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Mixed Martial Arts Legend and Two-Time UFC Champion José Aldo is Still the Hungry Kid From Brazil 

There are few names in the mixed martial arts world quite as revered as José Aldo.

The two-time UFC featherweight (145 lb.) champion and current bantamweight (135 lb.) contender is universally considered one of the top 10 MMA fighters of all time thanks to his six-and-a-half-year reign atop his division that saw him clear out an entire generation of challengers — often via decimating kicks and highlight-creating knees.

Even after losing the championship belt, the Brazilian fighter remains one of the greats. Aldo is still near the top of the UFC rankings while many his peers and opponents from over the years have faded from title contention or hung up their gloves. But perhaps the most impressive thing about the 35-year-old is that he’s still very clearly evolving his skills each time he steps into the cage. Following a loss in his first attempt at the bantamweight championship in July 2020, Aldo reinvented himself with a new penchant for boxing and a fresh mentality.

Now looking for his third consecutive big win in the past year — and to cement himself clearly back into the title picture — Aldo takes on fellow bantamweight contender Rob Font in the main event of Saturday’s (December 4) UFC on ESPN card. SPIN spoke with one of the MMA greats (with the UFC’s Brazilian publicist, Lilian Caparroz, serving as a translator) about his past, present, future, and surprising musical taste ahead of the fight.


SPIN: What can people expect from your fight with Rob Font this weekend?
José Aldo: I think all of the fans can expect a great fight we’re both very aggressive athletes we move forward so I think that they can they’re which will have the show that they want

You’ve literally been fighting the best of the best in your division — first featherweight and now bantamweight — since 2009. What keeps you motivated and able to compete at such a high level when so many of your peers have either fallen off or retired?
So, I have this dream of becoming the bantamweight champion and holding both of these two titles under my belt. I want to say that I was champion in two divisions. It’s a big dream, and I’m always motivated by it. What I want is just to make my legacy bigger, so I’m being motivated by all of that. That’s why I step into the octagon with these quality [opponents] every time.

When you first made a name for yourself in MMA, you were really still just a kid at 23 years old. What has it been like to grow up in the spotlight to where people recognize you now and consider you a legend of the sport?
I think that that’s all a result of the recognition of my work. I don’t see myself as a legend or celebrity. I still see myself as that kid. Now it’s just more difficult to walk down the street because people now recognize me. But I understand that people know who I am because of what I did in fighting.

Since SPIN is a music publication, what kind of music do you listen to during training camp?
[Laughs.] I actually get motivated by listening to heavy metal.

There’s been a lot of discussion over your last few fights about your improved boxing and how you rely on it more than you did early in your career. What inspired you to make the change?
I didn’t get the result that I expected from my previous for the title in the bantamweight division, so I understood from that fight that I needed to change something. I needed to get better and fill in the gaps [in my skills], so I started training my boxing better. I joined the [Brazilian Navy’s] boxing group and focused a lot on that just to make sure that improved.

Seeing as this fight is your first five-round main event that isn’t for a championship belt, did it feel any differently to prepare for this one?
I don’t see it that way. I think that it doesn’t matter if it’s three or five rounds. I see it as a step toward getting to where I want to be. It’s like fighting for the title — which would be a five-round fight — so I just see it that way.

For people who don’t know you super well or only know your legacy within the UFC, is there anything you would want them to know about you?
I just want people to know that I’m the same as I’ve always been. I’m the same kid that was born into poverty, and I’m just going after everything that I dreamed of. I worked really, really hard to get here, and I want to continue to do that. I don’t want people to think of me as José Aldo the legend, but as José Aldo the hungry kid.

The post Mixed Martial Arts Legend and Two-Time UFC Champion José Aldo is Still the Hungry Kid From Brazil appeared first on SPIN.

Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s new song ‘Merry Christmas’ is a fun, festive frolic for all the family 

Ho-ho-here we go! It feels like Uncle Elton and pop’s Tiny Tim, Ed Sheeran, have been teasing this festive collaboration since before Jesus had a birthday for us all to celebrate with Amazon’s Last Minute Christmas Deals. In fact, it was only back in October that Ed told a Dutch radio station that Elton – who, surprisingly, apparently calls the little scamp every single day – has been keen to team up for a festive frolic since his juggernaut 1973 hit ‘Step Into Christmas’ crash-landed back into the charts last year.

“We’ve got the sausage roll man to deal with, haven’t we?” Elton later joked to NME. “We’ve got LadBaby to deal with! Once we bump him off, we might have a clear path to a hit record. He seems to have the monopoly on Christmas records. And good for him!”

This new contender is a bit more Ed than Elton: a nice, safe, mid-paced sleigh ride through lyrics simple enough for your young relatives to recite, and sleepy enough to ensure your Nan doesn’t spill her eggnog. “It’s Christmas time for you and I,” the duo grin, exuding joy to the world as they deck the halls with seasons greetings and jingle all the way to the bank. “We’ll have a good night and a… Merry Christmas.” The song is called ‘Merry Christmas’, you see. Elsewhere they get doe-eyed about a “raging” fire and “embers” that “glow” and put their clammy hands together for “December snow”. It couldn’t be more obvious if Noddy Holder ploughed through your front door December 25 and bellowed “IT’S CHRIIIIIIIIIISTMAS!” up your chimney.

Having said that, there are some timely allusions to the pandemic. “I know there’s been pain this year,” Ed beams, like Patrick Bateman cheerily appraising the merits of Huey and the News as he introduces an axe to your skull, “but it’s time to let it go.” It’s a bit crass but he clearly means well and, you know, it’s Christmas – let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, shall we?

It gets a bit more awkward when Ed implores you to kiss him “under the mistletoe”, which is precisely what a Government minister warned us not to do in the wake of the new Omicrom variant the other day. It’s not Ed’s fault – just unfortunate timing – but it is like taking your kids to see Santa at the local shopping centre, squinting hard and realising it’s Ian Brown under that white beard. Still, it’s for charity and the sleigh bell sound effects are nice.

The post Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s new song ‘Merry Christmas’ is a fun, festive frolic for all the family appeared first on NME.

Watch Tears For Fears’ Koyaanisqatsi-Inspired Video for New Song 

Off their forthcoming record, The Tipping Point, Tears For Fears released their second single, “No Small Thing,” and its official video.

“In early 2020, Curt and I sat down together with just a couple of acoustic guitars,” Roland Orzabal said. “The first time in decades. We needed a meeting of minds, a coming together psychically. We were literally going back to the drawing board looking for some depth, heart-and-soul with which to complete our album. Curt came up with this simple folk/country riff, a little bit Dylan, a little bit Johnny Cash, and then we were off. It was the complete opposite of what we had been trying to do for many years – searching for the elusive, modern hit single. We felt suddenly unencumbered, free if you like, no longer worrying about the market, about success, but drawing on influences from our childhoods. It was at this point that the whole album started opening up. ‘No Small Thing’ was the key, the thing that turned a red light green.”

The “No Small Thing” video was inspired by Koyaanisqatsi, the 1982 American experimental non-narrative film, and was made using solely found footage mirroring the conflict between individual freedoms and group responsibility.

The Tipping Point is set to arrive on February 25, via Concord Records, and will be the English new wave duo’s first record in seventeen years. It is available for pre-order.

Orzabal and Curt Smith also recently announced The Tipping Point World Tour, with support from Garbage throughout the U.S. They are scheduled to hit over twenty cities across North American, and the dates mark the band’s first time touring the U.S. since 2017.

The post Watch Tears For Fears’ Koyaanisqatsi-Inspired Video for New Song appeared first on SPIN.

Nicole Kidman tried to back out of playing Lucille Ball after biopic backlash 

Nicole Kidman has said that she tried to abandon playing the role of Lucille Ball in an upcoming film after her casting caused controversy with fans.

The actor plays the legendary Hollywood comedian in Aaron Sorkin’s Being The Ricardos opposite Javier Bardem, who plays husband Desi Arnaz.

However, Kidman’s casting new was met with backlash from fans of Ball, who took to social media to voice their frustration that the actor’s appearance doesn’t suit the part.

Sorkin spoke out in support of Kidman. “The fact of the matter is when Nicole, as Lucille Ball, plays Lucy Ricardo, I think she does an incredible job of mimicking Lucy,” he told The Hollywood Reporter

Lucille and Desi’s daughter Lucie Arnaz has also praised Kidman’s performance, and even recorded a special message on Instagram after seeing the full film.

“It’s friggin’ amazing,” Lucie said. “That guy [Sorkin] made a great movie.”

Kidman however has said that the backlash made her anxious.

“When the reality of playing her hit me, I went, ‘What I have said yes to?'” she said during a recent appearance on Live With Kelly And Ryan. “To which I then went, ‘Oh no, I’m not right. Everyone thinks I’m not right, so I’m going to try to sidestep this.'”

She then went on to say that the support from the film’s creative team helped to change her

“The producer Todd Black and Aaron Sorkin were both like, ‘Absolutely not,'” she said. “I was in Australia and they were like, ‘No.’ And thank God, because then I was so grateful because I got to fall in love with her.”

The post Nicole Kidman tried to back out of playing Lucille Ball after biopic backlash appeared first on NME.

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Details ‘The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent,... 

“Weird Al Yankovic” is set to embark on a follow-up tour to his Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour, in what he is deeming The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour.

“I’ve loved doing every single incarnation of my live show, but honestly the Vanity tour is the most fun I’ve ever had on stage,” Yankovic said in a statement, “so I’ve been dying to get back out there and torture everybody with it once again!”

The 133-date run opens on April 26 in Poughkeepsie, New York, and closes on October 29 for Yankovic’s first-ever show at Carnegie Hall in New York. Tickets go on sale Friday, December 10. Like his 2017 tour, comedian Emo Phillips will support Yankovic as an opening act.

The Vanity tour will focus on his lesser-known records. In its first run in 2018, Yankovic performed fan favorites like “Nature Trail to Hell,” “Jackson Park Express,” “Dog Seat Dog,” “You Don’t Love Me Anymore,” and “Albuquerque.” The upcoming, more low-key tour will not bring Yankovic’s typical video screens, eclectic costumes, or famous parody songs, but rather, a more stripped down set for fans to just enjoy his music. Yankovic will perform in smaller, more intimate venues, and the tour’s setlist will be almost entirely comprised of his original songs.

The post ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Details ‘The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour’ appeared first on SPIN.