Rashad Evans has secured more than half of his wins by decision. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Dan Henderson’s legacy lacks only one significant piece, an Ultimate Fighting Championship title, and Rashad Evans would like nothing more than to deny him the opportunity yet again.
Evans will lock horns with the two-time Olympian in the UFC 161 headliner on Saturday at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The 42-year-old Henderson has won four of his past five bouts, a run of success that includes victories over Fedor Emelianenko and Mauricio Rua. Evans, meanwhile, finds himself on a two-fight losing streak for the first time in his career.
Sherdog.com touched base with a number of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the UFC 161 main event:
J.J. Ambrose: Stylistically, both fighters are very similar: world-class wrestling and unorthodox but solid boxing. I give the edge on knockout power and chin to Henderson. I’m going with Henderson via great fight and hard-won decision.
Jeff Hougland: I think Rashad will win. I think Dan would have won if they fought a couple of years ago. Rashad is still looking fast and athletic, where Dan seems to be slowing down. Rashad wins by unanimous decision.
Igor Araujo: I’m 50/50 on this fight, but I have to pick someone, so I’ll go with Rashad by decision.
Benji Radach: Hendo! Hendo! Hendo!
Mike Ciesnolevicz: I think the smart money is on Evans to use his youth, wrestling and athleticism to steal a decision in this fight with takedowns. My heart says Henderson by H-bomb. If Rashad fights like he did in his last two fights that could very well happen. I am going to pick Henderson to win by TKO within two rounds.
Ricardo Liborio: Rashad wins by decision.
Joe Duarte: Henderson is the only person in the world who can actually give 110 percent. Dan wins by decision.
Keith Berry: I say Rashad by decision. He’s just too athletic for Henderson, even though I wouldn’t be mad if I saw an H-bomb land clean.
Luke Barnatt: Rashad via being a bad man. He’s just more versatile.
Caros Fodor: Going with Dan for this one. It is possible Rashad could wrestle with him, but I think they will strike. When that happens, I think the odds for a knockout are in Dan’s favor, for sure. Henderson has never been knocked out and can sleep anyone with his right hand, so I’m giving him the advantage.
Steven Siler: This is going to be a great fight. Both have power in their hands and both are tough wrestlers. It’s really tough to pick against either guy, but I’ll have to go with Henderson because I flipped a coin and he won.
Gilbert Smith: I am going with “Suga.” I have been riding with him since “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 2, when he started break dancing in the middle of the fight, which pissed Matt Hughes off and got him called out for showboating. I think what it comes down to is that Rashad is a lot faster and willing to mix up his strikes and his wrestling. All he has to do is watch out for the H-bomb and he should have a good win over a very tough and legendary fighter.
Nam Phan: Rashad wins by unanimous decision. He’s too fast.
Mark Bocek: Henderson by KO.
Colton Smith: Henderson is the man. He can land the H-bomb in any round. With that said, as long as Rashad keeps it on offense, he’ll outpoint Henderson to a decision.
Travis Wiuff: I will never pick against Henderson. I’m taking him by decision in a close fight where not many takedowns happen and they have mostly a standup battle.
Johny Hendricks: Well, I’m going with Rashad. I think he will stay away from Dan and win a decision.
Javier Vazquez: It’s going to be a tough one for Dan. Rashad is younger, faster and he is an amazing wrestler. Let’s see if Dan still has it. I’m leaning toward Rashad by decision.
Eric Prindle: Henderson wins by decision.
John Gunderson: I’m going with Rashad. I think he will come in on a mission to prove his last few fights were minor setbacks, and he is in the top five. Henderson is a legend and one of the greatest fighters of our time, but if Rashad pushes the pace and comes forward looking for a finish, he can get it. Rashad is the second most athletic light heavyweight in the world; he just needs to bite down on his mouthpiece and go for it.
Robert Drysdale: Rashad wins.
Georgi Karakhanyan: I’m picking Henderson by unanimous decision.
Erik Paulson: This should be a good fight. Both are tough strikers and both are great wrestlers -- the difference being Greco-Roman versus collegiate style; one is more upper body, the other more lower body. I guess game plan, strategy and tactics are going to be the ground breakers. Whose will and conditioning will be best?
Kyle Kingsbury: Henderson by KO.
Pros Picking Henderson: 12
Pros Picking Evans: 11
No Pick: 1
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