MMA Odds and Ends for Monday: UFC 161 Set For June 15 In Winnipeg With Henderson/Evans, Shogun/Little Nog
It was announced today by Showdown Joe of Sportsnet that the UFC is returning to Canada on June 15, when the promotion travels to MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba for UFC 161, and two huge matchups are rumored to take place on the card according to TATAME. The first is a light heavyweight bout between top contenders Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans, which could possibly be the headlining fight. Henderson (29-9) is coming off of a close loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 157, while Evans (17-3-1) lost a stinker to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156, so this fight will be interesting from a betting perspective. I'm guessing it will open as a near Pick 'em, with a slight lean to Evans. Also rumored for the card is a fight between top 205ers Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. This is a rematch of their epic encounter back in PRIDE in 2005, where Rua won a close decision. Rua (21-7) is coming off a decision loss to Alexander Gustafsson, while Nogueira (21-5) just beat Evans, so this should also be close in the books, with Rua likely entering the fight as a slight favorite.
UFC on FX 8 Adds Mutante vs. Dollaway
The UFC continued to add to its upcoming UFC on FX 8 card with a matchup between middleweight fighters Cezar "Mutante" Ferreira and CB Dollaway. The news was reported by Brazilian news outlet Portal de Vale Tudo. Ferreira (5-2) won "The Ultimate Fighter" Brazil but was injured soon after and hasn't been able to compete until now. The Vitor Belfort protege is a solid grappler and BJJ practitioner, but Dollaway (13-4) is a grinding wrestler that is on a solid two-fight win streak with victories over Daniel Sarafian and Jason "Mayhem" Miller. This fight is an interesting stylistic matchup and it's likely to be close when the betting lines open, with the Brazilian Ferreira likely opening as a slight favorite.
Kennedy vs. Gracie Added to July UFC card
The UFC also added a middleweight matchup to the upcoming 4th of July event in Las Vegas as former Strikeforce fighters Tim Kennedy and Roger Gracie will meet in a three-round bout according to TATAME. This is a very intriguing matchup between two fighters who do their best work on the ground, with Gracie being a submission wizard and Kennedy being more a grinder, although he definitely has submission skills as well. Considering his size for the division and his prowess in the BJJ department, Gracie (6-1) will likely open as a slight favorite over Kennedy (15-4), although it will be interesting to see which way the public takes the line once it opens.
UFC Signs Palelei
The UFC re-signed heavyweight Soa "The Hulk" Palelei today, with the veteran announcing the news via his own Twitter account. Palelei (18-3) is currently riding an eight-fight win streak and has won 10 of his last 11 fights overall with the only loss coming to top heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier. Palelei has fought once in the UFC, losing via TKO to Eddie Sanchez back at UFC 79 in 2007, but he's a much improved fighter now and the 35-year-old is definitely ready for a return to the big show. It will be interesting to see who the UFC matches Palelei up with in his first bout, but how about a fight against Lavar Johnson? I think it'd be fun.
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