Saturday, June 15, 2013 | 11:30 p.m.
Note: Full results from the undercard available at the bottom of the page.
There goes Roy Nelson’s bargaining power.
Stipe Miocic beat out the leverage Nelson may have possessed heading into contract negotiations with the UFC and left it in Winnipeg, Manitoba. On Saturday night, Miocic landed 437 significant strikes, routing the local fighter with a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in the co-main event of UFC 161.
“I just used my angles and picked him apart,” Miocic said.
Quick feet and constant head movement allowed Miocic to evade Nelson’s right hand, which “Big Country” had used to knock out three straight opponents in the first round.
Having worked his way up to No. 5 in the heavyweight rankings, Nelson was riding high before encountering Miocic -- so high that UFC President Dana White said Nelson turned down a new contract in hopes of a better offer.
That offer may never come after Nelson endured a beating in the first round against Miocic and immediately gassed out, possibly due to taking the fight on short notice. Both White and Nelson, however, were optimistic about the future in the post-fight press conference.
“It’s wherever the next opportunity is,” Nelson said. “Hopefully it’s with the UFC. If they want me here, then I’ll be here.”
Miocic and Nelson set the stage for a more competitive main event. Dan Henderson soared to a fast start, rocking Rashad Evans with a jab in the first round of their light heavyweight bout.
But Evans returned the favor with some big strikes of his own in the final frame. It all came down to a back-and-forth second round, which White described as difficult to score.
Two of the three judges saw it for Evans, who snapped a two-fight win streak with the split-decision victory.
“There are so many ways someone can judge a fight,” Evans said of what ran through his mind while he awaited the decision. “It was nerve-wracking to say the least.”
A disappointed Henderson had to accept a second straight split-decision loss. He expressed a desire to take some time off before booking another fight, but was unsure of what exactly was next for his career.
That’s the same with Nelson, only to a greater degree.
“I just felt slow and lethargic,” Nelson said. “Hopefully next time I’ll have a little more time to prepare for whoever I’m fighting.”
Check below for full results from the rest of the card.
Not even the winner could celebrate this fight. Ryan Jimmo won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Igor Pokrajac in a light heavyweight bout but stood emotionless in the cage afterward and apologized to the crowd. For most of the fight, Jimmo pressed Pokrajac up against the cage and refused to engage.
Alexis Davis defeated Rosi Sexton by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27) in a women’s bantamweight bout. Davis came back from getting out-struck and losing the first round to nearly stop Sexton with strikes late in the second.
Shawn Jordan found it difficult to find fellow Louisiana-born heavyweight Pat Barry, but he made the most of it. Jordan defeated Barry by TKO 59 seconds into the first round with a combination of punches.
Jake Shields won a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30) over Tyron Woodley in a welterweight bout. Shields pulled out the decision despite going 0-for-18 on takedown attempts and drawing the wrath of the MTS Center crowd for a mundane performance. The Sun scored the fight for Woodley, 29-28.
Sometimes, experience doesn’t matter as much as they say. In his first UFC fight, James Krause submitted long-time lightweight veteran Sam Stout with a third-round guillotine choke. The bout was ultra-competitive going into the final 30 seconds when Stout converted on what appeared to be a momentous takedown. But it was ultimately Stout’s downfall, as Krause got a hold of his neck and was able to force a tap out 13 seconds before the bell.
Welterweight veteran Sean Pierson may have received the benefit of home-country judges. Pierson pulled out a majority decision over Kenny Robertson (29-28, 29-28, 28-28) despite nearly getting tossed around in the first round and nearly knocked out in the third. The Sun had the fight 29-28 for Robertson.
While getting showered with love from his hometown fans, Roland Delorme increased his win streak to three fights. Delorme defeated Edwin Figueroa by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in their bantamweight bout. The Winnipeg native’s grappling was the difference as he had to survive a striking onslaught in the final 20 seconds to hold on to the win.
After getting his first win the UFC, Mitch Clarke fell to his knees and began crying. “This is all I wanted,” Clarke yelled. Clarke took two of three rounds on all three judges’ scorecards to beat John Maguire by unanimous decision in a lightweight bout.
The first fight of the night featured controversy, as the judges awarded Yves Jabouin a split-decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over Dustin Pague in a bantamweight bout. The vast majority of media gave the fight for Pague, most by a 30-27 mark. The Sun scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Pague.