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UFC 161 Predictions From Staff

The UFC returns to pay-per-view Saturday with UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson from Winnipeg.

While the card has seen some intense re-shuffling due to injuries, the main event still boasts a very interesting matchup, as former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans tangles with Dan Henderson.

Evans is coming off a pair of losses, while Henderson was defeated by Lyoto Machida recently.

Also, the co-main event features Roy Nelson taking on Stipe Miocic.

FightLine main writer Dana Becker and staff writer Joseph Lisnow offer up their thoughts on those two bouts below.

Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson

Dana Becker: The winner here should re-emerge in the rankings as a viable contender. The loser, well, this might be it. Both Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson have put together exceptional, hall of fame-worthy careers, but MMA is becoming a younger-by-the-day world, and these two are not getting any younger. Evans seems to be in great shape, and you know Henderson always is. With both having great wrestling and knockout-power, the first to strike could be the winner. “Hendo” seems to be more willing to go all-or-nothing earlier in fights than “Suga.” Dan Henderson via first round TKO

Joseph Lisnow: I really have my doubts this will deliver a worthy main event. Dan Henderson’s fights are winding down and it would be a great story to see him end his career with a title shot. Then there’s Rashad Evans looking to stay title worthy following back-to-back losses. Evans needs to take it to the ground, otherwise Henderson is one punch from ending it all. I think Evans can keeps Henderson off his feet and let the clock do most of the work. The loser may never get a title shot, so that’s the importance here. Rashad Evans via unanimous decision

Roy Nelson vs. Stipe Miocic

Dana: On paper, this is one of the biggest mismatches in UFC history, as Roy Nelson is riding high, while Stipe Miocic is coming off a loss to Stefan Struve. Of course, in the heavyweight division, all it takes is one lucky punch and the roles can be quickly reversed. Miocic will need to be patient and try to find an opening, as “Big Country” has looked like a man on a mission over the past several months. If Miocic can find a way to tire Nelson, as he did take the bout on short notice, he might have a chance. Roy Nelson via first round KO

Joseph: How the times have changed for Roy Nelson and his big belly. Nelson has shown improvement and will probably look for a quick right-hand knockout as he’s riding the most momentum of his career. Stipe Miocic needs to keep his distance, but remember that Nelson can easily go three rounds. I don’t imagine this going to the ground as whoever connects with the hardest shot leaves the victor. Roy Nelson via second round KO (punches)