UFC 161 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Henderson vs. Evans
When Dan Henderson steps into the UFC Octagon, subtlety all but disappears. There is no misdirection in Henderson's game. He wants to hit his opponent with a big right hand. Nothing else will do. Nothing else matters.
It's a punch famous enough to have its own nickname—the H Bomb. And it deserves the notoriety. Who can forget the one he landed on Michael Bisping?
But when Henderson fails to land, he fails to win. He couldn't land the big bomb on "Suga" Rashad Evans. And that failure was the story of the fight. Evans employed a more diverse attack, kept Henderson guessing with 10 takedown attempts and won a split decision on the judges' cards.
It was a fairly lackluster fight. In a way that made it a perfect fit for such a lackluster card. The fights lacked promise on paper and didn't deliver in the cage, either.
Of course, that doesn't make every fighter a loser. There were winners who gave their all, some who won big despite getting a check in the loss column. That can happen when you show heart and guts. That's what fight fans want and separates the winners from the losers.
Click on for my take on the night's most important moments and athletes, along with complete results. Disagree? Let us know in the comments.
Loser: Roy Nelson
Roy Nelson was feeling good coming into this fight. It was the last bout on his deal with the UFC and he had an huge offer on the table. There was also the very real chance he could join his friend "King" Mo Lawal in Bellator.
In short, he was an enormous cat in a hopefully reinforced catbird seat.
Now that potential bidding war has been relegated to history. Nelson was embarrassed by Stipe Miocic, beaten to the punch over and over again and left with his jiggly belly heaving as he searched in vain for breath.
A professional of Nelson's caliber just can't come to the cage so ill-prepared to fight. Even on short notice, a pro has to be able to fight for three rounds. When he doesn't, it cheats the fans, promoters and, worse, it cheats Nelson himself.
No fighter can promise to win every time. What they can promise is to be in shape, work hard and do their very best to win. Nelson didn't do that.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
Alexis Davis and Rosi Sexton gave their all. But one thing was evident—neither stands a chance against bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
Skill-wise, the two may be in the same league. The main difference is in athleticism. Rousey is a monster—quick, strong and mean. She would run through these two. Considering they are both arguably top-10 fighters, the UFC may struggle to find appropriate opponents for its new star.
Shawn Jordan doesn't have a lot of experience in mixed martial arts. Despite 15 wins in his career, he's only been at this stuff for four years.
What he does have is a level of athleticism many MMA heavyweights are lacking.
A fullback for the 2007 LSU Tigers—national champions, my friend Matt Brown would insist I remind you—Jordan has competed with some of the nation's best athletes.
Considering the level of competiton he's gone one-on-one with on the gridiron, why shouldn't he beat the likes of Pat Barry? At 28, Jordan is coming into his own at exactly the right time. In a division light on talent, he's automatically a very interesting prospect.
Winner: The UFC
I can remember, not that many years ago, when the UFC Octagon was decorated with a collection of low-rent sponsors. When the company wasn't thinking about synergies and branding...they were just trying to keep the lights on.
I don't want to call anyone out, but I'm looking at you, Mickey's Malt Liquor.
My, have times changed! At UFC 161, the ultimate in family-friendly logos and corporate America symbolism was on the floor of the iconic cage—Disney. Simply put, it doesn't get much bigger, or much more mainstream, than that.
People, I think this sport is going to make it after all.
Losers: Last-Minute PPV Buys
The 15-minute snooze-fest between Tyron Woodley and Jake Shields, FX's main event, was the worst bout of the night. And it couldn't have come at a worse time. The final bout on free television was/is the UFC's last chance to sell casual viewers on dropping big cash on a pay-per-view that had "meh" written all over it.
Shields and Woodley did nothing to change any minds.
It was supposed to be Shields' veteran savvy and submission prowess against Woodley's youth, wrestling and sheer burliness. Instead, we got two guys terrified to engage.
Shields walked out of the cage with a split-decision win that enraged UFC President Dana White. But the truth? Neither man won that fight. And neither did the fans and crowd.
Loser: Sam Stout
Sam Stout is an experienced veteran of more than a dozen UFC fights. He knows the deal...he knows you can sway the judges with a quick takedown at the end of a round. In a back-and-forth five minutes, it can be the difference between 10 and nine points.
Stout wanted 10 at the end of the third round against newcomer James Krause in a close fight. With the decision in mind, Stout put Krause on his back to close the round. Check and mate.
But instead of gaining a point, he paid a dear price. Krause locked in a guillotine, snatching victory from the jaws of possible defeat.
It was an impressive showing. Krause used angles well and disrupted Stout's normally potent standup attack. Stout isn't a world-beater, but he's a real fighter. It bodes well for Krause's future in the Octagon.
Winners: Roland Delorme and Edwin Figueroa
Edwin Figueroa seemed to be figuring Roland Delorme out. After surviving the grappling machine's ground-and-pound, not to mention his triangle, heel hook and choke attempts, Figueroa was wailing away with punches from half guard when the bell rang, signalling the end of the third round—and the fight.
For Figueroa, a scrappy action fighter, it must have been a painful sound. Delorme was exhausted and the Texan was finally having his way. But it was too little, too late. Delorme was awarded a 29-28 decision on all three judges' scorecards.
His grappling prowess allowed him to control much of the fight. Combined with aggressive submission attempts, it was fight math that was too much for Figueroa to overcome.
The official result, however, is only part of the story. Both fighters were impressive and earned another fight in the big show. More than that, it was just the kind of fight the crowd needed after the abysmal undercard action that preceded it on Facebook.
Rashad Evans defeats Dan Henderson via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Stipe Miocic defeats Roy Nelson via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Ryan Jimmo defeats Igor Pokrajac via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Alexis Davis defeats Rosi Sexton via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-28)
Shawn Jordan defeats Pat Barry via TKO at 0:59 of Round 1
Jake Shields defeats Tyron Woodley via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
James Krause defeats Sam Stout via submission at 4:47 of Round 3
Sean Pierson defeats Kenny Robertson via majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
Roland Delorme defeats Edwin Figueroa via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Mitch Clarke defeats John Maguire via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Yves Jabouin defeats Dustin Pague via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)