Free UFC 161 Picks: Rashad Evans (-125) vs. Dan Henderson (+105)

Rashad EvansUFC 161 MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Saturday, June 15, 2013 Light heavyweight bout: Rashad Evans (-125) vs. Dan Henderson (+105) Fight Breakdown: The main event of UFC 161 is a three-round light heavyweight bout between Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson. Evans is currently a -125 betting favorite (bet $125 to win $100), while Henderson is a +105 underdog (bet $100 to win $105) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Evans (17-3-1) is the former UFC light heavyweight champion and is one of the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artists in the world. But he’s coming off an extremely disappointing decision loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueria at UFC 156 and it’s led myself and many others to question his motivation in the sport. Still, the 33-year-old has all the makings of an elite fighter — great wrestling, knockout power, speed, athleticism, etc. — and he should be the favorite in almost every fight he has. Against Henderson, Evans is going up against another solid wrestler, but one with some of the most vicious knockout power the sport has ever seen. Evans will need to use his takedowns and get this fight to the ground because it’s not worth taking the risk of standing and trading with a guy like Henderson who can knock his head off. As long as Evans is motivated and fights smart, I think a wrestling-heavy approach is exactly what he’ll look to do, and it should be enough to win him this three-round fight on the judges’ scorecards. Henderson (29-9) is a legend of mixed martial arts as he’s got one of the best combinations of wrestling and knockout power the sport has ever seen. The 42-year-old is coming off a disappointing split decision loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 157 but many including myself thought that Henderson deserved to win that stinker on the strength of his aggressiveness alone as Machida really didn’t do much of anything in that fight. And had he won that decision, Henderson would be on a five-fight win streak right now and we’d all be talking about him as the next challenger to Jon Jones. But he didn’t, and now Henderson has to beat Evans to prove he deserves that crack at the title. Henderson needs to keep this fight on the feet and he needs to get the knockout because his entire career is depending on it. Fight Prediction: If Evans is motivated to get back into the win column, then this is fight to lose. He’s much younger, faster, and more athletic than Henderson and unless he gets caught with the H-bomb — a very real possibility, to be sure — then he should be able to use his wrestling advantage to get the takedowns and win rounds on the judges scorecards. But it all depends on Evans’ motivation. Adam’s Pick: Evans via decision (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: After his last performance, I find it hard to lay my money on Evans. Although I believe he has enough edges and should get the victory here, the fight is going to be very competitive and it wouldn’t shock me at all if he got knocked out. So I’m going to recommend a pass even though Evans is only a -125 favorite, just because I can see Henderson catching him with that big right hand of his and putting his lights out, so laying the slight juice on Evans is just a risk I’d rather not take.

Written by Adam Martin.

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Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson – UFC 161 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

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