Two more bouts are now official for the UFC’s inaugural trip to Winnipeg, as promotion officials recently announced that a planned light heavyweight attraction between Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson has been green-lit for UFC 161.
The Evans-Henderson pairing was reported Tuesday, though UFC President Dana White stated that the booking was contingent upon Henderson receiving medical clearance. UFC 161 takes place at MTS Centre and marks the Las Vegas-based organization’s first effort in the Canadian province of Manitoba.
The June 15 event will also see Mauricio “Shogun” Rua rematch Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at 205 pounds, while heavyweight Stipe Miocic welcomes Australian Soa Palelei back to the Octagon. The UFC 161 main event has yet to be announced.
Evans, 33, has lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his career. The former champion saw a four-fight winning streak snapped in a failed title bid against ex-teammate Jon Jones last year at UFC 145, and then returned to the cage last month, dropping a unanimous decision to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156.
Henderson, 42, also saw a four-fight winning streak halted in his last appearance, as “Hendo” came up short in a split verdict to Lyoto Machida two weeks ago at UFC 157. The former Strikeforce ruler made his return to the UFC in November 2011, taking a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Rua in a “Fight of the Year” nominee.
Miocic suffered his first pro defeat in his most recent outing, falling by technical knockout to lanky Dutchman Stefan Struve last September. The loss was preceded by three consecutive victories to start the 30-year-old’s UFC career, as Miocic topped Joey Beltran, Philip De Fries and Shane del Rosario to kick off his promotional run.
Palelei, meanwhile, has not lost since November 2010, when he was pounded out by future Strikeforce grand prix winner Daniel Cormier under the Xtreme MMA banner. “The Hulk” responded by winning eight straight fights, most recently defending his AFC championship against UFC veteran Sean McCorkle on Dec. 7.