UFC 281 recap: Better than 280?

By: Dylan Moore

(*NOTE: prelims not included*)

Following the card of the year that was UFC 280, I was one of many people that had to remind myself that not every card could be that exciting top to bottom. In saying that, I was one of many people who was shocked to see the fights of 281 (which we’re overall less high-profile) matching and even surpassing the far more anticipated 280 card.

Dan Hooker vs Claudio Puelles: In this fight, an up and comer in Claudio Puelles (13-3) looked to prove himself against Dan Hooker (22-12). Throughout his respected career, Dan Hooker has had electrifying fights in which his toughness and ability to go to war with a fighter of any caliber has been put on display. Coming into this fight, Dan had lost 3 of his last 4, losing against very difficult opposition like Islam Makachev and Michael Chandler, and was looking to bounce back. He did just that. Puelles was dominated from start to finish, looking to go to the ground all throughout the fight against a lethal opponent. In the second round, Dan Hooker showed why he is so respected with a KO/TKO stoppage.

Frankie Edgar vs Chris Gutierrez: The storyline behind this fight was a young contender looking to prove himself against a legend of the sport in his final fight. Frankie Edgar, a former champion and 15 year veteran of his sport, announced that this would be his last fight. Gutierrez looked to use the notoriety of a fighter like Edgar to make himself more known as a contender in the Bantamweight division. In the first round, Gutierrez scored a highlight reel KO, which knocked Edgar out cold. A sad way to go out for sure, but a very very impressive display from Chris Gutierrez, slightly overshadowed by his opponent’s retirement. 

Michael Chandler vs Dustin Porier: 2 heavily respected and battle hardened lightweight contenders in Michael Chandler (23-8-0) and Dustin Porier (29-7-0, 1NC) duked it out. The first round of this fight was one of the best rounds of a fight seen in a long long time. It showed the versatility and toughness of both fighters. Following a second round that showed that they still had plenty of gas in the tank, Porier got in control of Chandler on the ground and didn’t look back. Porier submitted Chandler on the ground in round 3, and both fighters faces we’re bloodied up from this short-lived war of a fight. Me, along with many other fans, are very excited to see what comes next from both of these fighters. 

Carla Esparza vs Weili Zhang: In the co-main event, the women’s Strawweight title was on the line. Carla Esparza (20-7-0) fought Weili Zhang (23-3-0). While Zhang was seen as a scary contender with an outside shot to win the title, most had confidence in Esparza to keep this title. With that being said, Weili Zhang took it to Esparza and stripped her of her title via a submission early in round 2. This performance put Zhang on the map, giving her much deserved respect in the mainstream MMA world. 

Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira: The dominance of Israel Adesanya in the Middleweight dividsion cannot be understated. He defeated all of the contenders in his division in such convincing fashion, his next opponent was the relatively unproven Alex Pereira (6-1 coming into the fight). The reason the champ fought such an unproven fighter was because these 2 had some history. The last time Adesanya lost in his actual weight class was back when he did kickboxing, and guess who he lost to? Pereira. Twice. Once Pereira took up MMA, he beat his opposition in convincing enough fashion that the UFC fast-tracked him to a title shot, to test the seemingly invincible Adesanya. Throughout the first 4 rounds, it was a back and fourth fight, with Adesanya seemingly having the upper hand. Towards the very end of the round, Adesanya had a huge knockdown, in which Pereira was saved by the bell. In the fifth round, Pereira used his control of positioning to his advantage, backing Israel down before landing a series of punches that lead to a stoppage, shockingly giving Pereiera the title and third victory over Adesanya. Their is a lot of controversy over the nature of the stoppage, many fans thinking it came too early. 

Of the 5 events on the main 281 card, all of them lived up to expectations and then some, each fight bringing its own unique storyline and traits to the table. Full of controversies, battles, and shock victories of an all-time caliber, UFC 281 was a great card, and rivals 280 in the actual fights it produced, despite receiving far less media attention and hype then its predecessor.

‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’: The television series and what we know so far

By: Julia Sikorski

*Warning: Minor spoilers

On May 14, 2022, Rick Riordan officially announced that a long-awaited television series adaptation was in the works for the beloved ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians.’ Produced by Disney, season one will cover the events of ‘The Lightning Thief.’

Image taken from: https://www.imdb.com/title/

This will not be the first Riordan adaptation. Fox released two ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ movies in 2010 and 2013, but the changed plot lines and aged characters failed to satisfy fans. Since then, readers have clamored for a book-accurate adaptation to give the stories what they deserve.

For those unaware, ‘The Lightning Thief’ was originally written in 2005 by Rick Riordan as the first installment of the ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ books. The five-book series launched Riordan’s highly successful career.

‘The Lightning Thief’ follows twelve-year-old Percy Jackson, who has spent his whole life trying to be a “good” kid. Despite his efforts, however, something has always gone wrong. Shuffled from school to school, he has never lasted at any of them for more than a year. It doesn’t help that his stepfather, Gabe, is abusive towards Percy and his mom, Sally Jackson. Percy never knew his birth father.

When—yet again—Percy works himself in an unexplainable situation at his current boarding school, it seems to be the final domino in an invisible row. Sally tells Percy that it’s time he went to the one place he’ll be truly safe: summer camp. Percy finds this an odd decision. But Camp Half Blood is no ordinary summer camp.

Percy soon finds himself at the heart of events that can be traced back centuries…to Ancient Greece. The gods are still very much alive, and they are angry. With the help of both new friends and old, the responsibility for setting wrongs right falls on Percy’s shoulders. He just has to hope that he isn’t too late.

After several exciting updates, including an open casting call and reassuring confirmations that the writing was going well, Rick Riordan announced who our main hero would be played by. Walker Scobell—who played young Adam in ‘The Adam Project’— joined production on April 11, 2022. Scobell’s casting was followed by those of Leah Sava Jeffries (Annabeth Chase) and Aryan Simhadri (Grover Underwood).

Since then, the cast has expanded to include Virginia Kull (Sally Jackson), Jason Mantzoukas (Mr. D), Megan Mullally (Mrs. Dobbs), Glynn Turman (Chiron), Timm Sharp (Gabe Ugliano), Olivea Morton (Nancy Bobofit), Dior Goodjohn (Clarisse LaRue), Charlie Bushnell (Luke Castellan), Jessica Parker Kennedy (Medusa), Suzanne Cryer (Echidna), Adam Copeland (Ares), and most recently, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hermes).

Rick Riordan revealed on June 28, 2022, that the show will be of exceptional technical quality. As stated on his website, “[the show has] partnered with Industrial Light and Magic to build a new Volume stage […] one of the most advanced production stages in the world.” Viewers can likely look forward to fantastical visual effects, costumes, and sound design.

Overall, Riordan seems to be pleased with the shape that the television series is taking. He and his wife, Becky, are both producers, and Riordan has expressed that the production team as a whole is “A group that knows the books, understands the importance of making longtime (and brand new) readers happy, but also making a show that feels fresh and surprising in the best ways.”

Filming is currently taking place in Vancouver, Canada and is expected to run through mid-January, with an uncertain release date of early 2024. Season one will consist of eight episodes.

There are high hopes all around for this television series, and I look forward to seeing whether they will be met. Until ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ is released, you can watch Disney’s teaser for the show on YouTube, linked below.

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The 2022 US Midterm Elections: Expectations vs. Turnout

By Erin Moore

On Tuesday, November 8th, 2022, the US Midterm Elections took place. How did it go and how did those results compare to what was expected to occur? This article is here to explain just that.

Before I begin, I will note that all the information in this article was gathered from multiple sources from each side (the exact numbers used agreed upon by both Fox News and the New York Times), thus is verified information and holds no bias.

This year, the elections held were mainly for senators, representatives, and governors. Around 86% of the combined number of seats were up for election this year.

Prior to the election, the Senate had a 50-50 split between democrats and republicans. However, the Vice President breaks any voting ties within the Senate, and the current Vice President is democrat Kamala Harris. This number gave democrats a very narrow majority since the last elections were held for (some) Senate seats during the 2020 election.

The House of Representatives also had a narrow democratic majority, with 222 democratic-held seats and 213 republicans, meaning around 51% of the House of Representatives was democrats following the 2020 election.

Additionally, the president elected in the 2020 elections was a democrat (Joe Biden). This means that from 2020 following the election to 2022 prior to the election, the Senate had a slim democratic majority, the House of Representatives also had a slim democratic majority, and there was a democrat in office. 

However, the 2022 midterms looked bad for democrats for two main reasons: party in power and redistricting.

The first is significantly more simple: whichever party holds office typically loses a large amount of their seats. Since the current president of the United States is a democrat, they were projected to lose several seats in these midterms simply because of the party Joe Biden is a part of. 

The second, redistricting, is more complex. Redistricting typically takes place after a census, and it is exactly what it sounds like: the border lines for districts are changed, which typically benefits one of the two major parties. 

The most recent redistricting affected both parties. New Mexico, Illinois, Nevada, and Oregon’s districts were drawn in a way that benefited democrats. However, Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Florida’s districts were beneficiary for republicans. 

When asked who redistricting would affect more in an interview with NPR, Michael Li, redistricting expert, said, “Republicans have an advantage that I think will play out.”

However, democrats greatly overperformed expectations in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. 

In the Senate, democrats won the majority with 50-49 seats. Georgia will hold a runoff election later, which will determine whether the seats are 50-50 with the vice president as the tiebreaker or 51-49. Either way, the democrats will hold their Senate majority for at least the next two years. 

However, in the House, the republicans have taken control with 218 seats called by various sources and 210 for democrats, with 218 seats needed for control. 

Of the thirty-six governor elections and thirty-four called races, each party has seventeen governors. In Minnesota, our governor will remain Tim Walz, another democrat. 

All in all, the election did not go as expected, and is going fairly well for both parties, with democrats coming out a bit better currently. However, there are still races left to be called. 

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