UFC 161: A Casual Fan's Guide to the Event

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIJune 15, 2013

UFC 161: A Casual Fan's Guide to the Event

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    Believe it or not, there's actually a UFC show this weekend. Not even just a free TV card, but a pay-per-view card! I know it's hard to believe given that only the true keyboard warriors have been getting hyped up for the card, but just Google UFC 161 and you'll see I'm telling the truth.

    As with any pay-per-view nowadays, drawing the casual fan continues to be one of the primary objectives for the UFC. The hardcores and guys who've "been fans since UFC 1" will drop a pretty penny to watch some fights regardless.

    Unfortunately for the UFC, this card isn't exactly must-see TV for the casual fan. Well, at least when you first look at it. But after breaking it down a bit, fans will see that there's actually plenty to be excited about on Saturday.

    Forget the X's and O's, the footwork and the inside slip. It's time to get back to the basics when looking at UFC 161.

Pat Barry vs. Shawn Jordan

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    Pat Barry

    Height:  5'11"

    Weight:  240 pounds  

    Record:  8-5 

     

    Shawn Jordan

    Height: 6'0"  

    Weight: 251 pounds  

    Record: 14-4

     

    How Do These Two Stack Up?

    Barry is a former pro kickboxer and has some of the nastiest leg kicks in the business. The man could find a second career as a lumberjack and never have to use an axe or a chainsaw.

    Jordan is a former Division I football player for LSU who played on the 2007 national championship team. Just by looking at the man, you can tell he's incredibly strong. But he's also a pretty good athlete for someone his size (he played fullback for the team). He has a pretty decent grappling game as well, thanks to working with Greg Jackson.

     

    Why Should Fans Care?

    This bout has action written all over it. Any time you get a heavyweight fight, the ending is likely to be violent and emphatic. Barry can end the fight at any moment, and Jordan has proven he can finish a fight too.

    And, apparently, we're going to see a big man do a back flip or plank in the Octagon.

Rosi Sexton vs. Alexis Davis

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    Alexis Davis 

    Height: 5'5"  

    Weight: 135 pounds

    Record: 13-5

     

    Rosi Sexton

    Height: 5'4"  

    Weight: 135 pounds  

    Record: 13-2

     

    How Do These Two Stack Up?

    Both women enter UFC 161 on some impressive rolls. Sexton has won three in a row, while Davis has won her last two. They're also talented in the ground game, as Sexton owns a brown belt in BJJ and Davis owns a black belt in BJJ along with a black belt in Japanese jiu-jitsu.

    Sexton's most infamous moment in her MMA career was when her opponent, Tomomi Sunaba, suffered a nasty ankle injury. Davis has faced stiffer competition and enjoyed some mixed success. 

     

    Why Should Fans Care?

    Women fights tend to be extremely exciting, and I don't envision this being any different. Sexton is scrappy, but this bout was undoubtedly put together to make Davis look good. She's fighting at her natural weight class, while Davis is jumping up in weight. Even if the outcome isn't in much doubt, the fight should be entertaining until that point.

Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac

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    Ryan Jimmo

    Height: 6'1"  

    Weight: 205 pounds  

    Record: 17-2

     

    Igor Pokrajac

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 205 pounds

    Record: 25-9(1) 

     

    How Do These Two Stack Up?

    Jimmo made quite the UFC debut at UFC 149, knocking out Anthony Perosh in just seven seconds. Prior to competing in the Octagon, he made a name for himself in Canada's top MMA promotion, Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC).

    Pokrajac didn't enjoy success upon making his UFC debut, as the Croation dropped his first two bouts in the Octagon. He revived his career in 2011-2012 by winning three consecutive bouts, but he finds himself in a must-win situation, as he's lost two consecutive fights (although the last loss was overturned after Joey Beltran failed a drug test).

     

    Why Should Fans Care?

    Another bout put together to seemingly make one opponent look better than the other.  

    Jimmo is one of the best prospects in the light heavyweight division, and he obviously has some explosive power in his strikes. Even though he lost against James Te-Huna in his last contest, Jimmo was able to drop Te-Huna in the first round, which is no easy feat.

    Pokrajac is tough, but fans should anticipate an explosive finish from Jimmo in this one.

Roy Nelson vs. Stipe Miocic

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    Roy Nelson

    Height: 6'0"  

    Weight: 260 pounds

    Record: 19-7 

     

    Stipe Miocic

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 240 pounds

    Record: 9-1 

     

    How Do These Two Stack Up?

    Nelson is entering the last fight of his contract, but he has been on a tear lately. "Big Country" has won three straight in the Octagon, with all wins coming via KO/TKO in the first round.

    Miocic ran an undefeated record to 9-0 prior to meeting Stefan Struve last September. He was finished by the much taller Struve and will look to get back into the win column. Miocic is a former Golden Gloves winner, and he wrestled at the Division I level, giving the Ohio native a strong skill set. 

     

    Why Should Fans Care?

    Nelson is one of the most popular fighters on the UFC's roster. He also happens to be one of the best at finishing his opponent. All of Nelson's victories in the Octagon have come via KO/TKO, and all but his victory over Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic came inside the first round.

    Miocic's skills feed right into what Nelson wants to do, which is strike. Miocic is a better athlete and has a wrestling background as well, but I fail to see it being enough to stop Big Country. Fans should anticipate another nasty KO from the man with the mullet.

Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson

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    Rashad Evans

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 205 pounds

    Record: 17-3-1 

     

    Dan Henderson

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 205 pounds

    Record: 29-9 

     

    How Do These Two Stack Up?

    Evans is a former light heavyweight champion who has enjoyed quite a bit of success since winning the second season The Ultimate Fighter as a heavyweight. However, that success hasn't come recently, as "Suga" has dropped two straight, including an ugly loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

    Henderson is one of MMA's elder statesmen, but he looks as good as ever. He still has one-punch KO power and is a former Olympic wrestler. He's also won titles in Pride FC and Strikeforce.

    While Henderson has enjoyed great success outside the Octagon, the UFC title continues to elude him. He will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Lyoto Machida earlier this year. 

     

    Why Should Fans Care?

    Henderson, like Roy Nelson, is one of the more popular stars in the UFC. Conversely, Evans is one of the more disliked fighters on the UFC's roster. Both guys hit incredibly hard and have shown to be explosive finishers in the past.

    If Evans really has rediscovered his desire for fighting, as he claims, this one should be very entertaining. Both men desperately need a win, which could lead to either man taking more chances to get the victory.