UFC 161 Opening Odds Breakdown: Light Heavyweights Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans

Dan HendersonUFC 161: June 15, 2013 MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Dan Henderson (-120) Profile: If you know MMA, you know Dan Henderson (29-9). He won an old-school UFC tournament back in 1998, defeated “Big Nog” to win a RINGS tournament, was the Pride middleweight and light heavyweight champ (and only MMA fighter to hold major belts in two weight classes at the same time), captured the Strikeforce light heavyweight title before beating Fedor Emelianenko in an epic heavyweight bout and has quite simply participated in some of the most legendary fights in the history of the sport. Unfortunately, a knee injury to “Hendo” also led to the cancellation of a UFC event for the first time ever, preventing him from taking on light heavyweight champ Jon Jones for the title. At 42 years of age, the clock is ticking for this MMA legend, and he is coming off a tough loss to Lyoto Machida that cost him the title shot he was mere weeks away from in 2012. UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Rashad Evans (-120) Profile: Former UFC light heavyweight champion and winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” season 2 at heavyweight, Rashad Evans (17-3-1) has been one of the more recognizable faces in the UFC over the last half decade. Evans is a true professional of the sport and helped pioneer the next level of MMA training alongside Keith Jardine at Jackson and Winklejohn’s gym in Alburqurque, New Mexico. He knocked out Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell and had a nearly spotless record before turning in lackluster performances against the champ Jones and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his last two fights. It was former training partner Jones who caused a rift between him and Jackson, leading Evans to become an integral part in the formation of the Blackzilians in Boca Raton, Florida. Evans has a dominating style of MMA wrestling to complement his ever-evolving striking. Despite being slightly undersized for a light heavyweight at 5-foot-11, he is massively powerful, although his best days could already be behind him at the age of 33. Opening UFC 161 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made this fight a pick ’em, with both Henderson and Evans opening at -120 (bet $120 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook. It’s hard to believe MMA fans will be treated to such a blockbuster matchup as a result of each fighter coming off a loss. But neither Henderson nor Evans could avoid this scenario after their uninspired efforts in their last bouts. Henderson had hoped for a title shot against Jones and simply did not do enough against Machida to earn a victory while Evans looked uninterested throughout his shocking loss to Nogueira, making bettors wonder how they could have possibly backed him in what looked like an easy spot. Both seem to be at a crossroads in their respective careers, and Henderson’s days certainly appear to be numbered at this point. Following his incredible win against Rua and more than a year off due in part to injury, “Hendo” looked flat against Machida and was outsmarted. The same could be said for Evans, who was sleepwalking against “Little Nog” and then woke up to find himself on the wrong end of a decision. There has also been talk that Evans could eventually drop to middleweight, and another loss here could help make that decision for him. An argument can be made that Henderson needs this win more because he is heading toward the end of his career. But Evans likely will not underestimate the living legend if he still wants to make noise in this division and become a force again. He can’t afford to if he wants to actualize his stated goal of an eventual rematch with Jon Jones.

Written by Matty

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