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Friday, 06/14/2013, 03:35 pm

UFC 161 Main-Card Fight Predictions with BJPenn.com’s Jake Chastain

By JAKE CHASTAIN

UFC 161: “Evans vs. Henderson” takes place tomorrow (June 15th, 2013) at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. All fighters made their contracted weights on their first attempts and will be set to scrap inside the octagon tomorrow night in Canada for the UFC 161 event. The main-event of the evening is set be a light-heavyweight fight between two top contenders in Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans. Don’t miss the event tomorrow (prelims on FB & FX and the main card on PPV) and for all the live updates, play-by-plays, and recaps for UFC 161 click here and stay posted to BJPenn.com. 

Here are some of my breakdowns and predictions for the main-card bouts heading in to tomorrow night’s event:

Pat Barry (8-5 MMA) vs. Shawn Jordan (11-4 MMA) – Heavyweight Bout

The main card is going to kick off with a bang as two power-striking, athletic heavyweights are set to go to war as Pat Barry (8-5 MMA) will take on Shawn Jordan (14-4). Both men are heading into this fight riding knock-out victories from their last bouts and each will be looking to string together consecutive victories with a win tomorrow night. This is a tough pick to predict because the clash of styles is going to make for a lopsided fight, in my opinion.  Barry is a scary striking expert and Jordan has a very solid wrestling background with the athleticism to back up those skills. The only question is which fighter is going to have the advantage?

Prediction: I see the two coming out and feeling each other out for the first minute or two. Faints and single strikes will be thrown to gauge the reactions of the other man. I think that once the first combos are thrown the fight is going to really pick up. About halfway through the first round I see Pat Barry landing a nice kick-punch combo that lands and rocks Jordan, who immediately resorts to his wrestling background. Jordan, once he regains his wits, will land a takedown and end the round on top. This will be a tough round to score but I think Barry edges him out with heavier strikes landed. Barry takes Round 1, 10-9.

The second round will start with Jordan again trying to clinch and score takedowns, but this time Barry will defend and as the two break Barry will land a couple more shots and then about halfway through the second round will land a clean overhand strike that will drop Jordan. Barry will smother Jordan from there and the ref will have to stop in and call the fight. Barry walks away from this fight with a TKO of Shawn Jordan and claims his first back-to-back wins in the UFC.

Pat Barry Wins via TKO in the 2nd Round

Alexis Davis (13-5 MMA) vs. Rosi Sexton (13-2 MMA) – Women’s Bantamweight Bout

Both women are making their UFC debuts and because they have drawn a main-card bout the two will likely be ready to put on a good show. Davis (13-5 MMA) has the bigger name and has fought more notable competition but Sexton (13-2 MMA) is very skilled in many areas of the fight game as well. Alexis Davis is a black-belt in BJJ and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and will more than likely hold the advantage on the ground, although Sexton, who is a brown-belt in BJJ, is also skilled in the grappling department. Davis comes in ranked higher in the women’s world rankings but won’t have an easy fight against Sexton. I think that Davis will hold a slight advantage in the striking department as well, as she is a proven Muay Thai competitor. This fight, because these women are both making their UFC debuts, is a tough fight to call. Here is my predicition.

Prediction: I see both women coming out on fire, swinging with bad intentions. No feeling out process, no touching of the gloves, just punches with heat behind them. I think Davis will get the better of the opening exchange and Sexton will try to close the gap and clinch. She wont fair well there either as Davis, who is the bigger fighter coming into the fight, will hit a nice throw and land her into the guard of Sexton. From there Davis will land a few strikes, nothing damaging, but will focus on passing the guard of Sexton. As Davis advances to side control Sexton will try to roll out and, in the process, will give up her back. Davis, being the black-belt and stronger grappler, will take her back, sink both hooks in, soften Sexton up with some punches before sinking in a rear-naked choke and claiming a submission victory in the first round.

Alexis Davis Wins via Submission in the 1st Round

Ryan Jimmo (17-2 MMA) vs. Igor Pokrajac (25-9, 1 NC MMA) – Light Heavyweight Bout

This is another tough bout to predict. Both men are very well versed and have proven themselves in the sport. They both like to stand and bang and I think that’s exactly what is going to happen in this fight. Both men are coming off of losses (Igor is coming off of a NC to Joey Beltran and a loss before that to Vinny Magalhaes) and will likely need a win in this fight to keep their UFC careers alive. Jimmo may have a slight advantage in the wrestling department but, like I stated before, I think this is going to be a stand up war.

Prediction: I see the first round showcasing just how tough both men are as they meet in the middle, exchange with both men landing some big blows but I see Jimmo coming out with the cleaner jab which eventually begins to pick Pokrajac apart and set up his power combos. The end of  the round will come to a close with both men cut and bleeding but with Igor catching the majority of the damage in the round. Round one goes to Jimmo, 10-9.

The second round will open with Igor stepping up the pace of the fight and really getting in the face of Jimmo. The added pressure will lead to more clinching in this round. I think that Pokrajac will find more success from the closed distance with his clinch and will continue to try to score points with dirty-boxing against the fence. This round will be mostly Igor trying to keep Jimmo against the cage and scoring from the clinch. Jimmo will continue to try to get his back off of the cage and keep the fight at a distance, but Igor won’t allow it. I see Pokrajac taking round two with dirty-boxing from the clinch and octagon control, 10-9.

The third and final round will see Igor again coming out and trying to go for the clinch and dirty-boxing but the fresh start and advice from Jimmo’s corner has helped him fight off the attack of Pokrajac this time around. With Igor’s unsuccessful clinch Jimmo will take advantage and land some good, clean strikes from the outside. Pokrajac will begin looking defeated and tired and Jimmo continues shrugging off the clinch and landing quick 1-2’s from the outside. The round will end with Jimmo turning up the pace and landing huge shots but it won’t be enough to finish Igor before the horn sounds to signal the close of the fight. I think that Jimmo wins this round, 10-9, and in turn takes the victory in this fight.

Ryan Jimmo Wins via Unanimous Decision

Roy Nelson (20-7 MMA) vs. Stipe Miocic(9-1 MMA)- Heavyweight Bout

This is a very intriguing fight for the fans and for the company because regardless of who wins this fight it sets up a lot of future match-ups in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Nelson is currently riding a three-fight wining streak and was recently told that he would get a rematch with Fabricio Werdum if he wins this fight. His power, experience, and grappling make him one of the most feared competitors in the division and, although this is the last fight on his UFC contract, is really only two wins away from a UFC heavyweight title shot. Standing in his way of the rematch with Werdum if Stipe Miocic. Miocic is a heavy handed, quick striker as well. He has scored two KO victories inside the octagon and, after coming off of the first loss of his career to Stefan Struve, Miocic is looking to catapult himself into the upper ranks of the UFC’s heavyweight division with an upset over Nelson. A win over Big Country will surely break him into the top 10, but that is no easy task. Here is my prediction for this bout:

Prediction: Many people think that this fight will end quickly. I, on the other hand, think that Miocic is going to come out and shock a lot of people. I see him coming out and pressuring Roy Nelson with his speed and aggression. His quick jab is going to keep Nelson off balance and uncomfortable for most of the first round. Miocic will methodically back Nelson down to the cage with his octagon control and when Nelson has his back to the cage Stipe will rattle off some very nice combos that land and score big time. However, Nelson’s chin is one of the best we’ve ever seen and as the horn sounds and Miocic clearly wins the round in dominant fashion, Nelson will walk to his corner seemingly un-phased. Miocic clearly wins round one with superior striking, 10-9.

Round two will begin with much of the same. Miocic will come out and bring the pressure to Nelson, trying to back him down against the cage again. But when Miocic looks to be finding his comfort zone Nelson is going to land a huge overhand that will back Miocic off. All the sudden the fight tempo has shifted and Nelson is the one doing the stalking. Miocic will try to keep Roy at bay with quick straights and jabs but Nelson walks right through it and lands another overhand that drops Miocic. Nelson, hovering over the top of the dazed Miocic, will land a few more big, clean shots that will turn Stipe’s lights out. Roy Nelson walks away from this fight with another huge KO victory.

Roy Nelson wins via KO in the 2nd Round

Dan Henderson (29-9 MMA) vs. Rashad Evans(22-3-1 MMA)- Light Heavyweight Bout

And now, for the main-event of the evening! Dan Henderson is a legend of the sport and really needs no introduction. He’s an amazing wrestler, with a preference for Greco-Roman, and has amazing power, especially in his right hand. Henderson, though, has been known to tire out and slow down immensely toward the end of fights. That could play a huge factor in this bout. Evans is also an amazing wrestler with quick strikes, great head movement, and some of the best footwork in MMA. Many fans have voiced their displeasure with Rashad’s approach and style of fighting but you can’t deny that the kid is one of the most well rounded fighters in the sport. He took minimal damage in his title fight with Jon Jones and has defeated many of the best fighters in the organization. AND his gas-tank rarely runs low, which could spell trouble for Hendo if this fight goes into the later rounds. Here is my prediction for the main event of UFC 161.

Prediction: I think that the first round is going to be fairly uneventful. I see the two coming out and Henderson immediately looking to land his overhand right, but it’s not even going to come close as Rashad is going to bob-and-weave his way to safety for much of the round. Rashad is going to land a couple small jabs, duck out of the way of Henderson’s strikes and look for a takedown, unsuccessfully. The round is going to close with Henderson chasing down Evans but Evans’ speed and footwork are going to prove too slick for Henderson at the start of the bout. Rashad takes round one, 10-9.

The second round will see Henderson come out much more patient, coaxing Rashad to stand in the middle of the octagon to scrap there, understanding that chasing him down, like he tried to when he fought Machida, is only going to work against him. In waiting for Rashad, Henderson will avoid an Evans strike and gain a clinch in the process. He’ll land a nice knee to the body of Evans as they break and Rashad will get the message that he doesn’t want to be in that position with Dan. Henderson will continue to wait for Rashad to come to him and Rashad will reamin fairly passive, moving his head and utilizing his beautiful footwork while looking for that slight opening to attack. As Hendo begins to move forward again Rashad will land a nice 1-2-3, head-body-head combo that will be, up to this point, the most significant strikes landed in the fight. Henderson, unshaken but clearly irritated that Rashad is seeing success with his game plan, will being marching down Evans again, throwing big strikes but not landing anything cleanly. Evans will circle out of danger, cut an angle and land another big strike as the horn sounds to close round two. Rashad takes this round as well, 10-9, and is now winning the fight 2 rounds to none.

The third round will begin with Henderson quickly closing the space and cutting off the octagon for Rashad. Evans will try to throw some half-hearted strikes to move Dan back but Henderson moves right through them and lands a big combo of his own. Evans circles out, clearly feeling Henderson’s power in that exchange, and begins dancing again, keeping distance from Henderson as much as possible. Henderson again tries to cut off the octagon and Rashad is now not playing his counter-striking game but is rather just playing defense now. Hendo senses the change in Rashad’s approach and turns up his pace. Rashad throws another 1-2, Henderson eats it again and lands a big overhand of his own. Rashad is rocked and tries to circle around the cage but Dan is in his face. Rashad takes a shot, Henderson stuffs it, pulls it up to a clinch and then lands a nice trip of his own against the cage. Evans, using the fence to immediately get back up, is starting to look flustered. As Rashad tries to pummel into under-hooks Hendo lands a nice knee to the body and then drops Rashad with an elbow over the top. Evans crumples and covers. Hendo continues unloading, gets one, then two more strikes through and the referee steps in to stop the fight. Dan Henderson is walking away from UFC 161 with TKO victory and a possible number one contender spot in the future.

Dan Henderson Wins via TKO Stoppage in the 3rd Round

For all the real UFC live results, play-by-plays, and fight recaps click here and be sure to stay posted to BJPenn.com

-Jake Chastain

@jchastain45

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