UFC 161 didn’t feature a title fight, or even a five-round main event.
However, the card still helped shape several divisions inside the UFC, and provided the arrival for an up-and-coming prospect.
James Krause, a veteran of the Nebraska-based Resurrection Fighting Alliance, stole the show – and $100,000 in bonus money – when he submitted Sam Stout on the prelims.
Krause was signed as a replacement for TJ Waldburger, and flashed excellent offensive skills before locking in a nasty choke to force Stout to submit. The win could position him for a key bout in the future, as he has won eight straight fights to date, including four via submission and two more by knockout.
Dan Henderson and Roy Nelson, both veterans of the rigors of MMA, seemed to have the same plan in place for their matches vs. Rashad Evans and Stipe Miocic, respectively.
First, Nelson looked winded, exhausted, tired and ready to go home after the first couple of minutes against Miocic. The man who looks like a larger Mirko CroCop was excellent in picking apart “Big Country” and scoring a decision victory.
I’ll give Nelson credit – a large amount of credit – for taking the bout on short notice and fighting for a second time in six weeks, but it showed. He continually tried to land his devastating overhand right when it looked like he could take Miocic down and work some submission game instead.
The decision could be costly for Nelson, as this was his final fight on his UFC deal. He’s had issues with UFC president Dana White in the past, so who knows what happens next.
As for Henderson, he was able to stop nine takedown attempts by Evans, but he also constantly looked for the KO punch instead of mixing and matching his attack. Evans claimed the split decision, and it honestly could have went to Henderson had he just done a little bit more late in the fight.
Shawn Jordan’s destruction of Pat Barry may not make a lot of waves, but if the former LSU football standout can continue to improve, he could become a contender in the division. His conditioning wasn’t put into play as he finished “HD” in just 59 seconds, but the power is legit and real.