UFC 161 fight card primer: Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow presents their UFC 161 fight card primer, previewing all the action at UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson. Here, we look at the main event: Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson.

This Saturday June 15, the UFC is live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson. Headlining the card will be a Light Heavyweight clash between Rashad Evans (17-3-1 MMA; 12-3-1 UFC) and Dan Henderson (29-9 MMA; 6-3 UFC). This Light Heavyweight fight wraps up the five fight UFC 161 PPV card and will only be a three round main event. The UFC rankings have Henderson as the #3 Light Heavyweight contender with Evans a few spots below at #6. UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson airs live on PPV this Saturday June 15, with the main PPV card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT.

UFC 161 is one of those shows that has ended up drastically different from what was originally planned. This main event is no exception. Originally, this was billed as UFC 161: Barao vs. Wineland, but an injury to champion Renan Barao cancelled those plans. The already scheduled Evans vs. Hendo fight was bumped up to main event status. These are two former champions in an interesting battle, so it's not a terrible fight by any means. But with both men coming off of losses, it's a hard sell as a true PPV quality main event. We'll see if the two can in fact deliver Saturday night.

How do these two stack up?

Evans: 33 years old | 5'11" | 75" reach
Henderson: 42 years old | 6'1" | 71" reach

What have these two done recently?

Evans: L - Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (UD) | L - Jon Jones (UD) | W - Phil Davis (UD)
Henderson: L - Lyoto Machida (SD) | W - Mauricio Rua (UD) | W - Fedor Emelianenko (TKO)

How did these two get here?

"Suga" Rashad Evans is the former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, but that 2008 title win has started to feel like the distant past. Undefeated when he won the belt, Evans was promptly defeated by Machida in his first title defense. The four years since have been marked largely by inactivity and frustration, as Evans has spent large amounts of time on the shelf awaiting fights with Rampage and Jones. He's now coming off the worst loss of his career, a shocking defeat at the hands of Lil Nog where Evans was unable to get any offense going. This is do or die for Evans, as the former undefeated champion could lose his third in a row here. If he wants to remain a relevant fighter, he can not let that happen.

More on UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson

Dan Henderson is another former champion, having worn gold in Pride and Strikeforce. Like Rashad, he's seen a tremendous amount of inactivity lately. Since KOing Fedor in 2011 and making the jump to the UFC, he's only fought twice. One was the epic win over Shogun, the other a dull loss to Machida. Henderson is a legend of the sport, and one who really should have received that UFC Light Heavyweight title shot that went to Chael Sonnen a few months back, but he's now stuck fighting to keep his spot at the top. At 42 years old, time is quickly ticking away on Hendo and his fabled H-Bomb. Like Evans, this is do or die time for that title shot.

Why should you care?

Because both of these men have a ton to lose. Both are major players in the landscape of MMA's rich Light Heavyweight division, and after this fight, one of them probably won't be ever again. Let's see how that plays out.

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