Sunday, 29 January 2012

UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs Davis - Recap

Phil Davis came into this fight 9-0 and with some big hype behind him.  There were comparisons to the other lanky young phenom in the division, Jon Jones.  Davis is a very different fighter than Jones though.  He has much less fluid striking and a game centered much more around grappling.  His opponent, Rashad Evans, came in with an incredible 16-1-1 record against formidable opposition.  He was already the number one contender and there was a feeling that this fight existed to give him something to do while he waited for Jones to be available to fight.


The Fight
In a fight between two wrestlers, you expect a fair bit of the action to be on the feet as grappling cancels itself out.  The start of this fight saw Rashad Evans use his superior movement, speed and footwork completely work over Davis on the feet.  The ex-champ punctuated this onslaught with some lovely trips and great top control and transitions.  He spent some time punishing Davis in side control and the mounted crucifix.

In short, for five rounds, Davis looked out of his depth.  He had the longer reach but showed no awareness of how to use it.  Any comparison to Jones looked laughable now as Davis looked stiff, slow and awkward with everything he threw.  Evans schooled the younger fighter and all that was missing here was the knockout.

The GIFs below (from ironforgesiron) pretty much tell the story of the fight, although you may want to imagine Rashad hitting Davis in the face a bit too.

What's Next?
Rashad moves on to fight Jon Jones for their long awaited light heavyweight title bout.   Be careful what you wish for Rashad.

Davis can take a lot out of this fight as he sees how real top level guys fight.  He needs to work not just on his technique but general attitude to striking, he needs to loosen up.  He also needs to get used setting up big techniques like takedowns and head kicks/  In this fight he seemed to lunge and swing and Rashad evaded with ease.  He also may have seen what it is like to not be able to muscle guys around the cage as he has previously.  Back to the drawing board then, and then back to the middle of the pack.  Perhaps he should be allowed to be the next person to demolish Tito Ortiz before he retires, thus getting himself back onto the winning track with a bit of hype.

Other Thoughts
Before I saw the press conference, I was a little bit upset that Sonnen did not acknowledge the tough, close fight he had been in with Mike Bisping, instead launching straight into his tired patter.  He was a lot more gracious and personable at the post fight presser and that was pleasing.

There are rumblings that UFC on Fox disappointed, but quite frankly that is the risk you take with mixed martial arts.  It can go either way.  I personally enjoyed the last two bouts and though there was plenty to be said for the prelims on FX too.  Maia vs Weidman though, was painful to watch.  There is absolutely no excuse for Maia to be gassing out, he is a professional athlete and had all the time in the world to prepare for this fight.

The Fox robots were awesome.  My MMA watching buddy thought they were a bit naff, but I loved it.  Other than that the Fox production is pretty cool, except that Jon Jones and Randy Couture could not have been more obviously reading their scripts as they talked.

Finally, I am not sure I have ever seen Charles Oliveira's submission.  I can't decide if that was great or if he accidentally trapped the guys foot and just sat down on it.

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