FIGHT NIGHT!

10 hard-hitting questions for Houston-based MMA fighter Jessica Aguilar

Don't miss the action this Wednesday night! Photo via: XFC

The co-main event of XFC 43 will feature Houston-based fighter Jessica "Jag" Aguilar returning to action against Danielle Taylor, Wednesday night at The Tabernacle in Atlanta. The two women will throw down at 115 pounds. This will mark the first XFC card in more than four years as the fighting world attempts to seek out fighters for the next generation of MMA.

Aguilar grew up in Pozarica Veracruz, Mexico, made her professional fighting debut in 2006 and has served as a pioneer for women's MMA while fighting in WSOF, Bellator, UFC and now XFC. She has rung up 20 wins worldwide during her reign as strawweight champion. Aguilar is not only an inspiration to female MMA fighters, but a leader for the LGBTQ community.

Wednesday will mark Aguilar's first fight in two years since signing an exclusive, multi-year contract with XFC in October. The two parties are confident it will be a successful partnership.

"Jessica Aguilar is a true icon of MMA, and we couldn't be more excited to see her back in action in the XFC Hexagon. Jessica has accomplished so much, but she came to us hungrier than ever. She's going to be tested as a world-class athlete at XFC, and we believe she'll once again rise to the occasion," XFC President Myron Molotky said.

Aguilar has been training with Bob Perez, co-owner of Main Street Boxing and Muay Tai in Houston. SportsMap caught up with Aguilar for a quick 10 questions before Wednesday's bout.

SportsMap: Was it your dream as a child to become a professional fighter?

Jessica Aguilar: Never in my wildest dreams. It's a wild story that I just fell into place, and I became a world champion! I did dream of becoming a professional athlete, doctor or movie star.

SM: Where do you find the drive to continue to fight at 38 years old?

JA: My love for this sport drives me! It's that feeling you get when you're in the ring. It's the best feeling ever.

SM: Is professional fighting your only job?

JA: Yes, currently. However, I also teach self-defense classes, commentate and just got my licenses to do EP work (executive protection).

SM: What are the ups and downs you've faced being a pioneer for the LGBTQ community in MMA?

JA: There are so many ups. One of those is getting awarded by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) in NYC for being me. As for the downs, I ignore them and use it as fuel which led me to becoming the best in the world. I'm just honored to be representing the LGBTQ on my platform.

SM: What does your training day schedule look like?

JA: Monday-Saturday. 6-10 hours a day. My training consists of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling and strength and conditioning.

SM: What do you eat on fight day?

JA: A good hearty breakfast followed by a clean lunch with good carbs and protein. I also snack on fruit throughout the day.

SM: What unfinished business do you have to take care of on November 11?

JA: The unfinished business is to show myself that I still got β€œit" by finishing my opponent in a dominant fashion.

SM: Favorite takedown move?

JA: The single leg takedown.

SM: What does your body feel like the day after a brutal fight?

JA: Like a truck hit me.

SM: How have you managed to avoid cauliflower ear?

JA: I have small ears and I am very good at protecting them.


You can follow Jessica Aguilar on Twitter @jagatt and watch XFC 43 LIVE on NBC Sports Network this Wednesday night.

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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