Xbox Game Pass Ultimate adds FIFA 21, completing the sports gamer’s dream

If you want to play a sports game on your Xbox, Game Pass is increasingly looking like the way to go.

FIFA 21 is hitting Game Pass Ultimate on Thursday.

FIFA 21, which is part of EA Play, which Microsoft bundled into its Game Pass Ultimate service last year, will follow the lead of titles like Madden 21 and MLB The Show 21 with versions available for the Xbox One as well as next-gen optimized editions for those with an Xbox Series X or Series S.

The inclusion of a next-gen version of FIFA 21 is a nice win for owners of Microsoft’s latest consoles, something not all publishers have done. 2K’s NBA 2K21, for example, has made the Xbox One version of its basketball game available as part of Game Pass but not the next-gen upgrade. Instead, those looking for that edition will still need to buy their own copy (currently $40 at a host of retailers after being $70 at launch).

And while the addition of more major titles is always welcome, to be truly perfect Microsoft still has work to do in adding games closer to their release dates. The company was surprisingly able to get Sony’s MLB The Show on its service in time for its launch in April, but FIFA’s arrival comes seven months after the title was first made available last October.

It makes sense that publishers will want to keep titles available for purchase at launch to get money from diehard fans, using services like Game Pass as a way to boost the tail end of a life cycle and hold interest until the next iteration. The good news for sports gamers who aren’t in a rush to play the latest season, however, is that Game Pass is increasingly becoming a better option for getting all the action.

White House confirms diplomatic boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

The move is in response to China’s human rights abuses. American athletes will still be allowed to compete in the Games.

The Biden administration says the diplomatic boycott is a response to China’s “genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.” Above, a Games-themed sculpture is featured at Beijing Winter Olympic Park.

Psaki said the US doesn’t intend to stage a full boycott, which would prevent American athletes from attending. The last time the US staged a full boycott was during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow during the Cold War.

On Jan. 19, the US State Department under the Trump administration declared that the Chinese government is committing genocide against Uighur people and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region. This is just the latest action the US has taken against the Chinese government, intensifying an already strained relationship due to years of tensions over human rights abuses and trade.

Monday’s announcement comes two months before the Games are set to begin. “We feel this sends a clear message,” Psaki said during the press briefing.

In response to the boycott, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday said, “I want to stress that the Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation. This wishful thinking and pure grandstanding is aimed at political manipulation. It is a grave travesty of the spirit of the Olympic Charter, a blatant political provocation and a serious affront to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

Fans take a swing at Cleveland Indians changing name to Cleveland Guardians

“Yup, we named our team after bridge statues,” said one Twitter user.

One of the Guardians of Traffic sculptures on the Hope Memorial Bridge near Progressive Field, where Cleveland’s baseball team plays.

There was some positive social media reaction to the new name, though some people had fun with it, and others didn’t like the choice.

“Yup, we named our team after bridge statues,” said one Twitter user.

The winged baseball logo earned some attention.

Other people also noted that “Guardians” and “Indians” end in the same five letters, and joked that the team’s owners, the Dolan family, could save some money as a result.

Stay tuned for more social media name-change commentary someday soon. The Washington Football Team, formerly the Redskins, has yet to announce its new name.

See Tiger Woods back golfing nine months after car rollover crash

Golfer’s three-second video has been watched millions of times.

Fellow pro golfer Phil Mickelson responded to Woods’ tweet with encouragement and a challenge.

“As I’m hanging in Montana, it’s great to see Tiger swinging a golf club again,” Mickelson tweeted. “I know he can’t stand me holding a single record so I’m guessing HE wants to be the oldest to ever win a major. I’ll just say this. BRING IT!”

Back in May, Woods told Golf Digest that his rehabilitation after the crash was tough.

“I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past injuries, but this was more painful than anything I have ever experienced,” he told the magazine.

It’s unknown when Woods might be able to return to the PGA tour, although People magazine recently quoted an unnamed source saying that Woods does want to return to professional play when he’s able.

NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Stream Canadiens vs. Lightning Game 5 live tonight

If they win, the Lightning will become the NHL Champions for a second straight year. The game streams on NBC and Peacock, no cable required.

Brett Kulak and the Montreal Canadiens (right) hope to hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 tonight.

Read more: NBA Finals 2021: How to watch, stream Bucks vs. Suns without cable

The Lightning has the home-ice advantage by virtue of finishing the regular season with a better record than the Canadiens. The series opened in Tampa Bay for the first two games, Games 3 and 4 took place in Montreal and afterward home ice alternates every game. Here’s the full remaining schedule:

*If necessary.

You don’t need cable or satellite TV to watch the action on the ice. The most affordable streaming option is NBC’s Peacock service, which will carry the entire series live. Peacock’s basic tier is free, but to watch the Stanley Cup Finals you’ll need to subscribe to the Premium version starting at $5 per month.

The remainder of the series will also be carried on NBC, which is available on most major live TV streaming services. The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries NBC in your area.

If you live in an area with good reception, you can watch the games on NBC for free on over-the-air broadcast channels just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. You need one of the Premium plans to watch the Stanley Cup Finals games live and full-game replays, though highlights are available on the free tier. Read our Peacock review.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue package includes NBC, but NBC is available in only a handful of areas.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes NBC. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Jake Paul tweets that he’s a ‘retired boxer,’ but sure doesn’t sound ‘retired’

Do retired boxers spend this much time talking about future fights? Plus: Paul says Tyron Woodley can’t cover up his “I love Jake Paul” tattoo.

Jake Paul fought Tyron Woodley on Aug. 29, but is he hanging up the gloves?

That … seems unlikely. Paul has a multi-fight deal with Showtime. And he has already been hinting around at a next fight, whether that be with Conor McGregor or Tommy Fury. Paul told reporters at the post-fight press conference that he sees McGregor as an easier fight than Woodley. And Tommy Fury, who beat Paul’s sparring partner, Anthony Taylor, on Sunday, talked some serious trash about Paul’s abilities.

“I’ve done my part tonight, he’s done his part tonight, why not make it next?” Fury said. “It’s the fight that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue. No one wants to see him fight another MMA kid. Why not fight against a pro boxer?”

Representatives for Showtime and Jake Paul didn’t immediately respond to a request for clarification on the “retired boxer” statement.

But it’s worth noting that McGregor himself tweeted in 2016 that he was retiring, then fought again four months later. Boxers — and other athletes — love to hint at leaving their sport, but sometimes it’s just talk. What’s the old joke? How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Paul followed up the “retired” tweet with details on the “I love Jake Paul” tattoo Woodley agreed to get after his loss.

“Tyron’s tattoo guidelines,” Paul tweeted. “1. 3×2 inches at least. 2. Can’t get it covered. 3. Permanent. 4. Must post on social media. 5. Has to be visible with shorts and shirt on.”

Woodley said after the fight that he’d get the tattoo, but he wants a rematch, and the fighters shook on it. (So … more evidence Paul isn’t retiring?)

Social-media users had fun with both tweets.

In response to the “retired boxer” tweet, one Twitter user wrote that Paul was the “first retired boxer in the world who never actually fought a real boxer.”

And as an answer to Paul’s list of tattoo guidelines, the MMA Humour account came up with a list of “Jake Paul Opponent guidelines,” stating that Paul’s opponents must be retired, have had zero boxing matches, and be smaller and older than Paul himself.

But others defended Paul. One Twitter user wrote, “Jake Paul had the world against him yet he prevailed 4-0. Now people will still hate on him after he’s shown what true dedication is.”

Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers to take part of salary in Bitcoin

The MVP quarterback is partnering with Cash App to facilitate the crypto payment.

“I’m excited about the future of cryptocurrency, and am a big believer in Bitcoin,” Rodgers said in a release from Square, the parent company of Cash App.

Cash App is an app-based money transfer service that allows people to send and receive money. People can also buy and sell stock shares, as well as Bitcoin, using the app. Pro football athletes are starting to invest in Bitcoin. Earlier this year, Kansas City tight end Sean Culkin became the first NFL player to convert his entire salary in Bitcoin.

In the video posted to Rodgers’ official social media accounts Monday afternoon, the star quarterback is wearing a Halloween costume. Rodgers dressed as action movie protagonist John Wick. The video starts with Rodgers taking a drink, then looking at the camera to say, “Bitcoin to the moon,” before going over the details of his partnership and the sweepstakes.

The week-long $1 million Bitcoin social giveaway campaign began at 1 p.m. PT on Monday and runs through Nov. 8.

How to watch the All-Star Game 2021 tonight without cable

Baseball’s best will be on stage in Denver this evening.

Here’s how you can watch all of the All-Star action without cable.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels will be the first player in baseball history to hit and pitch in the All-Star Game.

For the National League, the starters are:

For the American League, the starters are:

Mike Trout was voted to his ninth All-Star Game but is recovering from an injured calf and will not play, so Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins will start in his place. Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL on Saturday and will miss the rest of the season. Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds will take his place. Buster Posey was voted to start his seventh All-Star Game behind the plate for the National League but will miss the game with a hand injury. J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins will start at catcher.

Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani will do it all. The Major League leader in home runs at the break, and the owner of a 3.49 ERA as a starting pitcher, made history by becoming the first player to be selected to the All-Star Game as both a position player and a pitcher. He’ll hit and pitch in the All-Star Game (and he also took part in last night’s Home Run Derby).

You can see the full MLB All-Star Game rosters here, including reserves and pitchers.

The MLB All-Star Game starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 p.m. ET) on Fox. Cable TV cord-cutters have a number of options for watching the All-Star Game via a live TV streaming service, detailed below. The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries Fox in your area.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes Fox. Sling TV offers Fox in only a handful of areas.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes Fox. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes Fox. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

UFC 263 Adesanya vs. Vettori: Start time, how to watch, predictions, full fight card

We’re just hours away from UFC 263.

Nate Diaz returns at UFC 263.

But in terms of mainstream interest, UFC 263 heralds the return of one of the UFC’s biggest drawcards: Nate Diaz.

Nate Diaz is fighting Leon Edwards in a fight where the odds are stacked against him. To begin with, the contest is at Welterweight. Diaz is strongest in the Lightweight division where his reach and size often drowns opponents. Previous fights at Welterweight have involved other opponents who normally fight at Lightweight, like Conor McGregor and Anthony Pettis. This time he’s fighting a true Welterweight in Leon Edwards, a fighter who has dominated in that weight class. He hasn’t lost in almost six years.

In short, it could be a rough night for Diaz.

The UFC 263 main card starts at 10 p.m ET (7 p.m. PT) but here are all the details…

This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 263, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 263 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 263 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

As always, these cards tend to change and evolve. We’ll keep this updated.

Let’s do a couple of quick predictions for a change!

Returning from a failed sojourn at Light Heavyweight, you could assume Adesanya is vulnerable. But the fact is he’s yet to lose at Middleweight and Marvin Vettori presents nothing new for Adesanya.

In addition: Adesanya and Vettori have already fought once before in 2018, which resulted in a split decision victory for Adesanya. It was close but, score cards aside, Adesanya was the clear victor.

Who has improved most since that contest? Adesanya, clearly. His wrestling defence and jiu-jitsu have improved markedly since that fight. This fight will almost certainly stay standing. Expect a similar contest to Adesanya’s last Middleweight defence against Paulo Costa.

Our prediction: Adesanya by TKO.

This fight is another rematch. Figueiredo and Moreno locked horns in a fight that was ruled a draw in December 2020.

That draw was the result of docked points on Figueiredo’s part after a brutal low blow. If not for those docked points, Figueiredo would have won the fight, fairly clearly.

It was a close contest, but I expect this one to be far more decisive in Figueiredo’s favor. His punching power, his size — Figueiredo has been an absolute mauler in his UFC career. This could potentially go the distance (Moreno can really take a shot) but I expect Figueiredo to win.

Our prediction: Figueiredo by decision

People have been quick to write off Nate Diaz in this fight, mainly because he’s not had much success at Welterweight in the past and Leon Edwards is a strong Welterweight.

I expect Edwards to beat Diaz, by mixing up his wrestling, striking and cage work, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Diaz took a round or two, particularly since this is a five round fight.

This should be a fun fight.

Our prediction: Edwards by decision