TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsMixed Martial Arts

UFC 139 fights to care about

Miguel Angel Torres, the WEC bantanweight champion, throws

Miguel Angel Torres, the WEC bantanweight champion, throws out the first pitch at the White Sox-Rays game on July 23, 2009. Photo by Matt Erickson, The Times of Northwest Indiana. Credit: Matt Erickson, The Times of Northwest Indiana

Usually, we struggle with our five fights to care about before an event. But for UFC 139, we easily found six. Here they are, in true countdown order:

6) Miguel Angel Torres vs. Nick Pace

Remember when Torres (pictured, top left) was a main-event fighter? Now he's a Facebook prelim fighter going up against Staten Island's Pace. How Torres fell so far takes one look at his fight record: three losses in his last five bouts. How former stars try to regain that shine is always compelling to see.

5) Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le

I don't know that this fight is all that exciting on the surface, but Silva is loved by fans and he's in Le's adopted hometown so there's any interesting dichotomy. Plus, I'm enthused by hearing Silva's techno entrance song "Sandstorm" in person.

4) Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles

The winner here is likely to get a title shot against bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz, who has beaten both fighters already. Yawn. But the interesting thing here is to see what Faber, 32, has left. He's 4-4 in his last eight fights, with all four losses coming in title fights.

3) Chris Weidman vs. Tom Lawlor

Yes, it's a Facebook prelim, but Weidman is a Long Islander, so that's good enough reason to care about this middleweight bout.

2) Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story

The welterweight division is in need of new challenges for the upper echelon of fighters. Both Kampmann and Story have been close before, and this fight should decide who starts climbing up the 170-pound ladder.

1) Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Dan Henderson

With a pair of knockouts of Rafael Cavalcante and Fedor Emelianenko, Henderson has experienced a career resurgence at age 41. He's back in the UFC now against another former PRIDE champion. He'll walk around trying to land a huge right hand, and if Rua can avoid that, he's got as good a chance as any to win.

New York Sports