Former NCAA Division I wrestler Phil Davis entered his bout with Rashad Evans undefeated and ready to take the next step in the light heavyweight division, but after five rounds of fighting, Evans walked away with the unanimous decision victory, leaving Davis walking away from the Octagon with his first career defeat.
Davis obtained five UFC victories before tonight's bout, including wins over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Tim Boetsch, Alexander Gustafsson and Brian Stann.
Much of the hype surrounding the fight came from both fighters' wrestling ability and whether or not an up-and-comer like Davis could halt the title aspirations of Evans, who has been the No. 1 contender in the division for almost two years.
Evans was able to control where the fight took place throughout the 25-minute distance, and with his wrestling, faster hands and superior technique, he earned a 50-45 scorecard across the board.
"Rashad is a former champion, a good fighter," said Davis at the post-fight press conference. "He helped me understand where I'm at."
Davis still has a lot of potential in the division and his future. With his only defeat coming against a former champion, he doesn't fall too far back in terms of where he was heading. A lot of people were impressed with him even in defeat.
With the UFC's tendency to match up losers with losers and winners with winners, expect to see Davis facing an opponent that can get him back on the winning track in his next fight.
If the UFC decides he doesn't need to face an opponent that guarantees him a win, he can take on the loser of the upcoming Quinton Jackson and Ryan Bader fight at UFC 144, especially if Bader falls short against the former UFC champion.