UFC 161: Main Card Staff Predictions

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterJune 14, 2013

UFC 161: Main Card Staff Predictions

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    It's probably important to identify the elephant in the room right off the bat: No one cares about UFC 161. Nobody cares!

    It's like the times when you watch a movie trailer, and you can tell right away that you just saw the best parts of the movie. We've got our Roy Nelson quotes, you know what I mean? Let's get out of Winnipeg already.

    I didn't mean that, Winnipeg. I've never been there and am in no place to judge. Go Jets, and so forth! 

    That said, UFC 161 is nowhere near as horrible as you think it is. There are good fights here, especially on the main card. And that's why the very cream of the B/R staff crop has come together to offer you some staff predictions. Riley "Kobra" Kontek. James "The Athlete" MacDonald. Sean "I Need A Nickname" Smith. Myself, Scott Harris. And the newest member of our team, Craig "Famous" Amos. Let's get ready to rumble.

Pat Barry vs. Shawn Jordan

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    Sean Smith: Pat Barry easily wins a kickboxing match with Jordan. However, we've seen lesser athletes than Jordan work their way inside and take Barry to the ground.

    He might have to fight through a bad spot or two, but Jordan has a good shot at locking up a submission in this matchup.

    Jordan, Submission, Round 2

    James MacDonald: I haven’t been particularly impressed with Jordan. He’s clearly a terrific athlete, but that’s about the best I can say about him thus far.

    You can drive a truck through the holes in Pat Barry’s game, but if he can somehow keep the fight on the feet, he’s in business. Unfortunately, I think he’ll be dragged to the ground eventually.

    Jordan, Submission, Round 2

    Craig Amos: If Jordan is able to close the distance, put Barry up against the fence and drag him to the mat, it’ll be an easy night.

    While that scenario could reasonably play out, I foresee a classic Pat Barry knockout halting Jordan before he is able to get a handle on the action.

    Barry, KO, Round 1

    Riley Kontek: Pat Barry has shown when anybody stands with him, he is the more dangerous striker (excuse him for the Cheick Kongo comeback knockout).

    Jordan will look to clinch and make this dirty, but Barry can be hazardous from that distance. I will go out on a limb and say Barry earns a midround knockout. 

    Barry, TKO, Round 2

    Scott Harris: Barry's real hope here is a flash knockout. Jordan knows that, and he knows he needs to smother Barry as a result.

    Barry, with the transparent skill set that he has, will find a way to keep Jordan outside, and then put him down.

    Barry, TKO, Round 1

Alexis Davis vs. Rosi Sexton

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    Smith: Davis has been pegged as a significant favorite in this matchup, but Sexton isn't going to go down easy at all. In 15 career fights, Sexton has only lost to Gina Carano and former Bellator MMA champion Zoila Gurgel.

    Still, having fought tougher competition recently under the Strikeforce and Invicta FC banners, Davis should be able to pick up a win in her UFC debut and emerge as one of the leaders in the wide-open race for future title shots in the women's bantamweight division.

    Davis, TKO, Round 2

    MacDonald: Alexis Davis is, in my opinion, the next women’s 135-pound champion. Mark my words. She is extremely well-rounded.

    While Sexton has a ton of experience, I don’t believe she has the tools to hang with someone of Davis’ class.

    Davis, Submission, Round 2

    Amos: Sexton owns the more impressive record, but a comparison between strength of schedules more than justifies Davis as the favorite. Don’t expect the Canadian to disappoint in her promotional debut.

    Davis, Submission, Round 1

    Kontek: Rosi Sexton is as dangerous as they come in the female dimension of the sport, but she is fighting up a weight class.

    Alexis Davis is the most underrated bantamweight, especially when it comes to media, as the Rousey's and Tate's of the world suck up the spotlight. Davis will get the scrappy Brit down and snag a submission to make a successful debut.

    Davis, Submission, Round 2

    Harris: There is no way Alexis Davis is the next 135-pound champion. That's Ronda Rousey. Or Sara McMann, if I have to pick another person. Davis will win this fight, though.

    Davis, TKO, Round 1

Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac

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    Smith: Both of these light heavyweights have serious punching power, but Jimmo seems to have been incorrectly perceived as some type of knockout artist since finishing Anthony Perosh.

    In reality, Jimmo went to decisions in seven of eight bouts prior to being signed to the UFC's 205-pound division.

    We could see the Canadian revert to a more conservative style after being roughed up in his most recent outing against James Te-Huna.

    Jimmo, Unanimous decision

    MacDonald: I’m not big on either fighter, if I’m being blunt. Relative to UFC standards, the ceiling is pretty low in terms of their potential.

    That being said, Jimmo has the bigger upside and should have the savvy to grind out a decision.

    Jimmo, Unanimous decision

    Amos: Both of these guys have revealed themselves to be fast starters, so barring a quick finish, whoever can keep a steady pace longer is likely to see their hand raised. Here’s hoping we are blessed with a world-class robot dance at UFC 161.

    Jimmo, Unanimous decision

    Kontek: If you are a fan of striking battles, this should tickle your fancy.

    Pokrajac has proven that he can throw with heavy-handed foes, but Ryan Jimmo's technical prowess will be too much. The judges will award their countryman the decision.

    Jimmo, Unanimous decision

    Harris: Pokrajac can be knocked out. Jimmo can knock people out. Sometimes, the MMA, it is not rocket science.

    Jimmo, TKO, Round 2 

Roy Nelson vs. Stipe Miocic

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    Smith: While this matchup provides Miocic a chance to make a big move in the heavyweight division, it's more likely to leave him with a two-fight losing skid.

    Nelson has the grappling to shut down his opponent's wrestling and has already knocked out Stefan Struve, whose striking was responsible for Miocic's only UFC loss.

    Anything can happen in a heavyweight boxing match, which this fight should turn into, but Nelson seems to have a clear edge in power and durability. 

    Nelson, KO, Round 1

    MacDonald: Miocic is the better technical striker, but he doesn’t have the kind of fight-ending power boasted by “Big Country.”

    The would-be “Cro Cop” needs to stay the heck away from Nelson’s fastball-like overhand right and take advantage of his superior footwork. “Big Country” is likely to find that chin eventually, though.

    Nelson, KO, Round 2

    Amos: Miocic hits hard, but he has acquired the dangerous trait of taking damage in order to give it.

    That’s not invariably a poor strategy, but it’s about as bad as it gets when you fight someone who punches like Nelson does. 

    Nelson, KO, Round 2

    Kontek: Stipe Miocic is the young blood of the division and an intriguing prospect. However, the portly powerhouse that is Roy Nelson has been a buzzsaw with fists of steel.

    Miocic is a tough kid, but Nelson's hands are kryptonite to the most solid of jaws.

    Nelson, TKO, Round 1

    Harris: My sources tell me Roy Nelson is fat. They also tell me that he's been spending this week poking Dana White with sharp sticks and teasing a promotion jump in the media.

    As a result, part of me wonders whether Nelson's focus is where it needs to be. And yet, there's a larger part that doesn't wonder very much about the outcome here.

    Nelson, KO, Round 1 

Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson

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    Smith: At 42 years old, Henderson is soon bound to show up and look like a fighter who no longer belongs inside the Octagon. Whether that happens on Saturday or not, Henderson is going to have difficulty dealing with the quickness of Evans.

    Henderson's wrestling is also not what it once was, especially when he starts to gas. That will likely be the story of this matchup.

    Evans, Unanimous decision

    MacDonald: One of these fighters seems like he has one foot out of this sport’s figurative door. And weirdly, it isn’t the 42-year-old. Saturday night’s main event will tell us a lot about the future of both fighters.

    If the old Evans turns up, I think he takes this one. If the jab-pawing, conservative version of Evans makes an appearance, Hendo will probably turn out his lights. I’m going to put my money on the former.

    Evans, Unanimous decision

    Amos: Any time Henderson enters the Octagon, the potential is there for a crushing knockout.

    Evans, however, is adept at avoiding damage, and I see his head movement and all-around quickness keeping him from harm long enough to score sufficient points with his boxing and wrestling.

    Evans, Unanimous decision

    Kontek: Wishful thinking may blind what may be the most obvious outcome here. In my head, I see Dan Henderson slamming Rashad Evans into another Stanky Leg dance.

    Conventional wisdom would say Evans will take Hendo down and hold him there. Hendo for the KO or broke!

    Henderson, KO, Round 1

    Harris: Evans certainly has the statistical edge here, if you will. He has the better stand-up game and is probably at a general physical advantage. But here's the thing: He's been underperforming lately.

    Hendo is the consistent one here. If Evans wants to return to the elite, he'll need to fight his way there. No one's just going to assume that the good fighter he once was will simply come on back without evidence.

    Henderson, Unanimous decision