The combatants in the UFC 161 main event will not lack a sense of urgency. Rashad "Suga" Evans and Dan Henderson headline an interesting card on Saturday night from MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Much is at stake for these two legendary fighters. Beyond trying to maintain relevance deep into their careers, these two veterans will be fighting for the right to challenge for Jon Jones' light heavyweight title in the near future. Here's how you can watch every aspect of the event, beginning with the Facebook preliminaries, FX preliminaries and culminating with the main card on pay-per-view.
I've included my predictions for each fight and I've tabbed the fights most likely to produce fight night bonuses. Further analysis for those bouts are below the fight card.
Facebook prelims begin at 6 p.m., FX prelims start at 8 p.m. and main card kicks off at 10 p.m. (all times are eastern).
Jake Shields Will Make Tyron Woodley Tap
Woodley's strength and aggression are his best attributes, but it is easy to see how the latter could work against him in this fight.
No one will ever mistake Shields for an exciting competitor, but he's tough, savvy and he's still an elite grappler and submission artist. Shields has submitted 37 percent of the opponents he's defeated and he's about to raise that percentage.
Woodley is at his best when his opponents are foolish enough to stand and trade with him; Shields won't do that. He'll look for an opportunity to take the fight to the ground, and on the mat, Woodley isn't as skilled or dangerous.
This one will end in an impressive submission victory for Shields.
Another Big Country Win, Another KO of the Night
Roy "Big Country" Nelson is one of the most prolific KO artists in the UFC. He's earned four KO of the Night awards; most recently, he was recognized for decimating Cheick Kongo at UFC 159.
When he takes on Stipe Miocic on Saturday, he'll add another victim to his list. Miocic won't be hard to find; he's an impressive striker in his own right. Of his nine wins, seven have come by KO.
That said, he doesn't have the beard—literally or figuratively—that Nelson has. If any of Nelson's opponents are simply going to stand and trade with him, most will come out on the losing end.
There is a short list of fighters who could be successful against Nelson in a brawl; Miocic isn't on that list.
Evans Will Outlast Henderson
Both Evans and Henderson need to win this fight badly. Henderson is 42 years old and every fight from this point on could be his last.
Even a physical specimen and well-conditioned athlete like Henderson is going to come to the end of his rope at some point. I predict he's headed for a career-evaluating situation.
Which fight will be the most entertaining?
Evans isn't 42, but with two straight losses on his record, the 33-year-old former light heavyweight champion desperately needs a win. He may not be in danger of getting dropped from the promotion, but another loss would remove him from his main event status.
Both men can strike, and this fight will feature some stand-up brilliance. Ultimately, however, Suga's major edge is on the ground. Henderson will have to respect Evans' speed, but in the process, he'll lose valuable points when he's brought down to the mat.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Evans wobbled in this bout, but ultimately, he'll survive and take the fight on points.
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