ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In this edition of the Sports Desk, we start with New Mexico United Soccer. NM United will be back in action on Saturday against Colorado Springs and it is being coined a “Home Match” because this will be the first match this season that NM United fans will be in the stands.
NM United has already clinched a playoff spot, but they now want to end the season at the top of the Group-C standings. El Paso took a one-point lead in the standings after a victory earlier this week, so this match will be crucial for NM United.
NM United Head Coach Troy Lesesne and his players hope that the fans will bring this group some energy on Saturday afternoon, but no matter what, Lesesne says that he will try to motivate his players. “I think these guys need it a little bit right now. I think that is the beauty of playing in front of, I hope, a thousand New Mexican fans this weekend. We need it at this stage, we need a little more energy. Whether that comes from me or it comes from the fans, this is our 13th match on the road coming up. So, if I am a player and I hear my coach encouraging me the right way, it might give me a little extra juice, and I think that is a very important role,” said Troy Lesesne. That match is on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and it will also be shown on ESPN+.
Now to MMA. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is looking to snap a four-fight losing skid on Saturday, as he takes on Niko Price as the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 178. This losing skid marks the longest of the Cowboys career, but he feels confident and says he has the right mindset coming in.
“I don’t care if I need to prove anything, I don’t need to prove something, this one is just for me. I’m going to look myself in the mirror Saturday morning and go, let’s go, baby, this is for you, Cowboy, and I get to go have all the fun I want. With no expectations, no must-wins, no must do’s, no nothing, and that’s why I am going to be victorious. No matter how the fight comes out, this one is for me,” said Donald Cerrone. Main card bouts begin at 6 p.m. on ESPN+.
Before Cerrone and company fight on the main card, Albuquerque’s Jordan Espinosa will be featured on the Fight Night Prelim. Espinosa is taking on David Dvořák in a flyweight bout and is looking for his second consecutive victory in the UFC. Dvořák has won his last 14 fights, but Espinosa feels that he has the advantage over his opponent.
“I am definitely 100 percent more athletic than he is and I think that I am faster on the feet, I think that I have the wrestling advantage. He seems to be a comfortable striker, but I do think that I can frustrate him on the feet. I am going to be looking for a finish and I really think that I am going to get my first finish in the UFC this weekend,” said Jordan Espinosa.
Espinosa feels very confident coming into this bout, as he trained with Donald Cerrone in his fight camp, and he also has his longtime friend, coach, and fellow West Mesa Mustang, Damacio Page by his side.
“Besides me, the only other person from West Mesa to get into the UFC was Damacio Page. He’s actually going to be cornering me for this fight. I have got to see his approach and him growing up in the sport, just seeing that and seeing how much pride he has for New Mexico. It just kind of puts that on my shoulders now and I am grateful and happy to carry that,” said Espinosa. That prelim will start on Saturday at 3 p.m. on ESPN+.
Now to the links. The annual New Mexico Tech Presidents Golf Tournament finished up on Friday in Socorro, New Mexico. This is a big tournament for the University and it was big that they were able to hold it, even during the current pandemic.
“This is a key event for raising funds for students, scholarships, students who are in need at the end of their careers. The ability to have this tournament and bring in some more money, because the students have really been using it because of the COVID, we are really happy we got this going,” said NMT President Stephen Wells.
It was a successful and safe tournament, as they abided to the public health order, and overall, they ended up raising over $170,000 for NMT students. It was a lot of fun for all involved, and for one employee of the University, it was a great day. Randall Gann works in the Communications Department and the former golfer hit his first-ever hole in one on Friday. It was no easy hole-in-one either (if there is one) as he hit a hole-in-one on a 388-yard par four.
“So, I swung as hard as I could. The line was perfect, it was super high. It looked like there was no way it wasn’t going to be an awesome shot. Driving around for probably like ten minutes, can’t find any balls, and then Dave said ‘I am going to go check the hole,’ and sure enough, there was a Titleist 1 sitting there in the hole. You know, it’s a pretty special feeling, what a great course, what a great tournament. If you don’t know anything about it, check it out, it’s worth your time, it’s worth your efforts, and it’s worth your charitable donation,” said Randall Gann.
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