The UFC 161 card is scheduled for Winnipeg, Canada on June 15th and it is headlined by the Bantamweight title bout between Renan Barao and Eddie Wineland. The main card features a pair of Light Heavyweight clashes featuring Rashad Evans facing Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua facing Antonio Rogerio Noguiera. The Henderson-Evans outcome will likely usher the loser out of the top echelon in the division, while the all Brazilian affair between Rua and Noguiera features two fighters trying to gather themselves for a title run. Evans and Henderson will be the co-main event of the evening.
This is going to be close to a pick ‘em fight at the sportsbooks. I would not be surprised if the betting public came in on Evans , but this will remain a close fight.
Rashad Evans is an especially interesting case leading into this fight. The former Light Heavyweight champion, Evans has dropped two fights in a row for the first time in his career. What is more disturbing is that he has looked lackluster in the ring and uninspired outside of it. If he loses this fight, not even a much talked about drop to 185 lbs would salvage Evans as a top tier fighter. He is more likely to be cut or at least be in for a long layoff.
Both men have similar skill sets, in that both use a wrestling base to control where the fight occurs, and both throw big punches. Evans will have some speed advantages, as he is close to 10 years younger than ‘Hendo’, but Henderson has never been KO’d and he will want to test Rashad’s chin. In the standup fight, look for one punch at a time type attmepts, with Henderson coming forward and Evans counter punching.
For his part, Henderson is coming off a disappointing outing against Lyoto Machida that would have seen him fighting Jones for the title had he won. Henderson is nearing the end of his long career, and he has talked about wanting to capture a UFC title before he is done. When Rashad talks about getting back to the top, it seems more like your usual lip service these days than a truly motivated athlete.
I expect the betting public to come in on Evans due to his popularity, but a long look at Henderson a the underdog is warranted if that is the way the lines play out.