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MLS Cup final, UFC-boxing title bouts headline sports weekend

Nicolas Lodeiro (10) and the Seattle Sounders face the Columbus Crew in the 2020 MLS Cup final at 8:30 p.m. EST Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Matthew Stith/MLS/Seattle Sounders
Nicolas Lodeiro (10) and the Seattle Sounders face the Columbus Crew in the 2020 MLS Cup final at 8:30 p.m. EST Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Matthew Stith/MLS/Seattle Sounders

Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Major League Soccer's championship game leads the sports weekend schedule, which also features title bouts for boxing and UFC, as well as dozens of football and basketball games.

The defending champion Seattle Sounders battle the Columbus Crew in the 2020 MLS Cup final on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. The match serves as the finale for the 18-team tournament, which started Nov. 20.

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The MLS Cup final starts at 8:30 p.m. EST Saturday and airs on Fox.

The Sounders are slight favorites to win the championship on most sports betting websites. Columbus and Seattle played to a 1-1 tie in their only other matchup this season, which occurred on March 7.

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"We are a much better team now," Crew manager Caleb Porter told reporters on Tuesday. "But we went there earlier this year and matched them on the road."

Columbus beat the New York Red Bulls 3-2 in their first-round matchup. They then beat first-year club Nashville SC in the conference semifinals before a 1-0 shutout of the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference final.

Seattle beat LAFC 3-1 in the first round before a 1-0 shutout of FC Dallas in the conference semifinals. The Sounders then beat Minnesota United 3-2 in the Western Conference final.

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The Crew will be shorthanded for the title game after Darlington Nagbe and Pedro Santos were listed Friday as not medically cleared to play. Nagbe is a key facilitator for the Crew, while Santos had six goals and eight assists in the regular season and two goals in the playoffs.

The Sounders also won the MLS Cup in 2016 and appeared in the 2017 final before their 2019 title.

"It's going to be a good and entertaining final," Sounders manager Brian Schmetzer said. "As far as the dynasty word, folks have asked me about that. ... I wouldn't quite put us into that dynasty category quite yet."

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Boxing title bout

Anthony Joshua will put his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles on the line when he steps into the boxing ring to fight Kubrat Pulev on Saturday at Wembley Arena in London.

The 6-foot-6 fighter from Watford, England, lost his title belts to Andy Ruiz Jr., on June 1, 2019. Joshua reclaimed the belts with a win over Ruiz in his last bout on Dec. 7, 2019. He has a 23-1 career record.

Pulev (28-1) has won his last eight bouts. The 6-foot-4 Bulgarian beat Rydell Booker in his last fight on Nov. 9, 2019.

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Joshua is the favorite to win the main event. The fight card also features: Qais Ashfaq vs. Ashley Lane; Florian Marku vs. Jamie Stewart; Kieron Conway vs. Macaulay McGowan; Martin Bakole vs. Sergey Kuzmin; Hughie Fury vs. Mariusz Wach; and Lawrence Okolie vs. Nikodem Jezewski.

The main card starts at 1 p.m. EST Saturday and airs on DAZN.

UFC title fight

Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno headline the main card of UFC 256 on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Junior Dos Santos takes on Ciryl Gane in the first bout on the five-fight main card at 10 p.m. EST on pay-per-view.

In the final fight, Figueiredo (20-1) will put his flyweight title on the line against Moreno (18-5-1), who has won his last three bouts since a 2019 draw with Askar Askarov.

Figueiredo has won his last five fights. Moreno and Figueiredo each earned victories three weeks ago at UFC 255. Figueiredo defended his flyweight belt with a first-round submission of Alex Perez.

Moreno can become the first Mexican-born UFC champion on Saturday if he beats Figueiredo.

Friday

Golf -- PGA Tour

QBE Shootout: Second round from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST on Golf Channel

College basketball

North Texas at West Virginia at 3 p.m. EST on Big 12 Network

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Omaha at Kansas at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN2

Nebraska at Creighton at 7 p.m. EST on Big Ten Network

Villanova at Georgetown at 7 p.m. EST on FS1

Iowa State at Iowa at 9 p.m. EST on Big Ten Network

College football

Arizona State at Arizona at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN

Saturday

Soccer

Premier League: Manchester United vs. Manchester City at 12:30 p.m. EST on NBC

La Liga: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid at 3 p.m. EST on beIN Sports USA

MLS: Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders at 8:30 p.m. EST on Fox

College football

Alabama at Arkansas at noon EST on ESPN

Georgia at Missouri at noon EST on SEC Network

Illinois at Northwestern at noon EST on ESPN2

Utah at Colorado at noon EST on Fox

Michigan State at Penn State at noon EST on ABC

Coastal Carolina at Troy at 3 p.m. EST on ESPN+

Navy at Army at 3 p.m. EST on CBS

North Carolina at Miami at 3:30 p.m. EST on ABC

Wisconsin at Iowa at 3:30 p.m. EST on FS1

California at Washington State at 4 p.m. EST on Fox

LSU at Florida at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN

Oklahoma State at Baylor at 7 p.m. EST on ESPNU

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Louisiana Tech at TCU at 7 p.m. EST on FS1

USC at UCLA at 7:30 p.m. EST on ABC

San Diego State at BYU at 10 p.m. EST on ESPN2

College basketball

Florida at Florida State at 11 a.m. EST on ESPNU

Notre Dame at Kentucky at noon EST on CBS

Cincinnati at Tennessee at 12:30 p.m. EST on SEC Network alternate

North Carolina Central at North Carolina at 2 p.m. EST on ACC Network alternate

Illinois at Missouri at 8 p.m. EST on SEC Network alternate

Golf -- PGA Tour

QBE Shootout: Third round from 1 to 5 p.m. EST on Golf Channel

Boxing -- Main card starts at 1 p.m. EST on DAZN

Qais Ashfaq vs. Ashley Lane

Florian Marku vs. Jamie Stewart

Kieron Conway vs. Macaulay McGowan

Martin Bakole vs. Sergey Kuzmin

Hughie Fury vs. Mariusz Wach

Lawrence Okolie vs. Nikodem Jezewski

Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev

UFC 256 -- Main cards starts at 10 p.m. EST on pay-per-view

Junior Dos Santos vs. Ciryl Gane

Kevin Holland vs. Jacare Souza after first fight

Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba after second fight

Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira after third fight

Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno after fourth fight

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Sunday

Soccer

Premier League: Fulham vs. Liverpool at 11:30 a.m. EST on NBCSN

La Liga: Barcelona vs. Levante at 3 p.m. EST on beIN Sports USA

Serie A: Genoa vs. Juventus at 11:50 a.m. EST on ESPN+

NFL

Texans at Bears at 1 p.m. EST on CBS

Cowboys at Bengals at 1 p.m. EST on Fox

Chiefs at Dolphins at 1 p.m. EST on CBS

Cardinals at Giants at 1 p.m. EST on Fox

Vikings at Buccaneers at 1 p.m. EST on Fox

Broncos at Panthers at 1 p.m. EST on CBS

Titans at Jaguars at 1 p.m. EST on CBS

Colts at Raiders at 4:05 p.m. EST on CBS

Jets at Seahawks at 4:05 p.m. EST on CBS

Packers at Lions at 4:25 p.m. EST on Fox

Saints at Eagles at 4:25 p.m. EST on Fox

Falcons at Chargers at 4:25 p.m. EST on Fox

Washington at 49ers at 4:25 p.m. EST on Fox

Steelers at Bills at 8:20 p.m. EST on NBC

College basketball

Richmond at West Virginia at 1 p.m. EST on ESPN

Tarleton at Kansas at 2 p.m. EST on Big 12 Network

Texas at Baylor at 3 p.m. EST on ESPN

Cleveland State at Ohio State at 4 p.m. EST on Big Ten Network

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Arizona State at Grand Canyon at 4 p.m. EST on ESPN3

St. John's at Georgetown at 7:30 p.m. EST on FS1

Golf -- PGA Tour

QBE Shootout: Fourth round from noon to 2 p.m. EST on NBC; 2 to 4 p.m. EST on Golf Channel

This week in the National Football League

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (R) loses the ball against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Thursday. The Rams defeated the Patriots 24-3. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

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