Kiwi flies flag for Maori in spec­tac­u­lar win

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

He proudly fought un­der the Tino ran­gati­ratanga flag and opened his post-fight vic­tory in­ter­view in te reo

Ma¯ori – both firsts for the

UFC.

‘‘I’ve re­ally be­gun redis­cov­er­ing my her­itage and I had shunned it for years,’’ Young said later.

‘‘I was caught up in try­ing to be a white per­son but now be­ing in touch with my Ma¯ ori side has made me con­nect my train­ing to our war­rior her­itage.’’

It was a re­lent­less dis­play of pres­sure from Young, who landed 104 sig­nif­i­cant strikes to just 57 from Dy.

He rocked his op­po­nent in the first round and scored a take­down.

Dy did find some open­ings on his feet but Young took his best shots and con­tin­ued to come for­ward.

With less than 30 sec­onds left in round two, Young caught Dy by sur­prise with a vi­cious el­bow and pro­ceeded to un­leash a flurry of strikes be­fore the ref­eree stepped in.

The re­sult im­proved his over­all MMA record to 12-4 and was the per­fect re­sponse to his de­ci­sion loss to Alexan­der Volka­novski in Syd­ney.

‘‘I’ve just got to open my ears more when I fight and lis­ten to my coaches,’’ said Young, who fights out of Auck­land’s City Kick­box­ing gym.

"It was nice to get back to my win­ning ways, it felt how like it used to be. Tak­ing that fight on eight days’ no­tice was dif­fer­ent than I’m used to.’’

In the main event, wel­ter­weight veteran Don­ald Cer­rone suf­fered a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion de­feat to Leon Ed­wards while light-heavy­weight Ovince Saint Preux recorded a first-round sub­mis­sion to beat Aus­tralian Tyson Pe­dro. The US Open is set to be­come the first grand slam ten­nis tour­na­ment to up­date their seed­ing pol­icy to take into ac­count play­ers re­turn­ing post-preg­nancy.

United States Ten­nis Association pres­i­dent Ka­t­rina Adams in­di­cated in an in­ter­view with The New York Times that the ball was rolling on al­ter­ing the rules for the Flush­ing Mead­ows event, which starts on Au­gust 27.

‘‘It’s the right thing to do for these moth­ers that are coming back,’’ Adams said, adding that play­ers re­turn­ing to the court af­ter giv­ing birth should not be ‘‘pe­nalised’’.

WTA rules do not pro­tect the rank­ings of fe­male ath­letes who missed play­ing time due to an in­jury or ma­ter­nity leave, but grand slam events can change their seed­ing rules with­out the WTA’S ap­proval.

‘‘We have the right and the op­por­tu­nity to seed the play­ers ac­cord­ing to what we feel is jus­ti­fied,’’ Adams said.

The news comes just weeks af­ter the French Open came un­der fire for how it han­dled the rank­ing of Ser­ena Wil­liams.

The world No 1 was un­seeded at Roland Gar­ros due to her ab­sence to give birth to daugh­ter Alexis Olympia Oha­nian last Septem­ber. The 23-time ma­jor cham­pion didn’t play pro­fes­sion­ally for over a year, caus­ing her WTA rank­ing to drop to No 183.

Wil­liams reached the fourth round be­fore pulling out with a pec­toral mus­cle in­jury, but she shouldn’t face quite the same up­hill bat­tle at Wim­ble­don in a fort­night.

The of­fi­cials of the grass­court event take other fac­tors into con­sid­er­a­tion and have lee­way to grant Wil­liams a seeded place.

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