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Ngannou, Zarco, Ronaldo: The weekend notebook

Find the Tops and Flops of the sports weekend awarded by the sports editorial staff of Le Figaro.

By Jean-Julien Ezvan, Guillaume Loisy, Alexis Relandeau-Descamps, Christophe Remise, David Reyrat


MMA: Francis Ngannou, the consecration of a phenomenon
1.93m, 119 kg, a physique of colossus and lightning in the fists. To defeat Stipe Miocic and wrest his UFC heavyweight belt away. At 34, Francis Ngannou wrote a new chapter of his incredible odyssey (read his portrait published in 2018 here), undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, on Saturday night in Las Vegas. From a devastating sequence in the 2e round, the Cameroonian struck down Miocic, who had shattered his dream in 2018 and considered the best heavyweight in history. A status to which Ngannou, trained in Mixed Martial Arts in France, now wants to claim. “There are still plenty of things to achieve, even bigger things”, commented golden belt in hands the former discipline of Fernand Lopez and the MMA Factory (Paris). The next challenge for the “Predator”? A rematch against Derrick Lewis who had dominated him three years ago, or an eventful fight against legend Jon Jones, one of the greatest – if not the greatest – fighters in the history of the UFC and determined to face him in heavyweights.

»READ ALSO –MMA – UFC 260: Francis Ngannou new heavyweight champion

Football: Stéphanie Frappart the pioneer
Stéphanie Frappart took another step forward in her rich career as a referee, entering as the first woman to lead a men’s World Cup qualifying match in the Netherlands’ 2-0 victory over Latvia in Amsterdam. In December, Frenchwoman Frappart became the first woman to referee a match in the Men’s Champions League (Juventus Turin-Dynamo Kiev 3-0). Stéphanie Frappart who had become the first woman to referee a Ligue 1 match (Amiens-Strasbourg in April 2019) also refereed the Supercopa match between Liverpool and Chelsea in August 2019, as well as the final of the Women’s World Cup between the United States and the Netherlands in July 2019.

Moto: Johann Zarco, 2nde du GP du Qatar
New season, new team and already a first podium: Johann Zarco (Ducati-Pramac) launched his MotoGP season beyond his expectations by finishing 2nd in the inaugural round in Qatar on Sunday, behind Spaniard Maverick Vinales (Yamaha ). Not bad for the one who was aiming for a top 5 and who, pointing at 362.4 km / h on Saturday, also set himself a new speed record in MotoGP! “I savor the moment and I will analyze later”, he reacted at the end of a “good but long race”. “The end was difficult,” said the Avignon player. I thought I had the speed to follow Vinales (…) but I was slipping a lot. It was thanks to my engine that I saved second place! ” See you on April 4, still at Losail, to confirm.

Rugby :Montpellier brings down the leader
The MHR is doing better, much better. By winning 29 to 16 on the lawn of the Toulouse leader, the team now led by Philippe Saint-André confirmed its recovery: third consecutive victory in the Top 14, the fourth in the last five days. “We believed in our star. It is a step forward towards our objective which is maintenance. I am very proud of the players. They are an obstinate group in their work. This team has resources and we must continue on this path ”, underlined the coach of three quarters of Montpellier, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde. The MHR has firmly moved back to the 11e place in the championship, now with a margin of eight points ahead of the 13e and barrage, Pau.

»READ ALSO – Tops / Flops Lyon-Toulon: The Lou devours a ghostly RCT

Sailing: Tom Laperche already marks the spirits
“I’m excited but I don’t have too much pressure compared to the fact that I won it last year”, explained Tom Laperche before the Solo Maître Coq, the first test of the season for Figaro. Like an old man, the 23-year-old Breton actually held his nerves and still made the right choices to keep his title. 3e of the inaugural round then 2e of the following one, the skipper Bretagne-CMB Perfomance took the 3e Place de la grande course, a 340-mile loop starting and finishing in Les Sables d’Olonne via Ré, Belle-Ile and Yeu. Its regularity allows it to remove the general classification as in 2020. And to mark the spirits in view of the Solitaire du Figaro which he had completed 3e behind Armel Le Cléac’h (1st) and Fred Duthil (2nd) last year. “I came to win and to set the tone for the season. The contract is fulfilled, ”says the Trinitan. His opponents have been warned.

Yoan Makoundou, flying man
“Frankly, this is one of the nicest dunks I’ve seen in a long time.” Signed Kadour Ziani, “Monsieur dunk” in France. Yoan Makoundou indeed made an exceptional gesture on Saturday, during the match between his team from Cholet and Orléans (91-70), on behalf of the 26th day of the French basketball championship. On a service from Gregor Hrovat, the young (20 years old) strong winger of CB struck a monumental dunk on the head of poor Luke Fischer, the latter reaching 2.11m. A gesture worthy of “Space Jam”, or more seriously, which would not mismatch in a Top 10 of the NBA … “It’s crazy, jubile Ziani, for
Western Couriers. This dunk really has it all: he starts from a distance, he climbs high and doesn’t move, he stares in the air, he shows the ball to the other to tell him that he won’t touch her and he leans a little on him, which further contributes to the explosiveness of the shock. Bing, you send… That’s great. The presence of the adversary makes the image even more spectacular. ” So spectacular that it has toured the planet, to impress in the United States, and put a big spotlight on the Jeep Elite and especially this player, promising and in good shape lately (14.7 points , 5.7 rebounds on average over his last 3 games).


Ronaldo, striker stolen after a failed match
The image made the buzz. The perfectly valid goal denied to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Serbia-Portugal match (2-2) was in stoppage time. Ronaldo found well Nuno Mendes had beaten goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic, Stefan Mitrovic’s desperate tackle could not prevent the ball from crossing the line but, deprived video refereeing (not used during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers), the Dutch refereeing trio led by Dannu Makkelie did not validate the goal. Out of himself, the star of Juventus Turin threw off his armband and went straight to the locker room. The referee has apologized to manager Fernando Santos. The Portuguese press relayed the frustration of the five-time Golden Ball which had been very discreet throughout the match. Enough to push him to add fuel to the fire. And to put the relevance of VAR back at the center of the debate.

»READ ALSO – After his unjustly denied goal, Ronaldo is angry

Toulon devoured by the LOU
It was a decisive duel between two teams fighting for a place in the Top 6 synonymous with the finals. An appointment completely missed by the RCT which was shattered at Gerland, outclassed by the Lyonnais 54 to 16. The last minute tenure of Louis Carbonel at the opening was not enough for the Var, weighed down by exclusion , from the 28th minute, of the double world champion All Black Ma’a Nonu, for a violent nudge in the face of Jean-Marc Doussain. “I’m ashamed for myself, for the club. It is unacceptable to make such a service in the engagement. We took a nice jerk off. The players are 100% responsible. We were catastrophic for 80 minutes. I hope that this slap will serve as a lesson for the end of the season, ”cropped Sergio Parisse, number 8 Toulon.

Pair, the infernal spiral
Defeated 6-3, 6-3 by Italian Lorenzo Musetti at 1is tour in Miami, Benoît Paire keeps the rhythm. That of an endless negative spiral. L’Avignonnais (who lost 14 consecutive points in the 2e sleeve) got into the habit of giving up. He only won one match in 2021. In addition to the sporting record, Benoît Paire carries an attitude and words that are not tolerable on the circuit. The Frenchman who had cracked a letter of apology to the ethics committee of the French Federation is going through a troubled period. His wanderings question, worry. “I do not see why I would have a suspension … Come on, see you in Monte-Carlo (April 11-18),” he said in L’Equipe. Last bravado of a sad clown who lost track …

First to forget for Gasly
Fifth on the grid and very comfortable throughout the weekend in Bahrain, Pierre Gasly had high hopes for the first race of the season on Sunday. Unfortunately, that came to an end when the Frenchman crashed into Daniel Ricciardo in the opening laps. Broken front wing at the start of the lap and a huge waste of time on the rest of the loop. Coming out last, more than twenty-five seconds behind the pilot preceding him, the Normand delivered an anonymous race which he finished in 17th place.

»READ ALSO – Bahrain GP tops / flops: Hamilton on the wire, Gasly on the ropes

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