Mitch Gagnon knew it was only a matter of time before the UFC paired him with a top-ranked fighter. Danny Shelton Jersey . Following an initial setback against Bryan Caraway during his promotional debut in 2012, the Sudbury, Ont. bantamweight has been on an absolute tear. Over the past two-plus years, Gagnons aggressive grappling has led him to consecutive victories over Walel Watson, Dustin Kimura, Tim Gorman and Roman Salazar. His first-round destruction of Kimura also earned him Submission of the Night honours at UFC 165 in Toronto last year. Though Gagnon is confident he can hang with the 135-pound divisions elite, he admitted to being surprised when UFC officials offered him a crack at Renan Barao. Obviously I think its the perfect time, but did I think (Barao) would be offered to me? No, Gagnon told UFC.ca during a phone interview. I was just ranked (in the top 15) after the fight (with Salazar). I really thought I would have had to fight a top-10 or top-five guy to get near the top. Do I think its the perfect time for me? Yeah, I believe Im putting everything together well and feel its my time. Gagnon gets the opportunity to stake his claim for a title shot when he meets Barao in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway in Barueri, Brazil Dec. 20. It goes without saying a victory over the former UFC bantamweight champion would be a career changer for Gagnon. Not only would it etch his name as a serious contender by taking out one of the most dangerous fighters in the division, a win would also open doors to both bigger fights and paydays. Gagnon knows whats at stake, but said he cant afford to obsess over the perks of beating Barao. Ive been really focusing on the training camp and the game plan, Gagnon stated. Im not really focusing on the future all that much. I have a job to do and Im concentrating on that. I dont want to look past anything. I really want to focus on one thing — and thats beating Renan Barao. I feel like everything will then open up afterwards. (A victory) would bring me to the upper echelon and get me those big fights. Im fighting a former champion whos still ranked No. 1 in the world. I dont know where it puts me. I have no idea, but Id definitely be up there. Thats where I feel like I belong. Though theres a lot riding on the bout for Gagnon, its also pivotal for Barao, as it marks his first outing since dropping the bantamweight title against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 175 in May. In many ways, Dillashaw laid out the blueprint for beating the Nova Uniao fighter. A hard-hitting power striker, Barao has found success catching opponents who have stood directly in front of him. Using sharp angles and footwork, Dillashaw picked him apart en route to a late TKO victory. Though the Team Alpha Male fighter exposed holes in Baraos game, Gagnon said his own style is too different from Dillashaws to duplicate the same strategy. An aggressive pressure fighter, Gagnon said he plans to break Barao both mentally and physically. Thats not my style, Gagnon said of Dillashaws performance. Do I feel like getting on the line is where Im going to catch Barao? Yeah, I think so. Thats where Barao likes to stay. Hes a very stationary fighter. He plants his feet and throws with 100 per cent power every time. Definitely, one of the things youve got to do with Barao is you always have to make him think, always make him react and make him move around. (Im going to) put the pressure on him. Baraos good at dictating the pace and fighting his fight. If you put the pressure on him and make him exert more energy, thats when he gets in trouble and gets frustrated. For Barao, theres more than a potential title shot on the line when he faces Gagnon. Its also an opportunity for him to earn a measure of redemption following an ill-fated weight-cut attempt ahead of UFC 177 in August. The Brazilian was set to face Dillashaw in a rematch on the card, but was hospitalized after fainting and hitting his head on a bathtub. He was then pulled from the event and replaced by UFC newcomer Joe Soto, who went on to lose via fifth-round TKO in a gutsy performance. As a result of the incident, Barao will no doubt look to take his frustrations out on Gagnon. For some fighters, the prospect of stepping into the octagon with a fired-up Barao would be enough for them to reconsider their entire approach to training. But Gagnon is confident in both his methods and coaching staff. The Canadian submission artist said hes sticking to the routine that has brought him success throughout his career. As far as a whole camp, I havent really changed anything, Gagnon said. Obviously Ive had my coaches training me specifically for Barao. I feel like my team, we have a winning strategy at my camp. I dont want to start doing more or over-thinking things. Ive been successful at what Ive been doing. Im going to keep doing it and improving as a mixed martial artist. With his training tapering off, Gagnon said he is ready to make a statement against Barao. If you look at Baraos past 10 fights, you can see he tends to do (the same) stuff even as he progresses as a fighter, Gagnon said. He sticks to stuff that he does and thats what Im going to capitalize on. Thats why I think Im going to win the fight. I plan on stopping Barao and making it an interesting fight. I plan on shocking the world. Jake Bailey Jersey .K. Subban has picked the right time of the year to go on an offensive tear. Mohamed Sanu Sr. Jersey . Trailing 5-4 in the third set, the 12th-ranked Isner fought off two match points and evened it at 5-5 with consecutive aces. The former University of Georgia star had his only service break of the match to go up 6-5 before firing the last four of his 30 aces to close out Ginepri, an Atlanta resident ranked 281st. https://www.patriotsjerseysale.com/1431p-jawhaun-bentley-jersey-patriots.html . Mika Zibanejad and Jason Spezza scored in the shootout to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday night. CHICAGO -- The Pittsburgh Pirates had one successful weekend at Wrigley Field. It was so good that even Gerrit Cole had a big swing at the plate. Cole pitched six-plus innings and hit his first career homer, and the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 10-4 on Sunday to move into the second wild-card slot in the National League. "Yeah, its pretty sweet," Cole said. "Everybody wants to hit a home run in the show, and it happened at Wrigley, which is really cool." The Pirates swept the three-game series against the last-place Cubs to improve to 12-4 against Chicago this season, including 7-2 at Wrigley Field. Coupled with Milwaukees 9-1 loss to St. Louis, they moved a half-game ahead of the Brewers for the last wild card. Cole hit a two-run shot in the seventh for the last of Pittsburghs four homers. Neil Walker hit a two-run shot in the first and Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen connected in consecutive at-bats in the second. "Offensively, we showed up early," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We got some pitches out over the plate and we elevated some and got good swings on them. We played defence, we pitched and we hit a little bit. It was a good weekend for us." Cole (8-5) allowed four runs, three earned, and nine hits. He struck out eight and walked none in his first victory since July 4 against Philadelphia. Chicago had won three in a row before the visit from Pittsburgh. Travis Wood (8-12) was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in 1 2-3 innings, making the left-hander just 1-7 with a 5.86 ERA in his last 15 starts. "Wasnt Woodys day today, obviously," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "They came out swinging." The Pirates scored five times in the second to open a 7-0 lead. They strung together six straight hits with two outs, highlighted by the homers for Mercer and McCutchen. "He was throwing his heater and leaving a lot oof stuff over the middle of the plate," McCutchen said of Wood. Joejuan Williams Jersey. "You cant really do that in this game. We were able to key on that." Pittsburgh finished with 19 hits. Walker, McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez had three apiece. Sanchez hit an RBI single off Eric Jokisch to make it 8-0 in the fourth. The Cubs had a 19-inning scoring drought before Mike Olts RBI single in the fifth. Welington Castillo added an RBI double in the sixth. Olt went 3 for 3 with a walk, and Matt Szczur had a two-run single in the seventh. Chris Coghlan had two hits and scored a run. "The offence exploded early and allowed me to try some things out there," Cole said. "When youre pitching with a lead like that, you can take some risks here and there. I made some pitches early." TRAINERS ROOM Pirates: INF Josh Harrison was out of the lineup for a second straight game after aggravating a left ankle injury in the completion of a suspended game on Saturday. ... The Pirates are concerned that INF Pedro Alvarezs left foot injury is not improving as much they would have hoped. Alvarez is expected to travel with the team to Philadelphia, but the Pirates are considering sending him back to Pittsburgh for further tests. Cubs: OF Jorge Soler got the day off after playing 14 innings on Saturday. The Cuban rookie missed a major part of the season in the minors with recurring hamstring injuries and the plan is to give him regular rest in hopes that it will help him stay healthy. UP NEXT Cubs: RHP Jacob Turner (5-8, 5.54 ERA) goes for his second straight win when he faces RHP Marcus Stroman (9-5, 3.83 ERA) in the first of three games at Toronto on Monday night. Pirates: LHP Jeff Locke (6-4, 3.75 ERA), who is 4-1 in his past six starts, starts on Monday in Philadelphia. Locke is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies. ' ' '