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UFC 161: There will be blood

Tough guys fight it out here tonight at UFC 161

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They are some of the toughest, meanest, baddest bleepedy-bleeps walking the face of the earth.

And Saturday night every bit of that toughness will be on full display in UFC 161 right here in Winnipeg in front of a rabid sold-out crowd. Yes, a quick note to the MTS Centre maintenance crew: it's time make sure every nut and bolt in the place has been tightened, for the joint will be jumping.

Here are 5 Reasons UFC 161, being televised around the globe on pay-per-view, is worth watching:

1. NO BARAO/WINELAND, NO NOGUEIRA/RUA... NO PROBLEM

THE UFC 161 card has taken some serious shots, losing Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to a back injury two weeks ago -- he was to meet Mauricio (Shogun) Rua -- and Renan Barao, who was scheduled to defend his interim bantamweight title against Eddie Wineland, to a foot injury last month.

But the Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans bout, originally billed as the co-main event, is still a dandy. Evans is 22-3-1, Henderson is 29-9. The two vets are both coming off awful performances in their last appearances -- UFC president Dana White referred to them this week as "stinkers, completely s -y fights" -- but are shooting for one more title shot.

Their experience, coupled with their desire to take another stab at glory, provides a juicy backdrop to the main event.

"Dan Henderson is the only man in the history of mixed martial arts who is vying for the triple crown jewel," said Sportsnet MMA analyst Joe Ferraro in a chat with the Free Press on Friday. "He was the PRIDE champ, he was the Strike Force champ, and if he wins the UFC light heavyweight championship he will do what no man has ever done before. That's incredible and it's happening in Winnipeg. And some people think this card sucks? That's comical.

"Rashad Evans has fought everybody in their prime in his career in the light heavyweight division and now he's fighting Dan Henderson, a living legend. I mean, how much more beautiful a main event do people want?"

2. A HOMETOWN HERO?

TIME for some introductions... Winnipeg fight fans, meet Roland Delorme, the pride of St. Norbert who is fighting for the fourth time in the UFC, but making his hometown debut. Every good card features some local talent and Delorme will be fuelled on by 15,000-plus fans.

"That's something that I've wanted ever since I got into the UFC. It's something I wanted for so long but never thought was going to happen," said Delorme. "I want to be able to go out there and show everybody that I belong on this level and that I'm here for a reason. I want to do the best I possibly can for my friends, family, for my city."

3. A FIRST... THE LADIES STEP INTO THE OCTAGON

ALEXIS Davis, the first Canadian woman signed to the UFC, faces Rosi Sexton of England, the first British woman signed to the UFC in the first female UFC fight in Canada. That's a lot of firsts.

Davis, who hails from Port Colborne, Ont., is the up and comer who holds black belts in Brazilian and traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and has won five of her last six. Davis, interestingly, has a PhD in computer science from Manchester University and a math degree from Cambridge. She's won her last three fights.

4. THEY STAND ON GUARD FOR THEE... THE CANADIAN CONTENT

UFC 161 features seven Canadians, Delorme and Davis included, and six of them are favoured by Las Vegas oddsmakers. The five other Canucks are Sam Stout (London, Ont.), Sean Pierson (Toronto, Ont.), Ryan Jimmo (Edmonton), Yves Jabouin (Montreal) and Mitch Clarke (Saskatoon). The only Canadian not favoured by bookies is Clarke, who was 9-0 before joining UFC but has since dropped two fights. He faces John Maguire of England, who is also on a two-fight skid.

5. KO POTENTIAL

FIGHT fans love a quick kill and this card features some big-time finishers, including Henderson and his trademark "H-Bomb" and Evans. Roy Nelson, who has the third-most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history, will be seeking his fourth straight knockout against Stipe Miocic and is chasing a title shot. Nelson is quoted on his UFC bio as saying: "Whoever fights me, they'll go, 'I'll never fight Roy Nelson again.' "

And Pat Barry-Shawn Jordan bout features the same combination of powerful strikers. Said Sportsnet's Ferraro of this bout: "Somebody is going to sleep within seven minutes. I really don't see this fight going the distance, I'll be surprised if it does."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

-- with files from Kyle Jahns, Melissa Tait

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 15, 2013 C9

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