UFC 247

MMA's best fighter, Jon Jones, headlines huge card at Toyota Center on Saturday

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MMA returns to Houston on the biggest scale Saturday night, as UFC 247 comes to Toyota Center with a unique card that features the greatest fighter in the world along with a lot of fighters with Houston connections.

If you have a chance to go in person, it is well worth it. If not, the pay per view is well worth your money.

The headliner is Jon Jones, the undisputed best fighter in the world. Jones is 25-1 with his only loss a controversial disqualification. He will face unbeaten Dominick Reyes (12-0). It is a rare chance to see one of the most dominant performers in a sport perform in Houston. Imagine Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods in his prime, and that is Jones to MMA.

But there are several other great fights on the card. Fan favorite Valentina Schevchenko takes on Katlyn Chookagian in the fight before Jones.

A couple of heavyweights who got their start in Houston are also on the main card. Juan Adams looks to get back on track against Justin Tafa, and Derrick Lewis returns with a match against Ilie Latifi.

The other fight on the main card features Mirsad Bektic against Dan Ige.

Jones, Adams, Bektic and Alex Morono, who fights on the ESPN part of the card, were all featured on The Blitz this week. Adams was on Tuesday's show, while the others all appeared on Wednesday. All of those interviews are available on podcastareana.com

On Thursday, Dana White will appear in studio.

The card starts at 5:30 with the fight pass bouts. The Pay Per View card starts at 9 p.m.

Tickets are available here and at Toyota Center . The PPV is available on ESPN Plus.

40 years later the amazing moment in sports history still holds its place

Do you (Still) believe in miracles?

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It's hard to believe, but this week marks the 40th anniversary of "The Miracle On Ice" A result and event where "if scripted", Hollywood would immediately reject on general premise, due to it's improbability. For a younger generation who is unfamiliar with the story (or the odds), visualize a bunch of nobodies and college kids two weeks ago trying to defeat Patrick Mahomes and the KC Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Then, magnify that by about 50 times, and you'll have the general scope and idea. You see, this is exactly what TEAM USA was comprised of, a bunch of college kids, and nobodies going up against the mighty Soviets.

The average age on the American team was 21. They lacked speed, fire power and the tenure of their opponents. The Soviets hadn't lost an Olympic Hockey game since 1968. They had won 4 straight Gold Medals with their core players intact for entire stretches of their Olympic and Global dominance. By contrast, the only American returning from the 76' games was Buzz Schneider. Schneider would actually score the first goal vs. the Soviets. If you ask most American's today, they probably think Buzz was one of the astronauts. The Soviets were so dominating in this era, they had even defeated the NHL All-Stars 6-0 in 1979 to easily win The Challenge Cup.

Lake Placid, New York served as the backdrop for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Lake Placid is a small village in Essex County, NY with a population today of around 2,500 people. If you visit, it's amazing because everyone in that town claims that "they" were in attendance or had their elders in the tiny 8500 seat arena with their families. What makes the story even more remarkable, is that the matchup wasn't even supposed to happen. The U.S. were heavy underdogs even their opening contests with Sweden & Czechoslovakia. Not to mention, that no one really anticipated a contest vs the Soviets as a mere two weeks prior, the Soviets had easily defeated Team USA in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden by a score of 10-3. Adding insult to injury in that loss, was defenseman Jack O'Callahan pulling ligaments in his knee. Jack remained on the Olympic roster, but played sparingly throughout the tournament.

The Soviets steamrolled through their tier of countries, defeating Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Finland & Canada by a combined margin of 51-10. The American's railed for a 2-2 draw in their opening game vs. Sweden, then stunned the Czechs, and then handled, Norway, Romania & West Germany. Thus the stage was set. There are edited versions of the historic matchup available for viewing on YouTube. Unlike the late Jim Mckay who refused to reveal the result on ABC's coverage (the game had been played several hours earlier) would never have had the impact in today's age of social media, and technology. Most American's had no idea the result prior to the game's airing on that tape delay. As a 9 year old kid at the time, this was certainly the case for me! This improbable upset didn't actually secure the Gold Medal. Team USA had to play Finland (trailed 2-1) before rallying 4-2 for the victory.

The "Miracle On Ice" launched some amazing sports moments in the decade to come. The Flutie Hail Mary, Lorenzo Charles stunning the Cougars, Nova shocking the Mighty Hoyas, but nothing could ever match American Pride on February 22nd, 1980 after the Soviets went down 4-3.

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