Before mainstream mixed martial arts touches down in Canada for the fourteenth time, the pro fighters have gathered to give their predictions for the marquee match-up, when the former light-heavyweight titleholder “Suga” Rashad Evans looks to make a turnaround in his career against Dan Henderson. They’re all set to slug it out this Saturday (June 15, 2013) at UFC 161: “Evans vs. Henderson” on pay-per-view from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Check out what the pros have predicted for Suga vs. Hendo, the main event that goes down this weekend.
Urijah Faber is now set to face rising Brazilian bantamweight in Yuri Alcantara at UFC on FOX Sports 1: Rua vs. Sonnen in Boston. “The California Kid” makes his prediction for Evans vs Henderson on Saturday (via MMAInterviews):
“That’s gonna be a hard one to call. It’s hard for me to count Dan Henderson out. He’s such a savage dude, he’s mentally the toughest guy in our sport. I’ve known him for a very long time. Unless something crazy happens, it’s gone be a back and forth battle, but I want to give Dan Henderson the edge.”
Randy Couture, the former UFC heavyweight and light-heavyweight champion spoke with FightHubTV and shared his thoughts on his former training partner’s upcoming pay-per-view headliner.
“It’s an interesting fight. Obviously I am great friends with Dan. He and I started this sport at the same time, over fifteen years ago. He’s been competing at a really high level. I’m very excited to see the way he’s been taking care of business. I thought he actually won the Machida fight, itt was a very good fight. Rashad’s a tough customer, any time you got a guy who brings a solid wrestling base to his fighting style like Rashad does it’s hard for guys like myself and Dan, who come from that wrestling background, to deal with. Dan always has a great equalizer in that right hand. But Rashad is athletic, he’s not a dumb guy. He’s not gonna stand around and trade punches with Dan Henderson. It will be a very interesting test for Dan, I think he has all the tools he needs. He’s gotta go out and impose his will on Rashad, get his hands on Rashad. I think, and tie Rashad up, force Rashad to scramble, force Rashad to work from those attached positions. Whether t be on the ground, in the clinch, against the fence and land his shots when he gets the opportunity to get into that range. I like Dan’s chances in that fight.”
As difficult as it is to understand the English of “The Axe Murderer,” it is very easy to like Wanderlei Silva. Soft-spoken and not so brash behind the scenes, the Axe Murderer is one of the most fearsome competitors today. He showed he can still offer a jaw-dropping fight of the year candidate with Brian Stann at UFC on Fuel TV 8. Silva is on the fence, but feels the fight isn’t going to be one to miss (via MMA Interviews).
“I think it’s a great match. Lyoto is not a good match for anybody. I think these guys are going to make an incredible show. Both guys have good hands, and both guys are wrestlers. This fight is 50/50.”
Matt Mitrione started his UFC career with no pro experience after breaking out on TUF 10 under head coach Evans, who Mitrione believes in going into Saturday’s big 205- pound showdown. Mitrione is set to face fellow Ultimate Fighter alumni Brendan Schaub in July on FOX. “Meathead” gave his prediction (via FightHubTV):
“I train with Rashad. I don’t know anything about his camp at all. I’d like to think Rashad has been athletic this entire camp – staying on his toes,Â jumping rope – doing a lot of wrestling. I think Rashad can win. Hendo is obviously dangerous in a lot of different ways. Everybody knows what he’s gonna bring to the table. I think Rashad is incredibly athletic and very quick. As long as he’s been athletic this entire camp and not been trying to grind and bang, he can pull off a great victory. I think it’s gonna be on the ground. If Rashad’s been working on his wrestling and went back to his roots it will be on the ground. If not, it could be a rough night.”
Kenny Florian is the only fighter to compete in four weight classes in the UFC. Now retired, Florian was on UFC Tonight and had his prediction for this weekend’s main event.
“I got to go with Rashad,Â I hate making a prediction for this fight, but I think Rashad’s gonna take this one.”
Glover Teixeira has been red hot during his time in the UFC and currently on a 19-fight win streak. Teixeira spoke with Spencer Lazara of MMA Interviews and thinks the former UFC light-heavyweight champ has to go for it.
“Rashad moves well, and I think Rashad will win. But I don’t know, he didn’t look that great in his last fight. Maybe he was hurt or something? If he comes like that, then I think Dan Henderson will win.”
Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis lost a five-round unanimous decision to Suga in January of last year at the second installment of UFC on FOX, which was the last time Evans has found victory in the Octagon. Davis is set to try and stop the karate of Lyoto Machida at UFC 163: Aldo vs. Pettis in August. Mr. Wonderful shares his prediction with MMA Interviews for Evans vs. Henderson this Saturday:
“Very interesting match-up. I’m kinda iffy on it. Hendo is one of those guys, he’s so darn good at that overhand right. If he touches you with it, you’re going to sleep. Simple as that. That’s a blessing and a curse in a lot of ways. Rashad is a tactician. He’s gonna take the approach Machida did, try to move around and get away from that overhand right. I’m going to give the edge to Dan Henderson, even though Rashad’s a little bit younger and quicker. I don’t think he’s stronger. I’m gonna give it to Dan.”
Jake Ellenberger will fight Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 8 next month. “The Juggernaut” is coming off a violent knockout win over Nate Marquardt at UFC 158, which put him right back in the mix in talks for a title shot. Ellenberger makes his prediction (via MMA Interviews) for the upcoming marquee match-up between Suga and Hendo:
“I have trained with Dan Henderson before. He is a monster, he’s dangerous. Both guys could win that fight. I’m probably going to have to go with Dan. I don’t even have to talk about what he’s done. He is a hard guy to beat. We’ll see. I know he’s hungry, he’s antsy to get back in there. It’s gonna be a good fight, but I’m leaning toward Henderson.”
“Dan Henderson, he’s been wrestling since he was 5-years old. He knows what he’s good at, he possesses wrestling, so you’re gonna see some wrestling from him. But also, you’re gonna see fireworks from him. You’re gonna see his right hand, his relentlessness in the clinch, with cage work, even some ground and pound. I believe if he can keep the distance and look for times when he can land that overhand right, he’ll have his way with the fight. On the flip side, Rashad’s gotta use his elusiveness. He’s gotta use his movement to hide behind his devastating punches. We’ve seen knockout power with Rashad. But that only happens when he’s able to move and evade punches and counter with an overhand right or left hook. He’s really good at that, and he’s been exemplifying some wrestling along the way, as well. So if he can capitalize on times where Dan Henderson is throwing that overhand right – duck under it – look to take him down, control him on the ground. He can have the nod there. I’m a fan of both guys”
The pros have prognosticated it to be a toss up between Evans and Henderson this weekend.
Find out who else is fighting on the card by clicking here.