UFC 161 takes place this Saturday in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. This is the UFC’s very first visit to Winnipeg and unfortunately for them, pretty much all the main card fights for this card have been cancelled, forcing Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson to move to the headliners spot. The main event for this card was originally scheduled to be Eddie Wineland vs Renan Barao for the Interim Bantamweight title, but Barao had to pull out of the card due to a foot injury. The UFC could not find a replacement to fight Eddie Wineland on short notice, so in comes ‘Suga’ vs ‘Hendo’ to save the card.
Rashad Evans (17-3-1) is coming off back-to-back losses by the likes of Jon Jones and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. His last fight against Little Nog at UFC 156 was, in my opinion, the worst fight of Rashad’s UFC career. Rashad never took the fight to Little Nog and he lost an uneventful Unanimous Decision that haunts him to this day. I fully expect that loss to give Rashad an extra boost going into this fight with Henderson and I highly doubt we see the same Rashad we did at UFC 156.
Dan Henderson (29-9) lost his last fight at UFC 157 to Lyoto Machida via Split Decision. Henderson spent most of that fight trying to chase Lyoto down, which unfortunately left us with a very rare uneventful Hendo fight. He was supposed to have a title shot at UFC 151 but he tore his ACL causing the card to be the first fight card ever cancelled by the UFC and sidelined Dan for over a year. Does Hendo have what it takes to make one more solid run at the UFC’s Light Heavyweight title?
Both of these fighters are coming off disappointing, boring losses. However, I do not think we will see a boring fight at UFC 161. I like this matchup a lot and even with both fighters coming off a loss, this fight has big implications for the Light Heavyweight division. I expect this to be a very memorable fight, with both fighters going for broke to cement their status in the always competitive 205 lb division. Both of these fighters have knock out power and are not afraid to brawl. I believe Henderson is the more powerful puncher and if he connects with his overhand right its goodnight for Rashad Evans. On the other side, I think Rashad is the better wrestler and knows Henderson is not the best off his back. I see Evans playing it smart, but pushing a very competitive pace, and using this strategy to grind out a Unanimous Decision. I must say even with the original main event cancelled, I am still very much excited to see this fight. I’m sure both of these guys, especially Hendo, will be in the UFC’s Hall of Fame one day so I feel privileged to see these two warriors put on a show.