On Dec. 30, the UFC is putting on its customary New Years card, and this one looks to be a good one. UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem is headlined by a heavyweight tilt that pits two of the biggest, angriest guys in the sport up against one another, as Brock Lesnar looks to rebound after losing his title to Cain Velasquez by spoiling the UFC debut of Alistair Overeem, the ex-Strikeforce heavyweight champion.
For the Bay Area, it will be a big event as well. The Stockton born-and-raised Nate Diaz is on the event's main card, up against Donald Cerrone. Diaz trains with the Cesar Gracie camp in San Francisco and is widely considered to be a "Bay Area fighter." Well, he's got one of the toughest tests of his career, but the same can be argued for Cerrone as well, who has faced middling competition since his dual fights with Ben Henderson in the WEC.
On top of that, Jon Fitch will take on Johny Hendricks on the night's main card, as well. Fitch lives in, and fights out of San Jose and is one of MMA's best fighters, looking to fight his way back to another shot at the UFC welterweight championship. Fitch could easily make an argument for being the best fighter in the Bay Area, along with guys like Jake Shields, Cain Velasquez and Nick Diaz.
Other fighters with links to California are Danny Castillo (fighting out of Sacramento), Nam Phan (born in CA, fighting out of Garden Grove), Vladimir Matyushenko (fighting out of El Segundo) and Manny Gamburyan (fighting out of Hollywood). Both Phan and Matyushenko are fighting on the event's main card and should be part of excellent fights.
Still, the focus is firmly on Diaz, who is expected to put on a great fight against Cerrone. Both of the Diaz brothers, while not necessarily representing MMA well from a public relations standpoint, represent the best and most exciting mixed martial arts action the Bay Area has to offer. On top of that, it's a very competitive fight. Expect more on the event in the coming week.