Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson
Western Canada has been fairly unlucky when it comes to the UFC. After two arguably weak cards put together by the organization in Vancouver, they tried to salvage their reputation out West by making a spectacular card in Calgary. Injuries refused to allow that as the card was completely dismantled by an unfortunate amount of changes. It sucks to say that the same may be the case for their first trip to Winnipeg. Let’s just hope they don’t strike out on the main card performance wise, as what occurred the last time around.
The Octagon has arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the first time ever as the UFC will make their way into the MTS Center on June 15th. Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans will headline the main event as he takes on former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson. The main card will include Canadians Ryan Jimmo and Alexis Davis. The main card will be aired live on Pay-Per-View.
Now for the breakdown:
Rashad Evans (17-3-1) vs. Dan Henderson (29-9)
It has become complicated to understand which Rashad Evans will show up prior to a fight. Will the guy that dominated Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson show up or will fans have to settle for watching more strange performances like he had against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Well, with arguably the nastiest punching power in MMA, Dan Henderson is not an opponent you want to go up against if you are not fighting at the highest of your abilities.
Henderson has one of the best careers in MMA history. He has fought the best of all time on a consistent basis and that has yet to change since his return to the UFC. His one punch knockout power is absolutely devastating, and at times, painful for fans to watch. He generally likes to use the cage to his advantage. He will push forward with his right hand pinned against his cheek, ready to unleash the “H-Bomb”.
There are two different versions of Evans that can show up to fight. There is that guy that uses effective and quick striking to set up his wrestling or that guy that hops around pointlessly and acts as though he is a counter-striker. If it is the latter that is present against Henderson that is bad news for Evans. He has to be aggressive and he has to use his wrestling to come out on top against Henderson, who is a turtle on his back but frightening everywhere else.
Henderson’s predictability may do Evans good, as he must know what he needs to do the second he steps into the cage. Fighters such a Lytoto Machida and Jon Jones are so complex that they force you to become something you are not. Evans just needs one takedown per round and he can take the decision. The only issue is that Henderson hits really hard. This is one of those fights where you should not be very confident about your decision.
Prediction: Henderson via KO Round 2
Roy Nelson (19-7) vs. Stipe Miocic (9-1)
Well, this card has been devastated by injuries and this bout is a prime example of it. Roy Nelson, coming off of three straight knockout victories, was needed to help the Winnipeg crowd out a little bit. Stipe Miocic has been promoted from a preliminary fighter to co-main event and his skill set is worthy of being in this position.
Nelson has been on an absolute tear since being dominated by Fabricio Werdum. He is one of the best Heavyweights in the world and his improved striking has only made him more dangerous. Miocic is coming off of a tough loss against Stefan Struve but has the potential to go far in this sport. He will definitely need to fix his defensive striking deficiencies against a power hitter like Nelson.
Miocic has a great combination of boxing and wrestling and uses it effectively in many cases. Unfortunately, a fighter like Nelson who is stronger and arguably more skilled will be too tough of a task at this point in his career. Miocic fought hesitant against Struve, fighting with a bit of fear. That likely will not change against the man they call ‘Big Country’.
Prediction: Nelson via KO Round 1
Ryan Jimmo (17-2) vs. Igor Pokrajac (25-9)
After having his impressive 17 fight win streak snapped, Alberta native Ryan Jimmo will be making his return in hopes that he will be able to begin a new streak. He will be taking on Igor Pokrajac, who has not looked like himself since knocking out Krzysztof Soszynski in December of 2011.
Jimmo is good virtually everywhere the fight goes. He is a pure mixed martial artist but his fight style has been known to stall quite a bit. He likes to use the cage to his advantage as he overpowers his opponents but in his two UFC bouts, he knocked out Anthony Perosh in 7 seconds and nearly put James Te Huna out before the Aussie recovered and controlled the fight. He has seemed more comfortable on the feet which could make for an exciting bout against the Croatian.
Pokrajac will look to clinch and throw heavy shots but seems to mentally break easily in his bouts. Similar to what Joey Beltran did to Pokrajac, it should be fully expected that Jimmo control him on the cage and works plenty of dirty boxing as he is able to get the decision and get back into the win column.
Prediction: Jimmo via Unanimous Decision
Alexis Davis (13-5) vs. Rosi Sexton (13-2)
We should be certain of few things in this world. One of those things should be that female MMA is one of the most exciting things you could watch. Canadian Alexis Davis will be making her UFC debut against England’s Rosi Sexton, who refused to retire after getting the call to fight in the Octagon. Although some may be complaining about women being given a PPV slot, this could very well end up being the fight of the night.
Sexton may be the better-rounded of the two but Davis will be going in with a major size advantage. If Sexton can stay on the outside and use her quickness, she could frustrate Davis and come out on top; however, the Canadian has a grappling repertoire few can match in WMMA and should be able to push forward and eventually get the clinch, where she will be able to overpower Sexton to the ground and lock in a submission.
Prediction: Davis via Armbar Round 2
Pat Barry (8-5) vs. Shawn Jordan (14-4)
Has there ever been a fighter as vicious, yet, as emotional as Pat Barry? The former kickboxer is coming off of an amazing come from behind knockout of Shane Del Rosario and will look to put together his first UFC win streak. He will be going up against Shawn Jordan, who disappointed the Calgary fans when he fought Cheick Kongo, as the fight went to a boring decision, but showed his cardio and heart against Mike Russow in his last bout, knocking him out after getting beat down for the first round.
Jordan will likely look to use his wrestling and top game which some have struggled to do against Barry lately, considering his improvement in that department. If Jordan pushes forward, he can give Barry plenty of trouble and he must use the cage to try to work for takedowns. Barry will look to keep his distance and throw devastating leg kicks to slow down Jordan. The haymakers that he accurately uses could very well end the fight at any point. Not many can stand with Barry and not take a lot of damage.
Prediction: Barry via KO Round 2