For the second consecutive fight, Dan Henderson found himself on the wrong end of a split decision. This time against Rashad Evans at UFC 161. In round one both fighters were cautiously feeling the other out until Henderson stunned Evans with a stiff left jab which knocked Evans to the mat. Evans tried to regain his footing but was met with a right uppercut which sent him to the mat again. Henderson followed with a flurry of punches which had Evans hurt, but Evans was able to get back to his feet and able to defend until the end of the first round. After the first round Evans’ corner could be heard telling their fighter “you gotta take him down” most likely in response to the damage he took on the feet.
The second round was very hard to judge with both fighters landing strikes. Evans was able to land a brief takedown at the start of the second round, while Henderson was landing with a more diverse striking attack landing knees, elbows and punches. At the close of the round both fighters looked winded with Evans’ face showing signs of damage with blood coming from his right eye.
In the third round Henderson was the more visibly tired of the two, while Evans seemed to pick up the pace. Evans clearly did his best work of the night in the third round. At the close of the third round everyone watching knew this would be close and that the outcome would be determined by the subjective opinions of the judges especially for the second round. As the scores were being read it was no surprise that this was going to be a split decision. Evans was announced the winner and Henderson once again standing on the losing end of a split decision. After the fight Henderson stated that he should have done more to seal the victory and shouldn’t have left it in the hands of the judges.