Pierce to become free agent
Paul Pierce has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Washington Wizards and become a free agent Wednesday. The forward signed a two-year deal with Washington last summer that included a reported $5.5-million player option for the 2015-16 season.
In UFC Fight Night 70, middleweight Yoel Romero (10-1) knocked out Lyoto Machida (22-7) in the main event, finishing off the Brazilian with elbows on the ground at 1 minute 38 seconds of the third round at Hollywood, Fla.
For the first time since boycotting the 1984 Olympics, Russia won’t have a women’s basketball team in the Olympics. Russia finished in sixth place at the EuroBasket tournament, losing to Turkey in overtime, 68-66. The winner of the tournament gets an automatic bid to the 2016 Rio Olympics. The next four teams receive bids to a last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament next year.
Allyson Felix needed only 50.19 seconds, along with a powerful kick and a lean at the finish, to edge Natasha Hastings in the women’s 400 meters on a steamy day at the U.S. track and field championships at Eugene, Ore. At 33, Justin Gatlin easily won his opening heat of the men’s 200 meters with a time of 19.92 seconds that, according to USA Track and Field, is the fourth-fastest time in the first round of a 200. The only sprinters to run a 200 prelim faster are Carl Lewis (19.84), Shawn Crawford (19.88) and Michael Johnson (19.89).
In tennis, Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan beat Sam Querrey of the United States, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6), in the final of the grass-court Nottingham Open in England to win his first ATP title. . . . Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic won her first title by defeating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0, in the Eastbourne final at England. After the win, Bencic credited her compatriot and mentor Martina Hingis.
AJ Allmendinger won the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Sonoma, Calif. Allmendinger earned the top starting spot during the knockout qualifying with a lap 96.310 mph around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile course.
Justin Barcia raced to his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 Class victory, winning the second moto in the rainy Budds Creek National at Mechanicsville, Md. KTM’s Ryan Dungey won the first moto, but dropped to fifth overall with a 12th-place finish in the second moto. Dungey leads the standings, 37 points ahead of Ken Roczen and 63 ahead of Barcia.
Paraguay defeated Brazil, 4-3, in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw to advance to the semifinals of soccer’s Copa America at Concepcion, Chile. Midfielder Everton Ribeiro and striker Douglas Costa each missed penalties for Brazil, and Derlis Gonzalez converted the winning spot-kick for Paraguay, setting up a match against Argentina on Tuesday. Chile will face Peru on Monday in another semifinal. It was the second consecutive time that Paraguay eliminated Brazil on penalties in the quarterfinals.