UFC 161 looked to be a great card on paper when it was announced months back, we had Renen Barao defending his title, Little Nog battling Shogun, Henderson vs Machida and more! Then the injury bug hit and it hit HARD! Barao went down first then Isaac Vallie Flag hurt his back then Little Nog went down. There was a brief time where we thought Chael Sonnen was going to step in for Little Nog but a visa issue ended that, Roy Nelson stepped in for Sao Palelei who was on standby to replace for any heavyweight that went down. Needless to say it was crazy and the overall card really suffered. Looking at the stats there were only two finishes and 9 decisions. But let’s take a second and look back at what happened and what is in store for the main card fighters.
Shawn Jordan defeats Pat Barry via TKO (punches) Knockout of the Night
This fight had the writing on the wall of being an awesome fight and it was, for Jordan who seemed to land what he wanted when he wanted for the entire 1 minute fight. The fight came to a close with a vicious left uppercut that knocked Barry to the mat and was finished from there.
Jordan: While it is always great to get a win, this win solidified him in the division. He is now on a two fight win streak and being one of the 3 exciting fights on this card may help him. I would expect to see a battle with the declining Roy Nelson or the winner of Vera vs Rothwell or perhaps even Mitrione.
Barry: This is just another chapter in the roller-coaster career of Pat Barry. Since joining the UFC this fan favorite has traded wins and loses to the tune of a 4-6 UFC record. The HW division is stacked with talent and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be cut before his next fight. He is a bunch of fun to watch and has been in some great battles along with 2 Knockout of the Night and a Fight of the Night awards but that may not be enough. It was also reviled that he has a broken orbital bone so we wish him a quick recovery.
Alexis Davis defeats Rosi Sexton via decision
This was a very exciting fight on both the feet and the ground with both fighters being on both ends of delivering shots and taking them. There were two moments where I thought each fighter was about to win and if Davis had about 10 more seconds in the 2nd round she would have finished Sexton but Herb Dean was on top of the action and warned Sexton to keep moving or he would end it. It was a great homecoming for Davis and showed she can be a contender.
Davis: Now on a three fight win streak and this division being so new the sky is the ceiling for Davis. I feel she will get one of the better known names in the world of WMMA next.
Sexton: This loss snaps a three fight win streak but I wouldn’t expect her to fall off in any sense and she will be back. She did have a chance to win the fight in the first but just got reversed.
Ryan Jimmo defeats Igor Pokrajac via decision
This fight went how many thought it would go, a wrestle fest. Yves had his work put in as he separated these fighters what seemed to be 10+ times. Jimmo even said in the post fight interview that he was sorry he put on such a boring fight.
Jimmo: Ryan was able to rebound from the second loss of his career (Te-huna) to get this win but it wasn’t impressive at all, Jay-Z said it best “numbers don’t lie” and who knows this fight could put Jimmo in the realm of a Thiago Silva or Ryan Bader. Only time will tell.
Pokrajac: This is now three loses in a row (Beltran loss was a NC because Beltran failed drug test) and I put him in the same boat as Pat Barry but without the hype Pat gets. I do expect him to be cut or placed in a fight were career is on the line. But after how boring this fight was I don’t see compassion on Dana White’s part.
Stipe Miocic defeats #5 Roy Nelson via decision
What a showing by Stipe, if he fought anyone else besides the iron jawed Nelson he would have won via vicious KO. He landed almost everything he threw and Roy looked disinterested in the fight from his entrance on. I was beyond disappointed in his showing especially after talking about how he “saved” the card by stepping in.
Moicic: HUGE WIN is putting it nicely. He was close to being in the top 10 in my eyes in the HW division and this win landed him at #8. There is no ceiling for this kid and he really showed exactly what he can do on the feet vs a veteran striker in Nelson. I would love to see him battle Mir or Browne next.
Nelson: I don’t know where to think things went wrong for Nelson as he looked terrible in this fight, I know Stipe is good but Nelson looked like a WWE jobber in this fight, thankfully his chin is made out of something from a superhero movie because it was tested for 15 minutes. This loss drops him two spots in the ranks to #7 (somehow still above Miocic). Could a rematch with Mir or a battle with The Reem (Alistar Overeem) be on the horizon?
#6 Rashad Evans defeats #3 Dan Henderson via split decision
I can’t believe what I am saying but I think Chael Sonnen hit the nail on the head in the post fight breakdown when he said that Rashad won this fight because he was able to go to plan B because Hendo’s power was felt in the first with those bombs he landed when Rashad came in. Rashad was the faster fighter and was able to land more shots later because of that and outpoint the #3 Heavyweight. That amazing combo of punches landed in the third is what I felt won the fight in the judges eyes and it was nice to see “Suga” back in the win column.
Evans: This win was huge not only to boost him up to #4 in the division but I think it gave him his confidence or “swagger” back which he needs to be successful. I love the idea of him facing Glover Teixeira next. I could also see him facing Little Nog but the sales for the Glover fight would be amazing.
Henderson: This loss bounced him back to #6 where the young savages are laying in wait such as Mousasi, Davis and we all know what could happen if the UFC puts Shogun across the cage… rematch of that epic battle!