Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson: Odds and Predictions for UFC 161
Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans have had outstanding MMA careers. If they want to remain contenders in the light heavyweight division, though, they'll have to get things turned around quickly after their recent decision losses.
At UFC 161, only one can return to the race for a shot at the 205-pound championship. The other may have to re-evaluate and consider retirement or a move to the middleweight division.
In addition to the light heavyweight main event, Roy Nelson will appear on the UFC 161 main card. "Big Country" is expected to stand toe-to-toe with Stipe Miocic, who will try to mount an upset and knock Nelson down from his lofty position in the heavyweight rankings.
With UFC 161 quickly approaching, let's take a look at the betting odds for every matchup via 5Dimes.eu and determine which fighters are most likely to walk away with their hand raised.
Yves Jabouin vs. Dustin Pague
Nearly nine months have passed since Yves Jabouin was knocked out by Brad Pickett, but the Canadian will step back into the Octagon as a massive favorite on Saturday.
Jabouin's opponent, Dustin Pague, has lost three of his four UFC bouts and could be battling for a roster spot on the UFC 161 preliminary card.
Although Pague's only UFC win came via submission, both of these bantamweights usually prefer to stand. While both men land over 40 percent of their attempted strikes, Jabouin's defense is much tighter. Pague has been hit by 57 percent of strikes thrown at him, while Jabouin evades or blocks 65 percent of enemy strike attempts.
It's possible this fight could go to the ground on occasion, but Jabouin and Pague should decide the outcome of this matchup on their feet. Even though Jabouin should have a decided edge in that scenario, it might be best to avoid betting on him due to low return and his extended break in action.
Yves Jabouin -350
Dustin Pague +250
Jabouin defeats Pague by decision.
Mitch Clarke vs. John Maguire
A loser of his first two UFC bouts, Mitch Clarke will almost certainly be fighting for his spot on the promotion's roster on Saturday.
Likewise, John Maguire has made a desperation move to 155 pounds after losing back-to-back contests in the welterweight division.
Maguire's recent losses, though, have come against opponents with a track record of UFC success in John Hathaway and Matt Riddle. Clarke, on the other hand, was knocked out by the retired John Cholish and bested in a decision by the developing Anton Kuivanen.
Unless he can improve his takedown defense, which has only stopped 56 percent of opposing attempts, Clarke is going to be in trouble against a larger grappler like Maguire. As a heavy favorite, Maguire might be worth adding to a parlay, but hold off on that until the weigh-ins to see whether or not the Englishman appears drained from the cut to the lightweight division.
Mitch Clarke +185
John Maguire -265
Maguire defeats Clarke by decision.
Roland Delorme vs. Edwin Figueroa
Roland Delorme and Edwin Figueroa are both coming off of poor performances against Francisco Rivera. Though, Delorme has his loss to Rivera overturned due to a failed drug test and remains undefeated inside the Octagon.
While Delorme is dangerous on the ground, with six of his eight wins coming via submission, Figueroa has never been forced to tap.
This should be a closely contested bout in all areas. So, Figueroa is definitely worth placing a small bet on as the underdog, especially with Delorme being on the shelf for the past 11 months.
Roland Delorme -180
Edwin Figueroa +140
Figueroa defeats Delorme by decision.
Sean Pierson vs. Kenny Robertson
Sean Pierson has built up some momentum since losing to Dong Hyun Kim in December 2011. The Canadian has won two straight and could earn a step up in competition with a UFC 161 win.
After losing his first two UFC bouts, Kenny Robertson bounced back in style in February. Once he took Brock Jardine to the ground at UFC 157, Robertson forced his opponent to tap with a rare ham ripper submission.
Robertson's two UFC losses came against high-level wrestlers in Mike Pierce and Aaron Simpson. Against Pierson, Robertson should be the stronger wrestler, which could lead the American to an upset win and you to some extra pocket change should you risk some money on him.
Sean Pierson -155
Kenny Robertson +115
Robertson defeats Pierson by decision.
Sam Stout vs. James Krause
Sam Stout has alternated wins and losses over his past five fights, but he could have a good shot at picking up a second straight win when he welcomes James Krause to the Octagon on Saturday.
Krause is a WEC veteran who went 0-2 with the defunct promotion. However, the 27-year-old appears to have reached his potential now with seven straight victories, most recently beating Bellator MMA veteran Toby Imada.
Although Krause will have a significant reach advantage, his inexperience inside the Octagon could be an issue against a veteran like Stout. Though Stout's a deserving favorite, but it might be best to stay away from betting against Krause until we get an idea of how much he's improved in comparison to elite competition since his WEC days.
Sam Stout -245
James Krause +175
Stout defeats Krause by decision.
Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley
Though he would have won at middleweight in his most recent appearance had it not been for an overturned win over Ed Herman, Jake Shields is returning to the welterweight class. Shields left the 170-pound division after losing to champion Georges St-Pierre and Jake Ellenberger in back-to-back fights in 2011.
In his UFC debut, Tyron Woodley made a statement to the promotion's welterweights by knocking out Jay Hieron in the first round. With a win over Shields, Woodley would likely be ready for a top-10 welterweight opponent.
Shields' grappling has always been his greatest asset, but he's going to have difficulty scoring takedowns against a two-time All-American wrestler in Woodley. With the ability to sprawl-and-brawl against an opponent who was knocked out not too long ago, Woodley is definitely worth betting on at the current odds.
Jake Shields +155
Tyron Woodley -175
Woodley defeats Shields by (T)KO in the first round.
Pat Barry vs. Shawn Jordan
Pat Barry is quietly putting things together with wins in two of his past three outings. However, he'll be meeting a great athlete who will be looking to take him to the ground on Saturday.
Aside from a poor showing against Cheick Kongo, who has stronger takedown defense than Barry, Shawn Jordan has looked like a heavyweight with tons of potential inside the Octagon.
If he can take Mike Russow to the ground, Jordan should be able to take Barry down. That said, Barry only needs to land once to ruin Jordan's plans of winning this fight on the canvas. That's why, as is the case with many heavyweight fights, this matchup should be avoided from a betting perspective.
Pat Barry -120
Shawn Jordan +100
Jordan defeats Barry by submission in the second round.
Alexis Davis vs. Rosi Sexton
In her past six fights, Alexis Davis has only lost in a narrow decision against former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman.
Though she's a significant underdog in this matchup, Rosi Sexton has only been beaten by women's MMA superstar Gina Carano and former Bellator MMA champion Zoila Gurgel.
With Davis winning most often by submission and Sexton never being forced to tap, this matchup could be much closer than the odds suggest. While Davis does have a good chance of finishing this fight off with ground-and-pound from a dominant position, the return won't be worth the risk of gambling in this situation.
Alexis Davis -380
Rosi Sexton +315
Davis defeats Sexton by (T)KO in the second round.
Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac
After busting into the Octagon with a quick knockout of Anthony Perosh, Ryan Jimmo was brought back down with a decision loss to James Te Huna.
Igor Pokrajac has not won in 13 months, so his UFC roster spot could be on the line heading into this matchup with Jimmo.
While his win over Perosh may have suggested otherwise, Jimmo is much more often a conservative grappler than aggressive striker. That version of Jimmo will probably emerge in this matchup, but don't sleep on Pokrajac, who is a solid grappler in his own right.
Ryan Jimmo -250
Igor Pokrajac +210
Jimmo defeats Pokrajac by decision.
Roy Nelson vs. Stipe Miocic
A winner of three straight fights, Roy Nelson only finds himself fighting Stipe Miocic to help bolster a fight card damaged by injuries.
Miocic is a solid prospect, but he's coming off a loss to Stefan Struve, who Nelson destroyed in March 2010.
While Miocic has solid wrestling that could help him in this matchup, Nelson hasn't been taken down in his past five fights and only needs to land one punch to end any chance of being dragged to the ground. Such a clear favorite in this bout, Nelson could be added to a parlay in an effort to boost return.
Roy Nelson -255
Stipe Miocic +215
Nelson defeats Miocic by (T)KO in the first round.
Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson
Rashad Evans is starting to look like a fighter on the decline after being beaten in his past two fights. However, he'll have a chance to return to title contention with this matchup against fellow veteran Dan Henderson.
Henderson was lined up for a title shot before an injury scrapped his fight with champion Jon Jones. Then, the former Pride FC champion lost to Lyoto Machida and took another step backward.
Although Henderson has the ability to put Evans out at any moment with his right hand, Evans' speed and wrestling should make the difference in this contest. Henderson was once one of the better wrestlers in MMA, but he can fade quickly at 42 years old, and his takedown defense often goes the way of his conditioning.
That said, this is pretty close to a toss-up, so bet with caution.
Rashad Evans -125
Dan Henderson +105
Evans defeats Henderson by decision.