TODAY'S PAPER
78° Good Evening
78° Good Evening
SportsMixed Martial Arts

UFC 141 a la carte: 5 most intriguing fights

Alistair Overeem admires his brother Valentijn's win on

Alistair Overeem admires his brother Valentijn's win on the undercard of the Strikeforce Grand Prix at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. (Feb. 12, 2011) Photo Credit: Strikeforce/Esther Lin

Time for our look at the five fights on the UFC 141 fight card that intrigue us the most. Tune in Friday night and see if we were right.

5) Danny Castillo vs. Anthony Njokuani

Castillo returns after a first-round TKO of Shamar Bailey six weeks ago, so quick turnarounds like that make things slightly more interesting. Njokuani is another of the WEC lightweights who came over to the UFC after the merger with a reputation of being a good fighter with solid and exciting skills. He's 1-1 in 2011 (decision loss to Edson Barboza, decision win over Andre Winner), so here's a chance for Njokuani to foster that reputation.

4) Ross Pearson vs. Junior Assuncao

Pearson, an "Ultimater Fighter" winner at lightweight, brings his impressive striking down to the featherweight division for the first time. The 145-pound division is desperately in need of serious competition for champion Jose Aldo Jr., and a win here by Pearson (14-5) will fast-track him to a title shot even if he's only 3-2 in the UFC heading into Friday night.

3) Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone

This has "Fight of the Night" bonus honors written all over it, which means more about excitement and less about intrigue. Still, this lightweight bout could give Cerrone five wins in the UFC in 2011, an impressive feat.

2) Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks

Hendricks is 11-1 with wins over OK competition. This will be his toughest fight ever in the UFC. But the real intrigue here is Fitch and how many more fights he'll have to win before getting another welterweight title shot. Fitch (26-3-1) is 5-0-1 since losing to champion Georges St-Pierre in August 2008, but his past nine fights have all gone to a decision.

1) Alistair Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar

Picking the main event as the most intriguing fight is like picking all the top-seeded teams in March Madness. But sometimes it actually is the right thing to do. Both fighters are surrounded by question marks -- Is Overeem legit? Is he clean? Is Lesnar healthy again? Is his game complete enough? -- yet they both have the potential to dominate the heavyweight division. The winner here has been promised a title shot against Junior Dos Santos.

Comments

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

New York Sports