UFC 161 is in the books, and so is the first half of 2013 for the UFC. The latest pay-per-view card from Zuffa won't go down as one of the best of the year -- not even close -- but, as these events tend to do, there's plenty of news and tidbits.
Here are a few observations from the weekend:
• The final draft of UFC 161 wasn't so strong, but that's because two of the three best bouts on the card were scratched. That's worth remembering, yet people seem to have such a difficult time doing so.
• While I was out with my dogs Sunday in downtown L.A., I overheard three guys in Little Tokyo discussing how terrible they thought the main event was. (Truth is, I'm amused each time I hear conversations about MMA on the street.) They were loud and I was sitting at a table across a courtyard, so it couldn't be helped. Their analysis echoed much of what I heard on fight night: that Evans-Henderson was boring and neither guy did much. Boy, that's wrong. The fight was competitive, tactical and sharp in spots. Both fighters acquitted themselves nicely, I thought, especially after watching a replay.
• Discussion of Anthony Pettis' knee injury that knocked him out of a fight with Jose Aldo quickly moved to the possibility of him replacing TJ Grant for a title shot at 155 against Benson Henderson. No thanks, UFC. Grant earned his spot and should keep it. Pettis needs to practice more patience, and focus on getting healthy. He's the one who pushed for a fight at 145. That means he stepped out of the lightweight line, as far as I'm concerned.
• The UFC needed to do a better job of explaining why Evans-Henderson was three rounds as opposed to five. Many fans were bothered and confused that the bout wasn't scheduled for 25 minutes.
On to the grades.