of the site’s subscription package.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reports that Jacobs signed a three-fight deal to join DAZN through MatchRoom Boxing.  

Alvarez is coming off a one-sided showing against Rocky Fielding where he moved up to super middleweight and scored a first-round TKO over an overmatched opponent whom he knocked down three times before the referee called off the match.

Jacobs (35-2) scored a split decision win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in October 2018 where he claimed the IBF crown. He also has a common opponent with Alvarez that

Irving says he called LeBron to apologize, discuss roles as leaders

Kyrie Irving said Wednesday night he called LeBron James after last Saturday’s frustrating loss in Orlando to apologize for how he acted as a young player in Cleveland.

“I had to call ‘Bron, and tell him I apologize for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips,” Irving said after the Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 118-107 on Wednesday night. “I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that.”

Irving admitted he “should have kept it in house” when criticizing his younger teammates after the loss to the Magic.

Kyrie on calling LeBron: “The responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people. … Only few are meant for it, or chosen for it, and I feel like the best person to

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Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2019: Sleepers from advanced model that predicted Scooter Gennett's strong season

With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Fantasy Baseball players are starting to put thought and effort into their draft strategies. Of course, part of everybody’s plan is to find Fantasy baseball sleepers and breakouts in the middle and late rounds of drafts, while at the same time avoiding busts like the plague. Unearthing hidden value can often make the difference between winning or losing your leagues. The only way to identify Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts, and busts is to use a reliable set of 2019 Fantasy Baseball rankings. And the SportsLine Projection Model has a strong history of turning up winners. Last year, their Fantasy baseball rankings were high on Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett. He was just the No. 181 player taken overall on average, but finished as the No. 35 player in all

Spurs' Gregg Popovich unsure if he'll coach next season; R.C. Buford says the job is his as long as he wants

The San Antonio Spurs have enjoyed one of the longest traditions of winning in the NBA ranks over the course of the last two decades.

Head coach Gregg Popovich is a big reason for that level of success and has led the Spurs to five NBA titles over the years. In an interview following Wednesday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks, Popovich admitted that he doesn’t know if he’ll be the team’s head coach after this season.

“I don’t know the answer,” Popovich said when asked about his plans for next season in an interview Wednesday night after the Spurs’ 105-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Popovich said he and R.C. Buford, San Antonio’s longtime team president, have periodically discussed the club’s various options after this season.

“He’ll coach as long as he wants to coach,” Buford said.

Jarome Iginla's No. 12 to be retired by Calgary Flames later this season

To nobody’s surprise, Jarome Iginla’s No. 12 will soon hang in the rafters in Calgary.

On Thursday, the Flames officially announced plans to retire Iginla’s jersey number later this year. The team will hold a ceremony prior to their March 2 game against the Minnesota Wild.

“It’s humbling, a huge honour, a thrill and to be honest, a little bit surreal,” said Iginla in a press release. “I am extremely grateful to the Flames ownership and organization for bestowing this tribute on me and my family.

“I’m looking forward to it but I don’t know what to expect or how I’ll handle my emotions. I’m obviously very excited but I think now that my kids are really into hockey and the NHL that it’s going to be so neat to share it with my family. To have them there,

Commissioner Silver backs Kanter's decision to skip London trip

LONDON (AP)  — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the safety and security of players will always be paramount for the league after New York Knicks center Enes Kanter did not travel to London for his team’s game against the Washington Wizards.

Kanter said he feared he could be attacked or killed over his opposition to Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he were to travel to London. Istanbul-based newspaper Daily Sabah reported that an arrest warrant was issued for Kanter by Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday.

Silver, speaking ahead of Thursday’s game, says “it was never a suggestion from the league that (Kanter) was not welcome on this trip.”

“There are significant issues that he is dealing with, and I recognize that for the NBA, by virtue of the fact that we’re a global business, we have to pay a lot of attention to those issues as well,” Silver says.

Kanter,

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Thunder's Noel available to play tonight vs. Lakers

* Tonight on TNT:  Lakers vs. Thunder, 10:30 ET

Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel, who suffered a concussion roughly a week ago, has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol and is available to play tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Word from game day shootaround. Nerlens Noel is available to play tonight vs Lakers.

— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 17, 2019

Thunder says Nerlens Noel has passed concussion protocol and is available tonight against the Lakers.

— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) January 17, 2019

Nerlens Noel has passed all concussion tests and is available tonight against the Lakers.

— Royce Young (@royceyoung) January 17, 2019

Nerlens Noel has passed the concussion protocol and is available tonight against the Lakers.

— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) January 17, 2019

Noel suffered his injury last Tuesday in the Thunder’s 119-117 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Tests last Wednesday showed Noel

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Pistons' Griffin fined $15,000 for verbal abuse of game official

NEW YORK — Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin has been fined $15,000 for verbal abuse of a game official, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred at the conclusion of the Pistons’ 100-94 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday, Jan. 14 at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

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2019 State Farm All-Star Saturday Night

What: State Farm All-Star Saturday Night
When: Saturday, Feb. 16 | 8 p.m. ET
TV: TNT 
Where: Spectrum Center
Participants: TBD

This page will be updated soon with more information, including participants for all events on State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. Please check back.

Taco Bell Skills Challenge

• Event Page

Three-Point Contest

• Event Page

Slam Dunk Contest

• Event Page

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