UFC 161's light heavyweight tilt figures to be one of the highlights of the young 2013 summer.
Both fighters have already established memorable legacies. Evans is a former winner of TUF and one-time light heavyweight champion with notable wins over the likes of Rampage Jackson, Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin.
Henderson is probably the best UFC fighter to never hold a title. He's made waves everywhere he's went in his career, winning the middleweight tournament at UFC 17 in 1998 and finishing Fedor Emelianenko at heavyweight in his final Strikeforce bout.
But neither of them are quite ready to call it a career just yet. Both would love nothing more than to make one more run at a championship and add another big name to their list of career victims.
So which one will come away with the win? Here's a last-minute breakdown with odds and three predictions for how UFC 161's main event will go down.
|Tale of the Tape|
|Rashad Evans||Dan Henderson|
|-140||Odds (via Bovada)||+110|
Prediction 1: This Fight Is Going The Distance
Both guys possess knockout power, yes. Henderson has used his "H-Bomb" and other weapons to finish 13 fights in his illustrious career. Evans has picked up six of his 17 wins by way of knockout in his career.
However, neither have displayed much finishing power recently. Evans hasn't finished anyone since he scored a TKO victory over Tito Ortiz in 2011. Even against an overmatched Phil Davis, he was forced to go the distance and get the win via decision.
For all the love Henderson gets for his power, his last knockout also came in 2011. And that was his heavyweight tilt with Fedor.
There will be some heavy blows landed by both guys, but there's a good chance we see this one go to the cards.
Prediction 2: Evans will Put Henderson on His Back
As much as fans want to see Evans' quickness meet Henderson's one-punch power, a considerable amount of this fight will likely be fought on the cage and on the mat.
Evans told UFC.com that he intends to finish Henderson by way of ground and pound. That could mean he's going back to his roots of wrestling—a strategy he employed brilliantly against another guy with excellent power, Rampage Jackson.
Obviously, Henderson is a lot better in the wrestling category than Jackson, but according to FightMetric, he only defends 57 percent of takedown attempts.
Shogun Rua took him down five times in their epic five-rounder. There's a good chance that Evans puts Henderson on his back a couple times throughout the fight.
Prediction 3: Evans Will Pick Up the Win
Evans and Henderson are cut from the same cloth stylistically. They both have strong wrestling backgrounds, knockout power and a tendency to stand and trade rather than utilize the wrestling.
However, the one thing that separates Henderson and Evans is the slick defense of "Suga"—both in the striking game and in avoiding takedowns.
In fairness, Henderson does have the better striking accuracy. Evans tends to throw punches in bunches without landing. But Evans ability to avoid being hit bodes well for a fighter like Henderson that loves to load up.
It's going to be an exciting fight, but Evans holds the advantage and should get the decision win.
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