Despite the fact he is one of the most well-known fighters in UFC history and a former champion, fans in Winnipeg didn’t hesitate to boo headliner Rashad Evans at Friday’s UFC 161 weigh-ins.
It appeared obvious the majority of the crowd will be cheering for Evans’ opponent, MMA legend Dan Henderson, when the UFC holds its first ever event in Manitoba Saturday night.
Evans, a TUF 2 champ who did receive sparse cheers, came in at a solid 206 pounds – looking even more fit than he has in his last several outings.
“Dan is one of my favourite fighters,” Evans told UFC commentator Joe Rogan, who nicely told the crowd to stop booing a former UFC champ. “I love the opportunity I get to fight him and tomorrow night we’re going to go out there and give it all we got and I’ll be on top.”
The former Strikeforce champ Henderson weighed in at 204 for the light-heavyweight bout and looked in good spirits as the crowd at the MTS Centre – the same venue Saturday’s event takes place – roared.
“I’ve always loved coming up to the fighting events up in Canada so was really excited to actually fight up here. Best fans in the world,” said Henderson, who is the oldest fighter currently on the UFC’s roster at age 42 turning 43 in August.
“Rashad’s a tough guy. I’m sure it’s going to be a war. Hopefully he’s ready to bang.”
Evans holds wins over former UFC champions Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Forrest Griffin and Quinton (Rampage) Jackson.
Meanwhile, Henderson has victories over the likes of former Pride champions Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mauricio (Shogun) Rua.
Also at the weigh-ins, fan favourite Roy (Big Country) Nelson, fully equipped with his wildman beard, tipped the scales as the heaviest fighter competing on the card at 260 pounds ahead of his co-main event bout against Stipe Miocic.
Canadian light-heavyweight Ryan Jimmo, who had a seven-second knockout in his last fight in Western Canada, gave the crowd a bit of a show as he did his patented robot dance before weighing win.
Heavyweights Pat Barry and Shawn Jordan had some fun while squaring off as neither of them could keep a straight face. Both fighters are friendly with one another but have promised not to hold anything back on fight night.
Port Colborne, Ont,’s Alexis Davis made weight with one pound to spare as she came in at 134 pounds for her women’s bantamweight bout with English veteran Rosi Sexton.
Davis will make history at UFC 161 by competing in the first female UFC fight in Canada and by becoming the first Canadian woman to fight in the UFC.
Plus, Winnipeg’s own Roland Delorme got a huge reception from the hometown crowd as he stepped on the scales at 136 pounds.
Delorme, a veteran of TUF 14, will kick off the televised portion of the card against fellow bantamweight Edwin Figueroa.
All 22 fighters made weight on their first attempt.
Here are the complete results from the UFC 161 weigh-ins:
MAIN CARD (pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
– Rashad Evans (206) vs. Dan Henderson (204)
– Stipe Miocic (243) vs. Roy Nelson (260)
– Ryan Jimmo (206) vs. Igor Pokrajac (206)
– Alexis Davis (134)vs. Rosi Sexton (135.5)
– Pat Barry (245) vs. Shawn Jordan (248)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Sportsnet, 8:00 p.m. ET)
– Jake Shields (171) vs. Tyron Woodley (171)
– James Krause (155.5) vs. Sam Stout (156)
– Sean Pierson (170.5) vs. Kenny Robertson (170.5)