The weigh-ins for Saturday’s UFC 161 fight card have come to a close, and all fighters have made weight. In less than 24 hours, the 11 contests on the card will begin, culminating with a main event between light heavyweights Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson.
Even though the bout is the main event, it will be contested over three rounds, not five. The fight was originally the co-main event and moved to main event status after an injury cancelled the original main event. Due to that fact, the fight will be three rounds.
Both Evans and Henderson enter the contest coming off lackluster performances. Evans dropped a unanimous decision to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156, while Henderson lost a decision to Lyoto Machida at UFC 157.
Evans looked uninspired in his loss, acknowledging that he did “stink up the joint” in the Machida fight. However, Evans also said he addressed those issues and has moved past that fight.
Henderson’s performance was affected by the fact that he was facing an opponent that preferred to counter strike, something that Henderson seemed to have a difficult time adapting to over the course of the fight.
Henderson and his “H-Bomb” right hand give him the advantage in knockout potential, but Evans has a solid striking defense, avoiding 65 percent of his opponent’s attempted significant strikes.
Both fighters have shown they can take a punch. Between the two, there is a single knockout defeat. That loss is on Evans’ record—a second round knockout at the hands of Lyoto Machida. That knockout ended Evans’ reign as UFC light heavyweight champion.
Both fighters have a strong wrestling base, but Evans is much more prone to use those skills. His 49 career takedowns are the most ever in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Henderson’s takedown defense is average at 57 percent, so the odds favor Evans in the wrestling department.
To break the fight down in the simplest of terms, Evans needs to circle away from the right hand of Henderson, take the fight to the mat, maintain top control and use his ground and pound. If the right hand of Henderson does catch Evans, it could very well be lights out for the former UFC champ.
Full UFC 161 weigh-in results:
Rashad Evans (206) vs. Dan Henderson (204)
Stipe Miocic (243) vs. Roy Nelson (260)
Ryan Jimmo (206) vs. Igor Pokrajac (206)
Alexis Davis (134) vs. Rosi Sexton (135.5)
Pat Barry (245) vs. Shawn Jordan (248)
Jake Shields (171) vs. Tyron Woodley (171)
James Krause (155.5) vs. Sam Stout (156)
Sean Pierson (170.5) vs. Kenny Robertson (170.5)
Roland Delorme (136) vs. Edwin Figueroa (135)
Mitch Clarke (155.5) vs. John Maguire (155)
Yves Jabouin (136) vs. Dustin Pague (135.5)