UFC 161: Picking Winners for Biggest Fights of the Night

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IJune 14, 2013

Jun 14, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson square off during the weigh in at UFC 161 at the MTS Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson headline UFC 161, but the card for Saturday night's big event in Manitoba is full of exciting matches.

Roy Nelson will take a three-match winning streak into the ring to face Stipe Miocic, who is coming off a disappointing loss to Stefan Struve. This heavyweight bout has a chance to steal the thunder of Evans vs. Hendo, as both fighters have shown a propensity for knocking out their opponents.

Another match that could generate a lot of buzz post-fight is the one featuring Ryan Jimmo and Igor Pokrajac. Both fighters are veterans who have a bad taste in their mouths after recent losses. 

The action starts on UFC's Facebook page at 7 p.m. ET for the first two preliminary fights. FX will then carry the next four fights starting at 8 p.m. ET, setting up the pay-per-view main card at 10 p.m. ET.

Here is a closer look at the biggest fights of the night, along with a prediction about how things will shake out in those fights.


Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson

One of the top fighters in the light-heavyweight division at one point in his career, Evans still knows how to put on a show. Unfortunately, he hasn't fared well of late, losing his last two fights to Jon Jones (not a surprise) and Antônio Rogério Nogueira.

Henderson—a living legend—is also coming off a tough loss to Lyoto Machida. Judges gave that match to Machida in a split decision. 

Surprisingly, this will be the first time these two fighters have squared off. 

Evans is the more well-rounded fighter, excelling both on the mat and as a striker. Henderson is an accomplished wrestler who must take the fight to the mat to win.

Prediction: Evans will win a unanimous decision.


Roy Nelson vs. Stipe Miocic

My personal favorite for "Fight of the Night" honors, this bout features two dangerous big men who have a knack for catching opponents off guard with brutal strikes.

Nelson is by far the more experienced fighter, with 26 matches under his belt. He's lost seven fights throughout his career and won by way of knockout 12 times out of his 19 victories.

Miocic is a relative newcomer to the UFC, having signed on just two years ago.

During his two-year run, Miocic has lost just one fight—his second-round knockout loss to Struve last September being the only mark against him. He packs a powerful punch and possesses excellent instincts, having won by way of knockout seven out of nine times.

Prediction: Miocic will win by way of knockout in the second round. 


Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac

Jimmo has only lost two fights in his career—his first fight and his last.

He nearly had James Te Huna dead to rights in the first round this past February after nailing him with a head kick, but Te Huna bounced back marvelously to control the fight with his wrestling in the final two rounds.

In his favor will be the home crowd, as Jimmo is Canadian-born and has many supporters in the Great White North.

Pokrajac is much more experienced than Jimmo with 35 professional fights under his belt. His repertoire of skills is vast, and he knows how to win fights in just about every conceivable manner. 

That said, Pokrajac has been extremely up and down in his past few years, winning just half of his fights since September of 2009. 

Prediction: Jimmo will rebound with a win by way of decision


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