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Evans wins by split decision, Sexton beaten

Brett Okamoto
June 16, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Rashad Evans earned a much-needed win © Getty Images
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Don't write off Rashad Evans just yet.

Looking to rebound from back-to-back losses, Evans (18-3-1) earned a much-needed win on Saturday, edging Dan Henderson by split decision at UFC 161 inside MTS Centre.

The three-round fight was competitive throughout. Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Evans, while the third had it 29-28 for Henderson.

The outcome was ultimately decided in the final round, which unquestionably went to Evans.

The former light-heavyweight champion pressed the action in the final frame and landed several right hands as Henderson tired.

"Nobody to blame but myself," Henderson said. "That third round, I slowed down. I should have got more active. He didn't hurt me at all. I thought I hurt him bad in the first and second. I thought I had those rounds."

Also looking to rebound from a loss in his last performance, Henderson (29-10) had his best moments in the opening round. A former US Olympic wrestler, Henderson easily defended Evans' early attempts at a takedown.

He dropped Evans with a stiff jab four minutes into the fight. Evans recovered, but Henderson did add a hard right to the body near the cage.

The second round could have gone either way, with Evans pushing the action but Henderson once again defending the key takedowns. Evans landed several right hands as Henderson fell into a pattern of circling to his left.

Henderson responded with offense of his own, catching Evans under the chin with a knee during an exchange.

The close middle frame set the stage for a dramatic final round. It was the second consecutive time Henderson has come up short in a fight that went the distance. He suffered a split-decision loss to Lyoto Machida earlier this year at UFC 157.

"This one I can swallow a little easier than the last one," Henderson said. "Rashad is a tough guy. He stood and fought me and he did a great job. I can't say that about the last guy I fought."

The win potentially puts Evans right back into title contention at 205 pounds. He suffered a unanimous decision loss to champion Jon Jones the last time he fought for the title - at UFC 145 in April 2012.

Henderson, 42, falls to 0-2 in his past two fights and 1-2 since rejoining the UFC after capturing the Strikeforce light-heavyweight title in 2011.

Nelson disappoints against Miocic

Roy Nelson flew to Winnipeg to knock out Stipe Miocic. Things didn't go as planned.

Miocic scored a major upset and the biggest win of his career, outlasting Nelson in a three-round decision. All three judges scored the heavyweight bout, 30-27.

"I guess this was the biggest win of my career," Miocic said. "I hit him with some big shots and he took them. I'm a Golden Gloves boxer. I believe in my boxing ability."

Miocic improves to 4-1 in the UFC. The loss came via TKO to Stefan Struve at a UFC on Fuel event in September. The loss may prove costly for Nelson, who officially finished out the UFC contract he signed in 2009.

Jimmo earns nod over Pokrajac

After seeing a 17-fight win streak snapped in his last outing, Ryan Jimmo just wanted to get back in the win column.

Mission accomplished.

Jimmo managed to outpoint Igor Pokrajac in a unanimous decision, but failed to ignite the crowd as he did in his last performance in Canada. It was a fairly convincing win nevertheless, as all three judges scored it 30-27 in his favor.

"I hurt him in the first round but I couldn't follow up," Jimmo said. "I wish I had because it wasn't a great fight. I apologise to the fans."

Davis forges past Sexton

Alexis Davis did get her hand raised in her UFC debut. Rosi Sexton made her earn it.

Davis (14-5) threatened to finish Sexton several times with strikes and submissions, but was ultimately forced to settle for a unanimous decision. Judges scored the bout 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27 in her favor.

Jordan blasts through Barry

If Shawn Jordan truly considers Pat Barry a friend - you'd hate to see how he treats his enemies.

Jordan jumped all over his buddy early, knocking Barry out with a barrage of punches less than one minute into their heavyweight contest.

Shields edges past Woodley

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense.

UFC welterweight Jake Shields edged Tyron Woodley via split decision in a fight that was difficult to score due to lengthy, Shields-induced stalemates along the fence.

Referee Yves Lavigne tried to encourage action, breaking up at least one stalemate in each of the three rounds. It led to somewhat awkward final scores. Two judges awarded the fight 29-28 to Shields, while the other had it 30-27 in Woodley's favor.

Krause dominates Stout

As far as first impressions go, James Krause made a good one in his UFC debut.

Krause (20-4) submitted Sam Stout in the final seconds of his lightweight bout, catching the UFC veteran in a guillotine from off his back. Stout tapped to the choke at 4:47 of the final round.

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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