Saturday, January 28, 2012

Does Davis Stand a Chance? Rashad Evans v Phil Davis Preview

Who Wins? "Suga" or "Mr. Wonderful"

On the horn
Rashad Evans (left) vs Phil Davis (right) in the main event at UFC on FOX 2 / photo @DanaWhite

         After reading other's beliefs about Rashad Evans being unable to beat a young opponent in Phil Davis, and seeing so many people pick Davis to beat the former champion hands down, I had to make it clear why Evans with be tasting the sweet "Suga" taste of victory one more time at UFC on FOX 2.

      Rashad Evans has beaten a who's who of fighters and has only definitively lost once in his career. His only draw, against Tito Ortiz at UFC 73, was redeemed in brutal fashion. Evans finished Ortiz at UFC 133 with a vicious knee to the mid section before pounding out the victory with punches.

    Some writers feel Evans hasn't beaten quality opponents in their prime and, although I can see the logic in some of their arguments, this is just not correct. Evans has defeated some of the most quality opponents in the division. Evans beat Stephan Bonner (14-7) and at the time it was only the third loss of Bonnar's career, the other two up to that point were Forrest Griffin and Lyoto Machida (both former UFC champions)
        The fact that Evans earned a decision over Bonnar is a huge victory. Evans defeated Forrest Griffin (18-7) for the light heavyweight title after Griffin had just beaten "Shogun" Rua and Quinton Jackson back to back to win the championship himself. Griffin sported a 7-2 UFC record until his loss to Evans. The victory over Griffin was huge at a prime moment in Girffin's career contrary to some beliefs.

       Evans beat one of the co-main event participants at a time in which he was still undefeated and a rising star in the division. Evans beat Michael Bisping (22-3) at UFC 78 and since then Bisping is 8-2 in the UFC and has a chance to fight for the middleweight title if he can get the victory over Chael Sonnen at UFC on FOX 2. Although Silva tested positive for PED's after his last fight, Thiago Silva (14-2) has 12 victories by knockout or submission as well. Evans defeated Silva and added another quality victory to his name.

       Without going too in depth, Evans defeated Quinton Jackson (32-9) at UFC 114 after a huge build up and hype machine was put together. Jackson won twice before fighting Evans and won twice after, even fighting for the UFC light heavyweight in his last bout. It seems rather clear that Evans has beaten many opponents that almost any fan of MMA would deem as "quality". Evans may not have the NCAA wrestling credentials that Phil Davis possess, but Evans has the confidence of knowing what having the UFC title around his waist already feels like and this is going to give him the edge mentally no matter how cool Davis plays it in the media.

       Davis is a freak of nature when it comes to the sponge like ability he has to soak up MMA techniques and incorporate them into the wrestling tool box that his D-1 NCAA career has brought him. He is truly a tough and dangerous opponent for a veteran fighter if for no other reason than he always seems to find a way to win. I don't see Davis getting beaten down in a brutal way by Evans at all. This fight has the feel of a decision in the makings with both fighters being able to cancel each other out with wrestling knowledge they each have, but Evans has a style of ground and pound that could really dominate Davis if the fight stays on the ground.

       There is a good chance that because of the wrestling stalemate that these two could bring to the fight, it may stay on the feet and if that's the case it's all bad for Davis because "Suga" Rashad Evans has some beautiful boxing and has even worked with WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins on boxing strategy and philosophies in recent years to hone his craft. Davis is 9-0 and has beaten dangerous and seasoned opponents as well. He beat middle weight stand out Brian Stann in his UFC debut and most recently earned a decision over the Brazilian veteran Antonio"LittleNog" Nogueira.


       That said I have to agree with Rashad Evans on the fact that this will not be an NCAA wrestling match. Both fighters will need the confidence and maturity to handle the UFC on FOX 2 spotlight and unfortunately for Davis, that is something he just doesn't have yet.
 "It's a'ight," Evans said. "He can say I was a .500 wrestler all he wants, but good thing this isn't a wrestling match, right?

"Shoot, Josh Koscheck was a better (college) wrestler than Georges St-Pierre, and what happened there?"

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