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    Canelo K.O.s Plant, UFC 268 Live Updates: Rose Namajunas Retains Belt – The New York Times

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:48 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:48 a.m. ET

    U.F.C. 268

    ImageZhang Weili grapples on top of Rose Namajunas during their bout.
    Credit…Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

    Rose Namajunas defended her strawweight championship against Zhang Weili via split decision in a competitive fight, a rematch of their last fight that ended in a knockout.

    Namajunas ended the last round on top after securing a clean takedown, which could have been the difference. Both women showed their moments — Namajunas was the more effective striker while Zhang grappled and landed takedowns throughout. Namajunas did control the octagon and set the pace better while landing counterpunches.

    The crowd leaned heavily toward Namajunas, an American, and booed Zhang, of China. Almost everyone seemed engaged, except the U.F.C. president, Dana White, who was spotted cageside watching Saúl Álvarez’s boxing match on a laptop.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:37 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:37 a.m. ET

    reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Round 5: It’s anyone’s guess.

    Oskar Garcia

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:39 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:39 a.m. ET

    Reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Namajunas picks up the decision and it’s quite understandable — that’s no knock to Zhang, who fought very, very well. There were some close rounds but Namajunas was too good a counterpuncher and dictated the fight more often.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:33 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:33 a.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    Even U.F.C. president Dana White, octagon-side in New York for Namajunas-Weili, was watching Canelo Álvarez knock out Caleb Plant.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:31 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:31 a.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    In Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” a character says he went bankrupt “gradually, then suddenly.” That is also how Caleb Plant lost this fight.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:30 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:30 a.m. ET

    reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Round 4: Namajunas defended a rear naked choke well and ended the round on top. Zhang may need to get a finish to conclusively win this fight. Otherwise, the judges may lean toward keeping Namajunas as the champ since it’s so close.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:30 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:30 a.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 11: A left hook and a pair of rights send Plant to the canvas. He rises, clears his head … and Álvarez pounces. A series of heavy blows sends Plant down face-first. Fight over. Álvarez promised a knockout, and he delivered.

    Credit…Steve Marcus/Associated Press
    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:27 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:27 a.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 10: Álvarez still stalking and hammering Plant, who has finally figured out he won’t win this fight moving and jabbing. The upshot? Some entertaining midring exchanges. Álvarez is still winning. Big.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:25 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:25 a.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    Showtime’s unofficial scorer has the fight 88-83 Canelo, with Canelo having won the last six rounds. That seems about right.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:23 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:23 a.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 9: Plant lands a right hand and a combination late, and raises his arms at the bell. For him tonight, winning part of a round counts as a win. Heavier blows are still coming from Álvarez.

    Credit…Al Bello/Getty Images
    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:23 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:23 a.m. ET

    reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Round 3: Interested to see how the judges view this. Namajunas is controlling the octagon better, landing clean strikes and countering, but Zhang took her down toward the end of the round and did some decent ground-and-pound work.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:22 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:22 a.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    Plant isn’t winning this fight, but he is at least more competitive than Canelo’s last couple of opponents.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:19 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:19 a.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 8: Plant landed a left hook to the body — his best punch of the fight. He won that moment, and Álvarez won the rest of the round. He landed right hands over the top and left hooks to the forehead, and Plant has few answers.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:17 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:17 a.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    Canelo looks like a big jungle cat, warily but confidently stalking his prey.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:17 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:17 a.m. ET

    reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Round 2: Both women got takedowns, and Namajunas wobbled Zhang with some good strikes. It’s competitive, but Namajunas probably won that round.

    Credit…Corey Sipkin/Associated Press
    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:15 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:15 a.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 7: Here’s Plant’s other problem: He tends to fade late in fights, and we’re in the second half of a fight he’s losing. He needs a momentum-changer. Badly.

    Credit…Al Bello/Getty Images
    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:11 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:11 a.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 6: Plant tried the Mayweather shell and shoulder roll. Álvarez has seen that before, from the master. He posts Plant with his left hand and lands the right. Lands a left hook, too. This is turning into a boxing lesson.

    Credit…Caroline Brehman/EPA, via Shutterstock
    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:10 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:10 a.m. ET

    reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Round 1: Pretty competitive to start things out between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili. Namajunas was more aggressive and also showed solid striking. Zhang did secure a takedown, though.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:08 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:08 a.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    This is it. This is what we wanted. Álvarez and Plant have entered the sixth round as Namajunas and Weili have begun their fight. Try not to get whiplash watching both.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:08 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:08 a.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 5: Álvarez landed a low blow, and several legal ones. Plant is likely falling behind on the scorecards, and he needs to land something heavy to get Álvarez’s respect and attention.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:04 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:04 a.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 4: Plant’s plan: outbox Álvarez the way Floyd Mayweather did in 2013. Plant’s problem: He’s not Mayweather, and Álvarez has improved since then. A big left hook from Álvarez sent sweat flying from Plant’s head. Álvarez is slowly taking over.

    Credit…Al Bello/Getty Images
    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:02 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:02 a.m. ET

    reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    The fact that Namajunas entered the octagon with gospel music before attempting to knock someone else unconscious or inflict enough pain to cause her to tap out is hilarious.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:01 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:01 a.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    First big reaction from the crowd of the fight, as Canelo pins Plant on the ropes and lands a few punches.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:00 a.m. ET

    Nov. 7, 2021, 12:00 a.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 3: They’re fighting at Álvarez’s rhythm now, which is bad news for Plant. When Plant circles, Álvarez cuts him off. He needs room, and Álvarez is shrinking the ring.

    Credit…Steve Marcus/Associated Press
    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:56 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:56 p.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 2: Plant still circling. Álvarez still stalking. They traded left hooks. Álvarez wins those exchanges. A left to the body and right to the head might have won this round for Álvarez.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:54 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:54 p.m. ET

    U.F.C. 268

    Credit…Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Amid all the trash talk and the anticipated matchup between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington, another fighter could have made a case to be in the cage tonight: Leon Edwards.

    Edwards and Usman first fought in 2015, and Usman won by decision. Edwards has not lost since, winning nine fights and participating in one fight that ended in a no contest. His most recent fight was a unique five-round, nontitle bout against fan-favorite Nate Diaz in June, which he won convincingly.

    Two of Usman’s five title defenses have been rematches against former foes, including tonight against Covington, whom he beat via technical knockout last year. He also beat Jorge Masvidal via decision and knockout. Some have said that Edwards, who fights Masvidal in December, is viewed as the most deserving of the next title shot instead of constantly cycling through the same opponents.

    Usman has said if he beats Covington, he wants to fight Saúl Álvarez in a crossover boxing match. The U.F.C. will likely do a trilogy fight with Covington if Usman loses tonight.

    When asked earlier this week, Usman said Edwards does not intrigue him and cited the result of their earlier fight. But if Edwards defeats Masvidal, it will be hard for both the U.F.C. and Usman to again deny Edwards a chance at the belt.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:51 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:51 p.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Round 1: Stark size difference between the two. Plant is taller and broader-shouldered. Álvarez is smaller, but spent the first round stalking while Plant tried to establish his jab.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:51 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:51 p.m. ET

    U.F.C. 268

    Credit…Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    It was hard to follow up the explosiveness of the Gaethje-Chandler showdown, but contenders in two divisions kept the octagon busy in preparation for the co-main and main events.

    Shane Burgos won via unanimous decision in a featherweight, beating Billy Quarantillo. The first round was relatively competitive, but Burgos found a groove and landed cleaner, more precise attacks in the later period, exerting visible damage on Quarantillo.

    Marlon Vera defeated Frankie Edgar in the third round of a bantamweight bout, thrusting his leg with a front kick to Edgar’s jaw that knocked him out. Vera was the more dominant fighter throughout, landing clean shots, being more aggressive and controlling the octagon. Edgar is a fan favorite, and that base was quite loud. Edgar, 40, first fought in the U.F.C. in 2007. It’s the third time he’s been finished in his last four fights.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:47 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:47 p.m. ET

    Credit…Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

    Kamaru Usman started his media tour this week with a clear plan: set the stage for a potential crossover megafight with Saúl Álvarez.

    Usman, the U.F.C. welterweight champion, sold his pitch in multiple interviews with different news outlets, claiming that a clash between the pound-for-pound best fighters in mixed martial arts and boxing would fuel fan desires to see the greatest competitions regardless of the discipline.

    Simply put, the event would be a waste of time. While Usman has embarked on a successful run as a U.F.C. champion and could eventually usurp Georges St-Pierre as the greatest welterweight in the promotion’s history, he lacks the mainstream stardom needed to compel the audience needed to justify the time and energy that would be needed to orchestrate the fight.

    Usman is an effective striker in mixed martial arts, but he would struggle in a pure boxing match. Just ask Conor McGregor, who boxed Floyd Mayweather under similar circumstances and failed miserably. His wallet succeeded, of course, as the fighter took home at least $30 million. But McGregor’s brash approach and marketability allowed for that enormous sum. Usman would not earn nearly as much.

    McGregor’s U.F.C. career rapidly deteriorated after that Mayweather bout, and he has won just one fight since. Jake Paul has successfully blurred the lines of combat sports, but his choice of relatively safe opponents — a retired basketball player and two mixed martial arts fighters past their primes — and a devoted fan base has allowed it to happen.

    Usman choosing to fight one of the best boxers of all time is not an apples-to-apples prospect. He is better suited continuing to to defend his title in the U.F.C., rather than venturing into a spectacle that on its face looks appealing, but most likely would not reap many rewards.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:43 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:43 p.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    We’re getting the unabridged reggae-rock remix of “El Rey.” It’s been 10 minutes since Plant began his ring walk, and the song just ended. Finally.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:40 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:40 p.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    Canelo is led into the ring by Fher Olvera, the lead singer of Mexican rock band Maná, who is singing “El Rey.” It sounds like every single member of the pro-Canelo crowd is singing along with Olvera.

    Credit…Steve Marcus/Associated Press
    Oskar Garcia

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:41 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:41 p.m. ET

    Reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    This scene shows just how big a rock star Canelo is — Maná is huge (and I’m sure at home my wife is stoked).

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:37 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:37 p.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    Caleb Plant walks out wearing all white with the rapper Conway the Machine, as audio clips of Muhammad Ali play.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:32 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:32 p.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Ear-splitting “Canelo” chants as we await the ring walks. And now a “Mexico” chant, in case you were wondering which fighter is the crowd favorite.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:29 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:29 p.m. ET

    Álvarez-Plant Undercard

    Credit…Steve Marcus/Associated Press

    It’s tough to tell which Anthony Dirrell feat was more impressive.

    Four rounds into his co-main event bout against Marcos Hernandez, Dirrell, a former super middleweight world champion, landed a bolo punch uppercut to Hernandez’s jaw. Dirrell, a 37-year-old from Flint, Mich., windmilled his right arm like a softball pitcher, and the impact of the punch snapped Hernandez’s head back before sending him to the canvas.

    Seconds after the referee waved the fight off, Dirrell celebrated with a midring backflip.

    And stuck the landing.

    Dirrell, who dressed in Michigan State Spartan green and white, improved his record to 34-2-2. Earlier this week, he said he hoped to face the winner of the main event in his next fight.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:24 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:24 p.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    Jimmy Lennon is in the ring, and so are the anthem singers. Ring walks are scheduled for 11:30 p.m. Eastern, and organizers don’t seem inclined to delay them.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:23 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:23 p.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    All of the boxing fights are done except for one. Now the question is how long the organizers will wait for more people to buy the pay-per-view before they have Caleb Plant and Canelo Álvarez walk out and fight.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:18 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:18 p.m. ET

    reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Still thinking about that Gaethje-Chandler fight.

    Credit…Corey Sipkin/Associated Press
    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:15 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:15 p.m. ET

    Álvarez-Plant

    Credit…Patrick T. Fallon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Caleb Plant is forthright about his tough upbringing. He, his sister and his father, Richie, lived in a mobile home in tiny Ashland City, Tenn. Plant has told reporters that the trailer grew frigid every winter and unbearably hot every summer, but also says the experience has made him nearly bulletproof as a boxer.

    “You can’t break a poor boy’s chin,” Plant has said repeatedly in the run-up to his bout against Álvarez.

    For his part, Álvarez is familiar with Plant’s mantra, and, in an October interview, dismissed it with a smirk and a wave of his hand.

    “He talks about where he’s from and what he’s been through so people feel sorry for him,” said Álvarez, who grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. “But we all come from the same side. I was poor, too, but I don’t talk about it so people will feel sorry for me.”

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:13 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:13 p.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    Anthony Dirrell lands a huge uppercut on Marcos Hernandez, dropping him to the mat. Hernandez gets up before the 10 count, but as he stumbles about the referee called an end to the proceedings. Dirrell backflips in celebration.

    Credit…Steve Marcus/Associated Press
    Oskar Garcia

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:20 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:20 p.m. ET

    Reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    That uppercut was indeed enormous.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:08 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:08 p.m. ET

    U.F.C. 268

    Credit…Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

    Whether the crowd at Madison Square Garden boos Zhang Weili or greets her warmly, she says she will be ready.

    Zhang became the first Chinese champion in U.F.C. history and is adored in her home country. But that was not the reception she got in the United States at U.F.C. 261 in April, when she fought Rose Namajunas, an American. In the lead-up to the fight, Namajunas compared it to a battle between democracy and Communism.

    The audience in Jacksonville, Fla., which was the first full-capacity crowd for the U.F.C. since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, booed her. She later said the jeering drained her focus and contributed to the result — a first-round knockout.

    Zhang soon began training with Henry Cejudo, an Olympic wrestler and a former two-division U.F.C. champion. One of the elements in her training regimen was preparing with simulated crowd noise to get accustomed to a hostile reception.

    “Every region has its distinct culture,” Zhang told ESPN through an interpreter. “I respect that. I wasn’t on my ‘A’ game during the last fight. I wasn’t focused enough. This time, I know I have no control of the audience. The only control I have is on myself. That’s it.”

    Oskar Garcia

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:07 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:07 p.m. ET

    Reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Mike Tyson says if a boxer says they don’t get nervous before a fight, they’re lying. And that he’ll have a chance to show that again with a bout in February. When asked if it’ll be an exhibition, Tyson said: “Yes, but they can be kind of brutal sometimes.”

    Credit…Al Bello/Getty Images
    Oskar Garcia

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:05 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 11:05 p.m. ET

    Reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Guessing when main events will happen can be pretty difficult, but based on the timing we’re seeing tonight I’d guess that Canelo Álvarez and Caleb Plant might be fighting around the same time as the U.F.C.’s strawweight title fight between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili, fairly close to midnight.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:55 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:55 p.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    As Kevin Garnett (who has a documentary coming out on Showtime) was being interviewed on the Álvarez-Plant telecast, Luka Doncic was burying the Boston Celtics with an off-balance buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Don’t worry, this live blog has you covered tonight.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:55 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:55 p.m. ET

    Álvarez-Plant Undercard

    Credit…Steve Marcus/Associated Press

    (Follow our live coverage of Canelo vs. Plant)

    The featherweights Rey Vargas and Leonardo Baez paced around the ring during prefight introductions decked out in identical Mexican flag serapes. For social media-savvy fight fans, the scene brought to mind the Spiderman-pointing-at-Spiderman meme.

    But if you couldn’t distinguish the fighters through dress, you could tell them apart by pedigree. Baez, from Mexicali, Mexico, entered at 21-4 and had never fought for a world title. Vargas had won all 34 of his pro fights and was a world champion at 122 pounds before moving up to featherweight.

    From there, the gap in class became clear. Baez, diligent but limited, tried to force the fight at close range. Vargas, a loose-limbed combination puncher, landed sharp shots from a distance, peppering Baez with long right hands to the body and head.

    Baez raised his hands and played to the crowd after the final bell, but the judges scored it 99-91, 100-90 and 100-90 for Vargas.

    The judges had it right.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:55 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:55 p.m. ET

    watching both boxing and U.F.C. on pay-per-view.

    That Michael Chandler even forced the judges into a decision should be considered a victory. There were at least three times when he should have been finished, and he got up each time.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:53 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:53 p.m. ET

    U.F.C. 268

    Credit…Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

    The tangible excitement before, during and after the fight lived up to the product inside the cage. Justin Gaethje defeated Michael Chandler via unanimous decision in a lightweight bout to start the main card of U.F.C. 268, essentially earning a title shot for his next fight.

    Gaethje will most likely clash with the winner of next month’s fight between the champion Charles Oliveira and the No. 1 contender Dustin Poirier.

    Gaethje sent Chandler to the ground in the second round with a punch to the face, and his aggression in that round could have been the deciding factor in a fast-paced, exciting bout. In the third round, Gaethje wobbled Chandler with a right hand, but he still marched forward like a zombie with blood around his nose, eyes and mouth.

    The two men showed sportsmanship in what was predicted to be a fight defined by high tempo and similar styles. Chandler also nearly finished Gaethje in the first round near the fence, but Gaethje recovered from those attacks. Afterward, as Gaethje and Chandler exited the cage, Chandler looked into the crowd and shouted, “Are you not entertained?”

    Everyone who watched that fight surely was.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:46 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:46 p.m. ET

    reporting from Álvarez-Plant in Las Vegas.

    ​​Leonardo Baez, diligent but limited, tried to force the fight at close range against Rey Vargas and the gap in class became clear. Vargas, a loose-limbed combination puncher, landed sharp shots from a distance, peppering Baez with long right hands to the body and head. The judges scored it 99-91, 100-90 and 100-90 for Vargas, and had it right.

    Oskar Garcia

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:44 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:44 p.m. ET

    Reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

    Justin Gaethje took a decision over Michael Chandler, and I’ll be very keen to look at the judge’s scorecards just because I wonder if Chandler trash-talked his way out of losing the last round. Gaethje for sure had a 10-8 round earlier, and Chandler didn’t adjust.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:21 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:21 p.m. ET

    Álvarez-Plant

    Credit…Al Bello/Getty Images

    Here’s are the full results from the Álvarez-Plant card:

    Main Card (9 p.m. E.T.)

    Canelo Álvarez defeats Caleb Plant via T.K.O. in the 11th round

    Anthony Dirrell defeats Marcos Hernandez via T.K.O. in the fourth round.

    Rey Vargas defeats Leonardo Baez via unanimous decision (10 rounds).

    Elvis Rodriguez defeats Juan Pablo Romero via K.O. in the fifth round.

    Prelims

    Joselito Velazquez defeats Gilberto Mendoza via unanimous decision (eight rounds).

    Fernando Diaz defeats Jan Salvatierra via K.O. in the fifth round.

    Jose Meza defeats Jose Gomez via unanimous decision (eight rounds).

    Rances Barthelemy defeats Gustavo David Vittori via T.K.O. in the second round.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:12 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 10:12 p.m. ET

    Credit…David Becker/Getty Images

    The super lightweights Elvis Rodriguez and Juan Pablo Romero fought at close range, each man confident his tools could do the job. Rodriguez, a southpaw from the Dominican Republic who now lives in Los Angeles, had faster hands. Romero, a 31-year-old from Villa Del Carbon, Mexico, threw heavier punches.

    Speed won out.

    In Round 4, a four-punch combination from Rodriguez dropped Romero, who entered Saturday undefeated. Near the end of the following round, Rodriguez cracked Romero with an overhand left to the face. Romero landed on his backside and managed to get to a knee, but couldn’t stand before the referee counted him out.

    Rodriguez, who improved his record to 12-1-1, had described this bout as a “new beginning.” Until this spring, he had been a fast-rising prospect in the Top Rank promotional stable. But in May, he suffered his first pro loss, and Top Rank dropped him from its roster. The following month, he signed with Premier Boxing Champions, and Saturday he scored an emphatic win.

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 6, 2021, 9:58 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 9:58 p.m. ET

    U.F.C. 268

    Credit…John Raoux/Associated Press

    This is essentially an audition for the next opponent for the U.FC.’s lightweight championship. With the 155-pound champion Charles Oliveira scheduled to fight Dustin Poirier in December, the winner of that fight will either face Michael Chandler or Justin Gaethje.

    Chandler first fought in the U.F.C. in 2020 after a successful run in Bellator M.M.A., considered the second-largest mixed martial arts promotion behind the U.F.C. He won his first fight but lost to Oliveira in the second round via technical knockout in a contest to fill the vacant lightweight title after the dominant champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retired.

    Before facing Nurmagomedov in October 2020, Gaethje had a four-fight win streak and won the interim lightweight title.

    Both Gaethje and Chandler feature a similar style as capable wrestlers and explosive strikers. This fight starts off the main card, so grab your beer and wings early and don’t blink. This likely won’t last long.

    Kevin Draper

    Nov. 6, 2021, 9:43 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 9:43 p.m. ET

    U.F.C. 268

    Credit…Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Here’s a look at the full U.F.C. 268 card:

    Main Card (10 p.m. ET)

    Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington

    Rose Namajunas defeats Zhang Weili via split decision

    Marlon Vera defeats Frankie Edgar via T.K.O. (front kick)

    Shane Burgos defeats Billy Quarantillo via unanimous decision

    Justin Gaethje defeats Michael Chandler via unanimous decision

    Prelims (8 p.m. ET)

    Alex Pereira defeats Andreas Michailidis via T.K.O. (flying knee)

    Bobby Green defeats Al Iaquinta via T.K.O. (punches)

    Chris Curtis defeats Phil Hawes via TKO (punches)

    Nassourdine Imamov defeats Edmen Shahbazyan via T.K.O. (elbows)

    Early Prelims (6 p.m. ET)

    Ian Garry defeats Jordan Williams via K.O. (punches)

    Chris Barnett defeats Gian Villante via T.K.O. (spinning wheel kick and punches)

    Dustin Jacoby defeats John Allan via unanimous decision

    Melsik Baghdasaryan defeats TJ Laramie via unanimous decision

    Ode Osbourne defeats CJ Vergara via unanimous decision

    Emmanuel Morgan

    Nov. 6, 2021, 9:28 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 9:28 p.m. ET

    U.F.C. 268 Prelims

    Credit…Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Now the leather gloves are flying.

    After the early prelims were filled with mostly boring fights, these next slates of bouts ended in finishes that earned loud crowd reactions here at Madison Square Garden.

    Bobby Green dispatched Al Iaquinta in the first round by technical knockout landing a clean punching combination near the fence that sent Iaquinta to the canvas. It was a sharp performance for the middleweight fighter Green, who took relatively little damage and looked calm throughout.

    In the bout immediately before that, Phil Hawes also looked calm against his opponent, Chris Curtis, in a lightweight fight. He threw precise attacks and aggressively stalked Curtis inside the octagon. But Curtis connected on a shot to the body that badly hurt Hawes. He collapsed to the middle of the cage, where Curtis finished him before the first round ended. It showed that any fighter can change the course of a brawl, even when he or she has been essentially outclassed earlier in the bout.

    Morgan Campbell

    Nov. 6, 2021, 9:22 p.m. ET

    Nov. 6, 2021, 9:22 p.m. ET

    Álvarez-Plant Prelims

    Credit…Patrick T. Fallon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    The preliminary card for the Canelo Álvarez-Caleb Plant fight unfolded in Las Vegas at a three-quarters-empty MGM Grand Garden Arena, which seats more than 17,000 people for boxing events.

    Eventually, the building will fill up. Organizers said that only 300 tickets remained unsold as of Saturday afternoon, and they expected a sellout by the time the main card started.

    The early undercard bouts weren’t televised or streamed online, so the few spectators in attendance were the only real-time witnesses to Rances Barthelemy’s two-round T.K.O. win over the Argentine journeyman Gustavo Vittori.

    Joselito Velazquez, who trains in San Diego with Álvarez, won his super flyweight bout with Gilberto Mendoza via unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 80-72.

    Jose Gomez of Huntington Park, Calif., entered his bout against Jose Meza as a heavy favorite among bettors, as well as among spectators, a few dozen of whom sported T-shirts emblazoned with Gomez’s nickname, El Gallo. But Meza, who is from Durango, Mexico, rebounded from a first-round knockdown to win a close unanimous decision.

    In the final preliminary fight, super flyweights Fernando Diaz of Riverside, Calif., and Jan Salvatierra of Los Cabos, Mexico, competed evenly for four rounds. In the fifth, during a furious exchange, both fighters threw left hooks. Salvatierra’s missed, and Diaz’s landed. Salvatierra hit the canvas, stood, and then fell again. Fight over. Diaz wins. He is now 10-1-1 with three knockouts.

    The main card was scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Eastern.

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