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UFC on Versus 2: The pre-5

Top light heavyweight contender Jon "Bones" Jones at

Top light heavyweight contender Jon "Bones" Jones at UFC 111 in Newark. (March 27, 2010) Credit: Newsday / Mario Gonzalez

Main events don't always intrigue us, even if they're the headliners designed to sell tickets and pay-per-view buys.

So, Fightin' Words brings to you its new feature. It's called the "pre-5," which basically means we'll rank the five most intriguing fights on the card. Afterward, we'll do a "post-5." Presumably, you know what that means.

Here we go with the UFC on Versus 2 pre-5, leading into Sunday's fights at 9 p.m. in San Diego. 

5) John Howard vs. Jake Ellenberger

Howard (14-4) is 4-0 in the UFC, while Ellenberger (22-5) is 1-1. Whenever either of these guys fight, we hear how tough they are. Time to figure out which welterweight will emerge as someone to concern ourselves with in the future.

4) DaMarques Johnson vs. Matthew Riddle

Johnson (16-7) was clearly Team USA's top fighter on "TUF 9." Riddle (4-1) began his career in the UFC and has been steadily improving. Should be interesting to determine if Johnson is really good enough to make some waves at 170.

3) Tyson Griffin vs. Takanori Gomi

The baggage fees for all the hype lightweight Gomi (31-6) carried over from Japan must have cost the UFC hundreds of dollars. Gomi fell flat on his face in his debut against Kenny Florian (14-3), so he needs to prove his reputation overseas translates in the American octagon.

2) Mark Munoz vs. Yushin Okami

"The Filipino Wrecking Machine" is 8-1, with his eighth win being his most impressive. He got smoked in the first round by Kendall Grove at UFC 112, but then came back in the second round to pummel Grove into a TKO. Munoz gets his biggest test against highly regarded middleweight Okami (25-5), who beats mid-card fighters but loses to top guys. Here's a chance for both fighters to prove us wrong.

1) Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko

OK, fine, the main event is the most interesting fight on this card. But that's because "Bones" Jones (10-1) is the guy fighting. He's billed as the next rising star at light heavyweight, the future of MMA, the 23-year old from upstate New York with the athletic ability to do anything he wants in the ring. Matyushenko (24-4) is a 39-year-old veteran with no substantive wins in the UFC. But, he did help train Fabricio Werdum to beat Fedor Emelianenko, so . . . .


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