National Finals Rodeo

NFR viewing parties shine brightly on and off Las Vegas Strip

Click here To Watch LiveStream

NFR 2018

When the sun goes down, the lights turn up for what the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo appropriately terms NFR After Dark. And while those lights certainly shine bright at viewing parties, after-parties and concerts up and down the Strip, there are plenty of great gatherings all around town.

To put it succinctly: You can let ‘er rip away from the Strip, too.

For example, the Silverton, just a couple miles south of the Strip, holds an all-ages nightly viewing party at its Veil Pavilion. Kimiko Peterson, director of communications at the Silverton, noted that with TV screens around the entire room, patrons have a 360-degree view of all the Wrangler NFR action. Host Justin Frazell keep things lively the first four nights and last three nights of the Wrangler NFR, and there are food and beverage specials and nightly prize giveaways.

Word certainly got around in 2017, and the Silverton expects good turnout this year, as well.

“Last year, we had so many rodeo fans telling us how much they loved our room an

NFR 2018

NFR viewing parties shine brightly on and off Las Vegas Strip

Click here To Watch LiveStream

NFR 2018

When the sun goes down, the lights turn up for what the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo appropriately terms NFR After Dark. And while those lights certainly shine bright at viewing parties, after-parties and concerts up and down the Strip, there are plenty of great gatherings all around town.

To put it succinctly: You can let ‘er rip away from the Strip, too.

For example, the Silverton, just a couple miles south of the Strip, holds an all-ages nightly viewing party at its Veil Pavilion. Kimiko Peterson, director of communications at the Silverton, noted that with TV screens around the entire room, patrons have a 360-degree view of all the Wrangler NFR action. Host Justin Frazell keep things lively the first four nights and last three nights of the Wrangler NFR, and there are food and beverage specials and nightly prize giveaways.

Word certainly got around in 2017, and the Silverton expects good turnout this year, as well.

“Last year, we had so many rodeo fans telling us how much they loved our room an

NFR

NFR viewing parties shine brightly on and off Las Vegas Strip

Click here To Watch LiveStream

When the sun goes down, the lights turn up for what the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo appropriately terms NFR After Dark. And while those lights certainly shine bright at viewing parties, after-parties and concerts up and down the Strip, there are plenty of great gatherings all around town.

To put it succinctly: You can let ‘er rip away from the Strip, too.

For example, the Silverton, just a couple miles south of the Strip, holds an all-ages nightly viewing party at its Veil Pavilion. Kimiko Peterson, director of communications at the Silverton, noted that with TV screens around the entire room, patrons have a 360-degree view of all the Wrangler NFR action. Host Justin Frazell keep things lively the first four nights and last three nights of the Wrangler NFR, and there are food and beverage specials and nightly prize giveaways.

Word certainly got around in 2017, and the Silverton expects good turnout this year, as well.

“Last year, we had so many rodeo fans telling us how much they loved our room and the setup of our viewing parties,” Peterson said. “We’re excited to see the viewing parties and after-parties grow to become the place to watch the NFR for rodeo fans of all ages, and enjoy the nightly entertainment and activities after the rodeo.

The Silverton’s after-party includes free live entertainment and, for those who dare, a mechanical bull.

“This is our favorite time of year here at the casino, and our team members love having the rodeo fans on property,” Peterson said. “The energy at the resort during these 10 days is something that rodeo fans and casino guests alike will enjoy.”

Hard Rock gets in the act

With big hats and boots dominating the scenery over the 10-day Wrangler NFR, even the Hard Rock Hotel gets a little bit country. Ann Lackomar, director of brand marketing at the Hard Rock, said the hotel will have live viewing parties and nightly food and beverage specials.

And what’s the Hard Rock without music, right? The hotel will roll out several no-cover-charge concerts over the course of the week inside Vinyl. The Joint also will host the Gary Allan Show on Dec. 14-15.

A few blocks west of the Strip, on Tropicana Avenue, The Orleans has long been a do-drop-in during the Wrangler NFR. Owner Boyd Gaming transforms The Orleans from the Big Easy into the Big Country.

“Boyd Gaming loves the rodeo,” said Jackie Ferrando, event marketing director for Boyd Gaming. “We’ve been a major sponsor for the last 30 years and have organized a number of nightly events and activities that have become staple must-attends for rodeo aficionados.”

Each night of the Wrangler NFR kicks off at 5 p.m. with Rump’s Rodeo Party, a pregame/live viewing party hosted by PRCA barrelman Justin “Rumpshaker” Rumford inside The Honky Tonk Saloon. The hotel also hosts family-friendly viewing parties in the Showroom tonight and from Sunday through Dec. 15, and in the Honky Tonk Saloon on Saturday night.

As the rodeo action wraps up, 21-and-older patrons can head to the Bourbon Street Lounge for the Buckin’ Bash, where they can party and dance until 2 a.m., with live music and drink specials.

Nightly show returns

The National Finals Tonight Show takes place each evening at 10:30 p.m. at the Honky Tonk Saloon, with hosts Don Gay, Joe Beaver and Dan Miller recapping the highlights and moderating Q&A sessions with rodeo standouts.

“The National Finals Tonight Show is the perfect event for those looking for a fun party vibe, as well as a recap of the day’s events. It’s really the best of both worlds,” Ferrando said.

 

Of course, the South Point is a key cog to the Wrangler NFR machine. The evolution of the nightly viewing party over the past several years has been tremendous, and the go-round buckle presentations in the main showroom — with live entertainment following the awards — turn into a nightly late-night party.

“It started as five days, in the second-largest ballroom. Today, we do it in all three ballrooms, all 10 days,” said South Point owner Michael Gaughan, who has long been heavily involved in the Wrangler NFR. “We get 4,000 people in the ballrooms, plus there’s viewing in the showroom, and I’ve got the three lounge bars. They’re packed, too. And in the non-lounge bars, the NFR is on the TV sets.

“The biggest thing I’ve ever done with rodeo is to get the PRCA to give us the live feed. All the live feed did was bring more people to town. They just want to be here for the rodeo. Some people even give their tickets away for one or two nights, just to go to the viewing parties. They’re a lot of fun.”

Downtown action

Fremont Street is fully engaged in the Wrangler NFR, too, particularly with nightly viewing parties at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. An enclosed facility takes over the huge lot, just caddy-corner to the rear of the D Las Vegas. The room is split in two, with a 25-foot big screen and a bar on each side and monitors around the perimeter, as well.

“We thought, ‘How can you be different?’” said Jeff Victor, vice president of operations for the events center, the D and the Golden Gate. “We’re doing it as a sports-centric event. The NFR is a great sport, and we cater to it. We approach it differently. It’s not in a ballroom. Customers appreciate that difference. People come back each year, bring their friends, and we expect to see them again this year.”

Event center doors open at 5:30 p.m. each night of the Wrangler NFR, allowing ample time to take advantage of food and beverage specials and take in the pre-event live entertainment.

Finally, it’s impossible to overlook the Strip, where many properties get in on the rodeo act. Even The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas embraces joining everyone else as Vegas transforms into Cowboy Town. Bill McBeath, president and CEO of The Cosmopolitan, said his property livestreams the Wrangler NFR each night at the sports book and hosts its Boots on the Boulevard concert series, featuring high-profile country artists.

“It’s difficult to make The Cosmopolitan and its design aesthetic feel Western, but we believe it has broad appeal across all demographics for people that appreciate great space, great design, great food and beverage and exceptional service,” McBeath said. “We have layered in some of the hottest country-western acts performing throughout the 10 days of rodeo, and based on our ticket sales, the consumer has responded tremendously.”

MGM Resorts hotels aren’t to be outdone, either. Perhaps most interestingly, the sports book at The Mirage clears out all its seating over the entire 10 days, making way for a nightly viewing party. The sports book even converts the elevated VIP area into a stage for post-rodeo concerts, and there’s a huge dance floor on which to scoot your boots.

Urban cowboys at Gilley’s

At the MGM Grand, Scott Sibella has ramped up the Wrangler NFR After Dark offerings in his role as president and COO. The hotel’s nightly viewing party has now moved into the David Copperfield Theater, where fans can catch the action live on big screens and enter to win rodeo tickets and other prizes from Wrangler and MGM.

When competition ends, the party really begins. From 8 p.m.-2 a.m. nightly, the Gold Buckle Zone — near the sports book at The Central at MGM Grand — becomes a party zone, featuring free concerts. Rodeo fans can dance, grab a drink and perhaps even see some of the Wrangler NFR cowboys and cowgirls enjoying the Gold Buckle Zone.

“With our relationships with the cowboys, the fans come out on top,” Sibella said.

And if you’re talking rodeo and the Wild West, you can’t leave out Gilley’s Saloon and Dance Hall at Treasure Island. Gilley’s hosts a Wrangler NFR viewing party every night and will overflow with live entertainment throughout the 10-day rodeo.

“Gilley’s is the best spot on the strip to celebrate the NFR, and we always see fantastic turnout from cowboy hat-clad rodeo fans looking for food, drinks, music and an overall good time,” general manager Jerry Marlow said. “We have something going on every single night during NFR week, and we hope more folks come out to see amazing performers like Reckless Kelly on Monday and Dale Watson on Tuesday.”

So even if you can’t get a ticket to the rodeo, you can take in the action all over town, often with free admission. Whatever your taste in hotel-casinos or viewing parties, you’re sure to find something suitable in what’s become big business for Vegas — catering to the rodeo crowd.

“I’m not impressed by much, but over the last 20-plus years that I’ve been involved in the National Finals Rodeo, I have watched it continue to grow and grow, outside the capacity of Thomas & Mack Center,” McBeath said. “The only way for it to continue with its expansion was to create the mecca for Western cultural events and programming within the city and beyond the Thomas & Mack Center.”

Mission accomplished. Indeed, when the sun goes down, the day is just beginning during the Wrangler NFR.

Atlanta vs Portland

How to Watch MLS Cup 2018 Online Without Cable

The game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Fox. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still watch a live stream of the game (or DVR it) on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:

Free Sing Up To Watch LiveStream Free

Fox (live in most markets) is included in FuboTV’s main package, which includes 75-plus total channels and is largely tailored towards sports fans. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.

If you can’t watch live, FuboTV comes with 30 hours of Cloud DVR (with the ability to upgrade to 500 hours), as well as a handy “72-Hour Lookback” feature, which will allow you to watch the game on-demand up to three days after it airs even if you forgot to record it.

Atlanta vs Portland Live Free

In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels, including Fox (live in most markets). You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.

If you can’t watch live, “Hulu with Live TV” also comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).

Sling TV

Fox (live in select markets) is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.

If you can’t watch live, you can get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage as an additional add-on.

Fox Sports Go

Additionally, you can watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Fox Sports Go website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Fox Sports Go app. You’ll need to log in to a cable provider to watch this way, but if you don’t have that, you can still sign up for one of the above options and then use your FuboTV, Hulu or Sling TV credentials to sign in and watch on the Fox digital platforms.

Atlanta United come in as heavy favorites. They finished the regular season with the second-most points in the MLS, and upended the New York Red Bulls, who won the Supporters’ Shield with the league’s best record, 3-1 on aggregate in the two-legged Eastern Conference championship.

“Unfortunately it’s kind of double-edged,” United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said of playing the biggest match in the franchise’s history at home, according to ESPN. “There’s so many positives, but you’ve got all the people kind of coming at you from every angle, which is a different thing. When you fly into Dallas, and you’ve got a game, it’s easy to say, ‘Don’t bother me.’ Here it’s a bit different. But once you step out on the field, I think we’re going to be thankful to be at home.”

It will be the last match on Atlanta’s sideline for manager Tata Martino, who’ll vacate his post to coach Mexico’s men’s national team.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan insisted Martino’s departure won’t affect United players, however.

“There’s urgency because when you’re in a Cup final, you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to be in another one,” Guzan said, according to ESPN. “You could be 20 years old, you could be 34 years old, you don’t know when the next time an opportunity like this will come along. Regardless of Tata’s situation, players’ situations, that’s got nothing to do with it. … I don’t think it’s a sense of anxiousness. I think for the most part … we’ve gone about our business this week in a pretty normal way.”

Portland finished the season fifth in the Western Conference, but advanced to the final by beating the conference’s top two teams. They edged the Seattle Sounders (59 regular season points) on away goals in the two-legged Conference Semifinals, then bested Sporting Kansas City (62 points) 3-2 on aggregate.

“It’s all talk,” Timbers defender Zarek Valentin said of being considered the underdog, per ESPN. “That’s all it comes down to. ‘Oh, [Atlanta] is at 77 percent,’ and everybody is picking them. It’s cool. Let everybody pick them. That’s no problem. We just need to focus on what we can control. That sounds super corny and I hate saying it — and for you guys, it’s nothing juicy — but as long as we control the things that we do, we’ve shown that we’re a hard team to beat and we’ve gone into some very hard places to play and gotten results.”

Portland midfielder Diego Valeri told Goal the game’s opening moments will be crucial.

“It’s very important to set the tone early and manage the time of the game,” Valeri said. “The game has different moments, and in order for us to be calm, and not feel that tension from outside, we have to be focused on every single ball and be precise and effective to win the ball.”

MLS Cup final 2018

How to Watch MLS Cup 2018 Online Without Cable

The game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Fox. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still watch a live stream of the game (or DVR it) on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:

Free Sing UP To Watch LiveStream

Fox (live in most markets) is included in FuboTV’s main package, which includes 75-plus total channels and is largely tailored towards sports fans. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.

If you can’t watch live, FuboTV comes with 30 hours of Cloud DVR (with the ability to upgrade to 500 hours), as well as a handy “72-Hour Lookback” feature, which will allow you to watch the game on-demand up to three days after it airs even if you forgot to record it.

MLS Cup final 2018 Live Free

In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels, including Fox (live in most markets). You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.

If you can’t watch live, “Hulu with Live TV” also comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).

Sling TV

Fox (live in select markets) is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.

If you can’t watch live, you can get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage as an additional add-on.

Fox Sports Go

Additionally, you can watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Fox Sports Go website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Fox Sports Go app. You’ll need to log in to a cable provider to watch this way, but if you don’t have that, you can still sign up for one of the above options and then use your FuboTV, Hulu or Sling TV credentials to sign in and watch on the Fox digital platforms.

Atlanta United come in as heavy favorites. They finished the regular season with the second-most points in the MLS, and upended the New York Red Bulls, who won the Supporters’ Shield with the league’s best record, 3-1 on aggregate in the two-legged Eastern Conference championship.

“Unfortunately it’s kind of double-edged,” United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said of playing the biggest match in the franchise’s history at home, according to ESPN. “There’s so many positives, but you’ve got all the people kind of coming at you from every angle, which is a different thing. When you fly into Dallas, and you’ve got a game, it’s easy to say, ‘Don’t bother me.’ Here it’s a bit different. But once you step out on the field, I think we’re going to be thankful to be at home.”

It will be the last match on Atlanta’s sideline for manager Tata Martino, who’ll vacate his post to coach Mexico’s men’s national team.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan insisted Martino’s departure won’t affect United players, however.

“There’s urgency because when you’re in a Cup final, you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to be in another one,” Guzan said, according to ESPN. “You could be 20 years old, you could be 34 years old, you don’t know when the next time an opportunity like this will come along. Regardless of Tata’s situation, players’ situations, that’s got nothing to do with it. … I don’t think it’s a sense of anxiousness. I think for the most part … we’ve gone about our business this week in a pretty normal way.”

Portland finished the season fifth in the Western Conference, but advanced to the final by beating the conference’s top two teams. They edged the Seattle Sounders (59 regular season points) on away goals in the two-legged Conference Semifinals, then bested Sporting Kansas City (62 points) 3-2 on aggregate.

“It’s all talk,” Timbers defender Zarek Valentin said of being considered the underdog, per ESPN. “That’s all it comes down to. ‘Oh, [Atlanta] is at 77 percent,’ and everybody is picking them. It’s cool. Let everybody pick them. That’s no problem. We just need to focus on what we can control. That sounds super corny and I hate saying it — and for you guys, it’s nothing juicy — but as long as we control the things that we do, we’ve shown that we’re a hard team to beat and we’ve gone into some very hard places to play and gotten results.”

Portland midfielder Diego Valeri told Goal the game’s opening moments will be crucial.

“It’s very important to set the tone early and manage the time of the game,” Valeri said. “The game has different moments, and in order for us to be calm, and not feel that tension from outside, we have to be focused on every single ball and be precise and effective to win the ball.”

Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega

UFC 231 card: Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega full fight preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight elites Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will collide this Saturday (Dec. 8, 2018) at UFC 231 inside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Oh man, this is such a great fight, so let’s everyone cross their fingers that nothing terrible happens between now and showtime. Holloway is undefeated since 2013. To be more accurate, the Hawaiian has barely struggled since that time, winning 12 straight bouts, a majority of them finishes. Against the best in the world, Holloway has appeared a tier above and largely unfazed by their attempts to halt his rise. Ortega, meanwhile, is one of the most dynamic young fighters in the world, but his climb to the strap has been different. “T-City” routinely loses rounds and is forced to rally late in the fight, but his ridiculous penchant for sudden finishes more than makes up for his early struggles.

Free sing Up To Watch LiveStream

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Record: 19-3
Key Wins: Jose Aldo (UFC 218, UFC 212), Anthony Pettis (UFC 206), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 199), Cub Swanson (UFC on FOX 15), Jeremy Stephens (UFC 194)
Key Losses: Conor McGregor (UFC Fight Night 26), Dennis Bermudez (UFC 160)
Keys to Victory: Holloway is a man who overwhelms opponents with stellar kickboxing technique and a nonstop pace. Holloway is great from both stances, strikes from range well, can fight moving backward, and just generally never allows his opponent to find their own rhythm.

Part of what makes this fight so interesting is that the two men involved are rather similar. It’s true that Holloway does not possess Ortega’s deadly jiu-jitsu — who else does? — but the 27 year old athletes otherwise share strategies. Both are some of the division’s biggest fighters, and they both use constant offense to break down opponents en route to the finish.

As such, my strategy for both men may be more similar than expected.

In Holloway’s case, I’d really love to see him commit to breaking down Ortega’s legs. Body shots are great too, but Ortega strikes like a boxer, and the best way to bother a boxer is the kick the hell out of his legs. In the past, Ortega has ignored low kicks and still managed to overwhelm foes, but Holloway can match his size better than most. The Hawaiian’s low kicks should do damage, and he’ll have 25 minutes to enjoy the effects.

Record: 14-0 (1)
Key Wins: Frankie Edgar (UFC 222), Cub Swanson (UFC Fight Night 123), Renato Moicano (UFC 214), Clay Guida (UFC 199), Thiago Tavares (UFC Fight Night 68)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Ortega is perhaps the sport’s sharpest opportunist. A powerful boxer with some of the nastiest jiu-jitsu around, Ortega’s entire style revolves around forcing his opponent to make a mistake and ruthlessly capitalizing. “T-City” has finished all six of his UFC victories.

While Holloway’s advice was to target the legs, Ortega should be punching to the body from the beginning. This is a pair of tough bastards who have never been knocked out: they should both be trying to break the other down rather than head hunt.

Ortega is not all that great at traditional takedowns, not great enough to double leg Holloway at any rate. However, this is where Ortega’s opportunism comes into play. He doesn’t have to score a takedown if he catches Holloway’s neck as he ducks out from the clinch or jumps on Holloway following a slip. Similarly, trying to catch a kick and throwing Holloway to his back could be a path to victory for the Californian athlete.

Two of the best Featherweights ever are going to throw down in an incredible title fight before they move to 155 pounds in the next couple years.

Holloway is an incredible champion. Frankly, I think he already has an argument as the most technically sound fighter on the roster. This will technically be just his second title defense, but Holloway has already cleared out a large portion of the division’s old guard. From here on out, it’s largely Holloway’s own generation of fighters — of which Ortega appears the most dangerous — and future prospects for the Hawaiian to contend with if he can remain healthy.

Turning Ortega away is a clear signal that the “Blessed Era” is here to stay, whether at 145- or 155-pounds.

Alternatively, Ortega seems to rise to the challenge each and every time. His last two opponents were the toughest of his career by far, and he finished them quicker than all the others. If he continues this trend and stops Holloway in the first half of the fight, it really says incredible things both about Ortega’s current skill set and his future potential.

For either man, there’s definite potential for a rematch in the near future after just one or two wins. In addition, both have spoken about moving to Lightweight, another option for these young greats.

At UFC 231, Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will compete for the Featherweight crown. Which man will leave with the strap?

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 231 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

Ortega vs Holloway

UFC 231 card: Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega full fight preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight elites Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will collide this Saturday (Dec. 8, 2018) at UFC 231 inside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Oh man, this is such a great fight, so let’s everyone cross their fingers that nothing terrible happens between now and showtime. Holloway is undefeated since 2013. To be more accurate, the Hawaiian has barely struggled since that time, winning 12 straight bouts, a majority of them finishes. Against the best in the world, Holloway has appeared a tier above and largely unfazed by their attempts to halt his rise. Ortega, meanwhile, is one of the most dynamic young fighters in the world, but his climb to the strap has been different. “T-City” routinely loses rounds and is forced to rally late in the fight, but his ridiculous penchant for sudden finishes more than makes up for his early struggles.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Record: 19-3
Key Wins: Jose Aldo (UFC 218, UFC 212), Anthony Pettis (UFC 206), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 199), Cub Swanson (UFC on FOX 15), Jeremy Stephens (UFC 194)
Key Losses: Conor McGregor (UFC Fight Night 26), Dennis Bermudez (UFC 160)
Keys to Victory: Holloway is a man who overwhelms opponents with stellar kickboxing technique and a nonstop pace. Holloway is great from both stances, strikes from range well, can fight moving backward, and just generally never allows his opponent to find their own rhythm.

Part of what makes this fight so interesting is that the two men involved are rather similar. It’s true that Holloway does not possess Ortega’s deadly jiu-jitsu — who else does? — but the 27 year old athletes otherwise share strategies. Both are some of the division’s biggest fighters, and they both use constant offense to break down opponents en route to the finish.

As such, my strategy for both men may be more similar than expected.

In Holloway’s case, I’d really love to see him commit to breaking down Ortega’s legs. Body shots are great too, but Ortega strikes like a boxer, and the best way to bother a boxer is the kick the hell out of his legs. In the past, Ortega has ignored low kicks and still managed to overwhelm foes, but Holloway can match his size better than most. The Hawaiian’s low kicks should do damage, and he’ll have 25 minutes to enjoy the effects.

Record: 14-0 (1)
Key Wins: Frankie Edgar (UFC 222), Cub Swanson (UFC Fight Night 123), Renato Moicano (UFC 214), Clay Guida (UFC 199), Thiago Tavares (UFC Fight Night 68)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Ortega is perhaps the sport’s sharpest opportunist. A powerful boxer with some of the nastiest jiu-jitsu around, Ortega’s entire style revolves around forcing his opponent to make a mistake and ruthlessly capitalizing. “T-City” has finished all six of his UFC victories.

While Holloway’s advice was to target the legs, Ortega should be punching to the body from the beginning. This is a pair of tough bastards who have never been knocked out: they should both be trying to break the other down rather than head hunt.

Ortega is not all that great at traditional takedowns, not great enough to double leg Holloway at any rate. However, this is where Ortega’s opportunism comes into play. He doesn’t have to score a takedown if he catches Holloway’s neck as he ducks out from the clinch or jumps on Holloway following a slip. Similarly, trying to catch a kick and throwing Holloway to his back could be a path to victory for the Californian athlete.

Two of the best Featherweights ever are going to throw down in an incredible title fight before they move to 155 pounds in the next couple years.

Holloway is an incredible champion. Frankly, I think he already has an argument as the most technically sound fighter on the roster. This will technically be just his second title defense, but Holloway has already cleared out a large portion of the division’s old guard. From here on out, it’s largely Holloway’s own generation of fighters — of which Ortega appears the most dangerous — and future prospects for the Hawaiian to contend with if he can remain healthy.

Turning Ortega away is a clear signal that the “Blessed Era” is here to stay, whether at 145- or 155-pounds.

Alternatively, Ortega seems to rise to the challenge each and every time. His last two opponents were the toughest of his career by far, and he finished them quicker than all the others. If he continues this trend and stops Holloway in the first half of the fight, it really says incredible things both about Ortega’s current skill set and his future potential.

For either man, there’s definite potential for a rematch in the near future after just one or two wins. In addition, both have spoken about moving to Lightweight, another option for these young greats.

At UFC 231, Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will compete for the Featherweight crown. Which man will leave with the strap?

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 231 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

Holloway vs Ortega

UFC 231 card: Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega full fight preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight elites Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will collide this Saturday (Dec. 8, 2018) at UFC 231 inside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Oh man, this is such a great fight, so let’s everyone cross their fingers that nothing terrible happens between now and showtime. Holloway is undefeated since 2013. To be more accurate, the Hawaiian has barely struggled since that time, winning 12 straight bouts, a majority of them finishes. Against the best in the world, Holloway has appeared a tier above and largely unfazed by their attempts to halt his rise. Ortega, meanwhile, is one of the most dynamic young fighters in the world, but his climb to the strap has been different. “T-City” routinely loses rounds and is forced to rally late in the fight, but his ridiculous penchant for sudden finishes more than makes up for his early struggles.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Record: 19-3
Key Wins: Jose Aldo (UFC 218, UFC 212), Anthony Pettis (UFC 206), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 199), Cub Swanson (UFC on FOX 15), Jeremy Stephens (UFC 194)
Key Losses: Conor McGregor (UFC Fight Night 26), Dennis Bermudez (UFC 160)
Keys to Victory: Holloway is a man who overwhelms opponents with stellar kickboxing technique and a nonstop pace. Holloway is great from both stances, strikes from range well, can fight moving backward, and just generally never allows his opponent to find their own rhythm.

Part of what makes this fight so interesting is that the two men involved are rather similar. It’s true that Holloway does not possess Ortega’s deadly jiu-jitsu — who else does? — but the 27 year old athletes otherwise share strategies. Both are some of the division’s biggest fighters, and they both use constant offense to break down opponents en route to the finish.

As such, my strategy for both men may be more similar than expected.

In Holloway’s case, I’d really love to see him commit to breaking down Ortega’s legs. Body shots are great too, but Ortega strikes like a boxer, and the best way to bother a boxer is the kick the hell out of his legs. In the past, Ortega has ignored low kicks and still managed to overwhelm foes, but Holloway can match his size better than most. The Hawaiian’s low kicks should do damage, and he’ll have 25 minutes to enjoy the effects.

Record: 14-0 (1)
Key Wins: Frankie Edgar (UFC 222), Cub Swanson (UFC Fight Night 123), Renato Moicano (UFC 214), Clay Guida (UFC 199), Thiago Tavares (UFC Fight Night 68)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Ortega is perhaps the sport’s sharpest opportunist. A powerful boxer with some of the nastiest jiu-jitsu around, Ortega’s entire style revolves around forcing his opponent to make a mistake and ruthlessly capitalizing. “T-City” has finished all six of his UFC victories.

While Holloway’s advice was to target the legs, Ortega should be punching to the body from the beginning. This is a pair of tough bastards who have never been knocked out: they should both be trying to break the other down rather than head hunt.

Ortega is not all that great at traditional takedowns, not great enough to double leg Holloway at any rate. However, this is where Ortega’s opportunism comes into play. He doesn’t have to score a takedown if he catches Holloway’s neck as he ducks out from the clinch or jumps on Holloway following a slip. Similarly, trying to catch a kick and throwing Holloway to his back could be a path to victory for the Californian athlete.

Two of the best Featherweights ever are going to throw down in an incredible title fight before they move to 155 pounds in the next couple years.

Holloway is an incredible champion. Frankly, I think he already has an argument as the most technically sound fighter on the roster. This will technically be just his second title defense, but Holloway has already cleared out a large portion of the division’s old guard. From here on out, it’s largely Holloway’s own generation of fighters — of which Ortega appears the most dangerous — and future prospects for the Hawaiian to contend with if he can remain healthy.

Turning Ortega away is a clear signal that the “Blessed Era” is here to stay, whether at 145- or 155-pounds.

Alternatively, Ortega seems to rise to the challenge each and every time. His last two opponents were the toughest of his career by far, and he finished them quicker than all the others. If he continues this trend and stops Holloway in the first half of the fight, it really says incredible things both about Ortega’s current skill set and his future potential.

For either man, there’s definite potential for a rematch in the near future after just one or two wins. In addition, both have spoken about moving to Lightweight, another option for these young greats.

At UFC 231, Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will compete for the Featherweight crown. Which man will leave with the strap?

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 231 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

Army vs Navy

Army vs. Navy odds, line: 2018 college football picks and top predictions from model on 45-25 run

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Army vs. Navy is one of the most-anticipated matchups in all of sports. College football fans from around the country will be glued into the Army-Navy game on Saturday, which is now in its 119th year. Last year, Army won 14-13 in a torrential snowstorm on a go-ahead touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw for its second straight win in the series. Prior to that, Navy had won 14 in a row. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and the No. 22 Black Knights are 7.5-point favorites. The Over-Under for total projected points is 40 in the latest Army vs. Navy odds. With another chapter in a storied rivalry set to unfold, you’ll want to see the latest 2018 Army-Navy game picks and predictions from SportsLine’s advanced computer model.

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The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times, and those who have followed it have seen massive returns. Over the past three years, this proprietary computer model has generated a jaw-dropping $4,210 profit for $100 bettors on its top-rated point-spread picks.

The model made some huge calls during Championship Week, including nailing Ohio State (-16.5) against Northwestern and Oklahoma (-9.5) against Texas. And when it comes to all top-rated picks, the model has been red-hot, entering the 2018 college football bowl season on a blistering 45-25 run. Anybody who has followed it is way, way up.

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The model has simulated every possible play for Army vs. Navy (stream live on fuboTV) 10,000 times. We can tell you it is leaning toward the over, but it has also locked in a strong against the spread pick that you can bank on nearly 60 percent of the time. You can only see it at SportsLine.

The model has factored in that Army has been able to dominate their opponents with long, methodical drives this season.

The strength of Army’s offense is their option attack, which has allowed the Black Knights to extend drives. In fact, Army is averaging 7.48 plays per possession, well over a play more than any other team in the country. The average Army drive lasts over four minutes when no other school in the nation averages longer than three.

Navy boasts a similar offense, but the Midshipmen average 5.59 plays per possession and 2:49 per drive. Moreover, Army is 6-3 against the spread versus FBS teams this season and 4-1 ATS away from home.

But just because Army can move the ball doesn’t mean it can cover almost a touchdown spread.

Even though Army will retain the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in a tie, the Black Knights have never won it in back-to-back years (Air Force won the trophy in 2016). As if this game needed any extra incentive, that should help make sure Navy is sharp.

Despite their lack of victories this season, the Midshipmen are still averaging 289 yards rushing per game and have found an explosive playmaker in Zach Abey. He’s accounted for six total touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving and one passing) in the last three weeks.

Navy has covered the spread in three straight games against Tulane, Tulsa, and Central Florida. They’re 4-3 against the spread as underdogs.

So, which side of the Army vs. Navy spread hits in nearly 60 percent of simulations?Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to be all over, all from the incredible computer model that’s up more than $4,200 over the past three years, and find out.

UFC 231

UFC 231 predictions — Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega: Fight card, expert picks, odds, lines

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Max Holloway and Brian Ortega could very well be two of the pound-for-pound best mixed martial artists in the world today. So when the two (hopefully) step inside the Octagon on Saturday night at UFC 231 in Toronto, some major questions will be answered.

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Holloway has been scheduled to fight three times so far in 2018, but for multiple reasons, is still yet to enter the Octagon. Holloway stepped in on a week’s notice to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in April when a freak injury forced Tony Ferguson out of action. But while attempting to cut weight, the New York State Athletic Commission stepped in and told him it would be unhealthy to continue his cut.

Can’t get enough UFC? Subscribe to my podcast In This Corner with Brian Campbell where we break down everything you need to know in the Octagon.

Then, Holloway was scheduled to take on Ortega at UFC 226 in the co-main event for the featherweight title. But after an interview with Michael Bisping where Holloway was noticeably slurring his words, UFC made the call to pull him with what was described at the time as concussion-like symptoms.

Now, just five months later, the two are expected to settle this in Canada, but questions still remain about Holloway’s health. Meanwhile, UFC will have its first two women’s flyweight title bout when Valentina Shevchenko takes on former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event.

Here’s a look at the full card from Toronto with the latest odds from Westgate.

UFC 231 odds

FAVORITE UNDERDOG WEIGHTCLASS
Brian Ortega -115 Max Holloway (c) -105 Featherweight title
Valentina Shevchenko -330 Joanna Jedrzejczyk +260 Women’s flyweight title
Thiago Santos -200 Jimi Manuwa +170 Light heavyweight
Gunnar Nelson -120 Alex Oliveira -100 Welterweight
Hakeem Dawodu -180 Kyle Bochniak +150 Featherweight
Claudia Gadelha -330 Nina Ansaroff +260 Women’s strawweight
Katlyn Chookagian -200 Jessica Eye +170 Women’s flyweight
Eryk Anders -125 Elias Theodorou -100 Middleweight
Olivier Aubin-Mercier -135 Gilbert Burns +115 Lightweight
Aleksandar Rakic -600 Devin Clark +425 Light heavyweight
Brad Katona -170 Matthew Lopez +145 Bantamweight
Chad Laprise -400 Dheigo Lima +300 Welterweight
Diego Ferreira -340 Jesse Ronson +280 Lightweight

With a big card on tap, our experts took a crack at picking each of the main card fights. Here are your pick makers: Brian Campbell (combat sports writer), Matthew Coca (producer), Michael Mormile (producer), Jack Jorgensen (editor) and Brandon Wise (editor).

UFC 231 predictions

FIGHT CAMPBELL MORMILE COCA JORGENSEN WISE
Holloway (c) vs. Ortega Ortega Ortega Holloway Ortega Holloway
Shevchenko vs. Jerdzejczyk Shevchenko Shevchenko Shevchenko Shevchenko Shevchenko
Manuwa vs. Santos Manuwa Santos Manuwa Manuwa Manuwa
Oliveira vs. Nelson Oliveira Nelson Nelson Nelson Oliveira
Dawodu vs. Bochniak Bochniak Dawodu Dawodu Dawodu Bochniak
Overall (2018) 31-28-0 33-26-0 31-28-0 29-30-0 35-24-0

Campbell on why Ortega will win: If all things were equal, Holloway-Ortega is the kind of fight between two pound-for-pound rated fighters in their absolute primes that likely would threaten for instant classic or fight-of-the-year contention. All things likely aren’t equal, however; not after the kind of difficult year both physically and mentally that Holloway has had. From twice being forced to pull out of fights to a severe battle with depression and a medical diagnosis that was inconclusive at best, it’s hard to imagine Holloway will be 100 percent on Saturday. If he’s not, Ortega is just too dangerous as a finisher and on too red-hot of a roll to slow down. For as great as Holloway is, we feel like we already know his ceiling. The same can’t exactly be said for Ortega and that’s a scary proposition.

Wise on why Holloway will win: I went back and forth on this pick four times over. In the end, if Holloway makes it into the Octagon on Saturday night, it’s tough to pick against him and his incredible run. Holloway’s speed and strike avoidance has been a huge key to success for the featherweight champion and he will need it again on Saturday to prevent Ortega from getting this fight to the ground. This ends in a controversial decision that delivers a tremendous rematch build in 2019.

Jorgensen on why Shevchenko will win: Ultimately, as much as some may not want to hear this, I believe the crowning of a new women’s flyweight champion on Saturday night will fall into the hands of the judges after five rounds. We know the damage Joanna is capable of when she begins to push forward, although that can sometimes work to her detriment. As much as I’ve been a noted fan of the former strawweight champion, it will work against her again with the flyweight title on the line. Shevchenko will be able to keep Jedrzejczyk at bay when she does attempt to lunge forward with strikes, and will utilize her counter-striking to earn enough points with the judges to capture the gold that’s eluded her during her UFC run. Bullet via unanimous decision.