UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis

Main Event Recap: Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis

Photo : Nick Laham Zuffa

By: Michael Alexander

Rashad has been considered by many to be the #1 contender going into this match. After his five round domination of Phil Davis, he is unequivocally the #1 contender and the next man who challenges Jon Jones for the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Championship belt. For all five rounds, Rashad Evans was pushing the pace, landing good shots when striking, and completely dominating the ground game. While it wasn’t the prettiest or most entertaining fight of the night, it was still a good fight for the fans as well as an educational bout for Davis.

If you read my last article about the Evans vs. Davis fight, then you know how I said that the only way for Davis to win this fight was to use his wrestling to take the fight to the ground. Now Davis is a good wrestler, no question, but this fight highlights the fact the Davis isn’t setting up his takedowns with strikes, but instead just relying heavily on natural wrestling ability. That’s all fine and dandy, but when you go against a guy like Evans, who is also a great wrestler, you can’t just try and try these power doubles without setting it up. While Davis has obviously worked on his striking game, it will take a few fights for him to truly start incorporating the striking game and grappling game into one solid offensive weapon that leaves the opponent guessing on your next move.
While we saw that Davis still has a ways to go before he can contend with the elite of the division, I also believe we now have seen Rashad enter his prime. Everything Rashad did last night was fantastic and showed that his switch for Greg Jackson’s camp to the Blackzillians was not a bad one at all. While Evans has always been a hard fighter to actually hit, he showed even better foot work and head movement, and basically made it near impossible for Davis to find his range and land any real good shots. As I said, Rashad has probably just hit his prime, and will be a tough challenge for Jon Jones.

Obviously with this win, Rashad get to finally try and exact some revenge on his former training partner, Jon Jones. But Phil Davis is in an intriguing spot. His loss was a pretty bad one, as he showed little positives except that his striking is starting to come together. That being said, it was his first loss and it was against a former champ, so it shouldn’t knock out of the top 10 LHWs. I think that good fight for him to come back to would be the loser of the upcoming Rampage/Bader fight. Maybe even a rematch with fellow top 10 LHW and rising talent, Alexander Gustafsson.

As for the other fights on the FOX card, Chael Sonnen pulled out a very controversial unanimous decision win over Michael Bisping. The bout saw a very even first two rounds, with Chael getting the takedown but Bisping getting right back up and holding Sonnen on the cage. The only definitive round came during the 3rd, when Chael took down Bisping and held him there for the majority of the round.

The other bout on the card saw Chris Weidman pull off a fantastic UD upset over Demian Maia. With only 11 days to prepare for this fight, Weidman stepped up to the plate big time to replace Bisping, who replaced Mark Munoz after Munoz injured his elbow. Weidman controlled the fight from the beginning , and showed great stand up, as well as a willingness to go to the ground with arguably the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioner to ever step inside the octagon. Maia on the other hand, showed extremely predictable striking, and never really tried to take the fight to the ground.

Overall, this FOX card was not the best card we have seen from the UFC, but it stood its purpose. #1 contenders earned their shots, step ups in competition were made, and the UFC was able to market their sport and get it exposed to millions of people. Not the most exciting, but it was free and the prelims had some great fights. No complaints on my behalf.

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