This Weekend in Sports: Khan vs. Molina and Steelers at Cowboys
Boxing, UFC and a storied NFL rivalry highlight the upcoming sports schedule. Here’s what to watch this weekend:
Friday, December 14
Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets
Pepsi Center, Denver; 10:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Memphis (14-5) doesn’t always come up in the discussion about elite NBA teams, but the Grizzlies have the third-best record in the Western Conference. Underrated duo Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph lead the Memphis attack. Denver (11-12) has lost five of its last eight games. The Nuggets play best when point guard Ty Lawson is scoring in bunches. Denver’s Kenneth Faried averages 11.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
Saturday, Dec. 15
New Mexico Bowl — Nevada vs. Arizona
University Stadium, Albuquerque, N.M.; 1 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
The college football bowl season kicks off in New Mexico. Arizona (7-5) is fueled by running back Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leading Division I runner at 146.4 yards per game. Nevada (7-5) is led by Stefphon Jefferson, whose 141.9 rushing yards per game is second only to Carey. The Wildcats and Wolf Pack each have weak defenses, so this game could turn into a shootout.
The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale
The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas; 9 p.m. (ET) on FX
The 16th season of FX reality show “The Ultimate Fighter’ comes to a close with a series of bouts in Las Vegas. Matt Mitrione will try to use his strength against experienced, former TUF champion Roy Nelson. Pat Barry vs. Shane Del Rosario, Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner and several other fights round out the card.
Amir Khan vs. Carlos Molina
Sports Arena, Los Angeles; 10:30 p.m. (ET) on Showtime
After suffering consecutive losses to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, Amir Khan (26-3) takes on unbeaten Carlos Molina (17-0), who is making the move from lightweight to junior welterweight. Khan is a former two-time world champion, but Molina can punch with any fighter. Alfredo Angulo vs. Jorge Silva and Shawn Porter vs. Julio Diaz fill out the card.
(5) Florida at (8) Arizona
McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz. 10 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Florida (7-0) is undefeated thanks to a tenacious defense that is allowing opponents under 50 points per game on average. The Gators will travel across the country for a top 10 showdown with Arizona (7-0). The Wildcats rely on a trio of talented freshmen: center Kaleb Tarczewski, forward Grant Jarrett and forward Brandon Ashley.
Sunday, Dec. 16
Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Two franchises who have met three times in the Super Bowl renew their infrequent rivalry. Pittsburgh (7-6) can’t afford many more losses without missing the playoffs. The Steelers need to protect Ben Roethlisberger from the Cowboys pass rush. Dallas (7-6) quarterback Tony Romo will face a Pittsburgh pass defense that is the league’s top-ranked unit.
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.; 8:20 p.m. (ET) on NBC
Is this a possible Super Bowl preview? Quarterback Tom Brady leads New England (10-3) against the 49ers’ formidable defense. San Francisco (9-3-1) can clinch a playoff spot with a win and the NFC West title with a win and a Seahawks loss. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick must be careful against a Patriots defense that has intercepted 15 passes.