Evans v Henderson

Pinnacle

UFC 161 sees Dan Henderson take on Rashad Evans in a light heavyweight bout at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on June 15th. Both fighters come into the fight from a loss – who will put their career back on track?

 

Evans favourite against big punching Henderson

Rashad ‘Suga’ Evans is the 1.870* favourite with Pinnacle Sports to beat veteran Dan ‘Hendo’ Henderson 2.040* in the light heavyweight three-round Main Event at UFC 161.

American Evans (17-3-1) is a former UFC light heavyweight champion, but after winning four straight bouts, he fell short against unbeaten champion Jon Jones and then lost against Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156. A third straight loss for the 33-year-old who dominated the 205-pound division four years ago, could spell disaster.

42-year-old Henderson (29-9-0) was on target to earn a UFC light heavyweight championship bout but had his plans derailed when he lost a split decision to Lyoto Machida at UFC 157. That defeat ended his four-fight winning streak that included his gruelling win over Mauricio Rua at UFC 139.

Despite both fighters coming into the fight after a loss, Henderson had not fought for over a year before defeat against Machida. As a 15-year veteran, injuries may be starting to take their toll.

Both fighters have fought at heavyweight in the past but are most comfortable at the 205lb limit. The American rivals employ orthodox stance, however Suga holds a 4″ (75″) reach advantage, while Hendo is the slightly taller of the fighters.

 

‘Banger’ Henderson looking for knockout

In the build-up to the fight both Evans and Henderson have stated their intentions in terms of striking.

Suga says he has no interest in a stand-up war with Henderson, so expect him to focus on a takedown-heavy approach. In comparison, Hendo’s target is to knock Evans out.

If he does, he will become only the second man – after Lyoto Machida KO’d Evans back at UFC 98 – to stop Evans in his MMA career. Henderson certainly has the capability to finish Evans, having demonstrated throughout his career that he has hands heavy enough to floor the best – boasting knockouts of Michael Bisping, Wanderlei Silva and Fedor Emelianenko, among others.

In terms of striking styles, both prefer to use fists rather than kicks, and while both possess power, Henderson (13 KO wins) is more explosive.

Hendo is known for his H-bomb – a devastating right hand that has knocked out 12 of his 38 opponents. The veteran has great head and body movement, exquisite timing and often looks to get on the inside to deliver brutal punches.

Suga fights with a similar style and has durable boxing skills, looking to get on the inside of his opponents to launch an attack or set up a takedown.

Henderson lands 2.46 strikes per minute with an accuracy of 49%, which is slightly more than Evans (2.06 strikes with 38% degree of accuracy). 35% (6 KO wins) of his wins have come via knockout compared to 44% for Henderson.

In terms of defense, Evans absorbs fewer punches (2.18) and has a better defence (65%) than Henderson.

 

Suga searching for takedown number 50

Evans heads into the fight needing just one more takedown for 50 career takedowns – he averages 3.54 takedowns per 15 minutes with 51% accuracy.

Both fighters have solid wrestling bases. Henderson however, rarely wrestles despite having the more prodigious wrestling background – appearing at two Olympic events in the 1990s.

Evans has a masterful wrestling technique and is renowned for his takedowns and speed. In his career Suga has dominated other UFC wrestlers such as Phil Davis.

Neither fighter is renowned for their submissions. Evans has tapped out two fighters in his career, while Henderson has been submitted three times and submitted two fighters. Both won their fights via submissions very early in their careers.

 

Strength & Conditioning

In recent fights, both men have looked out of shape and struggled to keep the pace for the distance. Despite this, Evans has won nine fights on decision, losing just the two, while Hendo has won 14 fights on the judge’s scorecards and lost six.

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