TODAY'S PAPER
57° Good Morning
57° Good Morning
SportsMixed Martial Arts

UFC 137 and the 5 most interesting fights

UFC fighter Mirko

UFC fighter Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic sports a fresh cut on his forehead during a news conference for UFC 115 in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is scheduled to fight Pat Barry. (June 10, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

Our take on the five fights at UFC 137 this Saturday in Las Vegas that should interest you the most.

5) Cheick Kongo vs. Matt Mitrione

Both guys can throw bombs. Mitrione (5-0) seems to be slightly better at eating such bombs. He also would appear to have the better ground game. But Kongo (26-6-2) has perhaps the best physique in the heavyweight division, and at 6-foot-4, casts an imposing presence. He can also get knocked out and still win a fight, so he's got that going for him.

4) Donald Cerrone vs. Dennis Siver

"Cowboy" is on a five-fight win streak, including three in 2011 since joining the UFC from the WEC. He can win by submission or knockout, and a win here keeps Cerrone (16-3) on the path toward a lightweight title shot. The same can be said about Siver (19-7), too.

3) Roy Nelson vs. Mirko Cro Cop

To follow Dana White's commentary over the past year or so is to see that Cro Cop (27-9-2) has been done fighting in the UFC roughly 36 times. And yet here he comes again, presumably his career on the line once more against another heavyweight badly in need of a win. Nelson (16-6) is 1-2 in the UFC since winning Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter." Cro Cop is 3-3 since returning to the UFC in June 2009 but has dropped his last two.

2) Brandon Vera vs. Eliot Marshall

Vera began his career with so much promise. Then as his competition level increased, he faltered, losing to Randy Couture and Jon Jones (and Thiago Silva who later tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs). He was let go from the UFC then brought back. Still, Vera (11-5) has lost three of his five fights and needs a win here against Marshall (11-4), who lost his last two fights.

1) BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz

Picking the main event as the most intriguing fight always feels like the easy way out. But this matchup is outstanding on many levels. First, will Nick Diaz (26-7-1) even show up for the fight? (Hopefully someone has informed him of the bout on Oct. 29 in Las Vegas already.) Second, both fighters have solid stand-up, with Diaz getting the edge in pure technical boxing skills. Third, both are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts with unbelievably strong ground games. Fourth, Diaz is on a 10-fight win streak and makes his return to the UFC's octagon for the first time in five years. Fifth, a win for Penn (16-7-2) would move him up the welterweight chain and closer to a title shot. Sixth, a win for Diaz and he likely becomes the next title contender provided he can show up at a press conference or two.
 

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports