UFC on FOX 4: Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2012

UFC on FOX 4: Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    Former light heavyweight top contender Phil Davis will welcome 25-year-old newcomer Wagner Prado to the UFC this Saturday at UFC on FOX 4.

    Davis is in dire need of an Octagon victory to put him back into title contention after losing to Rashad Evans back in Janurary.

    A victory over a Brazilian KO specialist like Prado may get him there, but don't expect a one-sided fight.

    Prado is a ferocious talent who possesses serious one-punch power to go along with a well-rounded Muay Thai arsenal.

    Here's how the initial head-to-toe breakdown looks like for one of the most interesting, as well as free, fights of 2012.

Striking

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    Advantage: Wagner Prado

    Phil Davis has shown in the past that he can stand and bang with well-established UFC strikers like Brian Stann and Tim Boetsch, but he has yet to face a guy like Prado.

    The 25-year-old Brazilian is currently undefeated at 8-0 and has secured six of those victories via first-round KO or TKO.

    His striking is by far his most precious offensive asset. 

    With iron legs and thunderous hands, Prado seems ready to emerge as one of the best KO specialists in the division.

    For Davis, keeping this fight off the feet may be his best chance to succeed.

Clinch

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    Advantage: Wagner Prado

    With a background in Muay Thai, Prado seemingly has all standup facets covered.

    This includes the clinch.

    Capable of throwing powerful knees, uppercuts and body shots, the Brazilian should have a field day whenever he finds himself tied up with Phil Davis.

    However, Prado probably won't be looking to clinch too often considering Davis' wrestling pedigree and overall core strength.

Wrestling

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    Advantage: Phil Davis

    Davis' wrestling is going to be the deciding factor in this fight.

    His ability to take down opponents and avoid being taken down himself has propelled him into the upper echelon of wrestlers within the light heavyweight division.

    With a powerful striker looking to take his head off, Davis should be looking to bring this fight to the ground sooner rather than later.

    Because when it comes down it, standing in front of Prado probably isn't going to end well.

Submissions

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    Split

    There are a few things to consider when breaking down both Phil Davis and Wagner Prado's submission games.

    Each guy possesses a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and could seemingly sink in a fight-ending submission at any time.

    But what has separated the two in the past is the fact that Davis has actually won via submission three times before, including tapping top UFC contenders Alexander Gustafsson and Tim Boetsch.

    With that said, Prado's submission game is still equivalent to Davis' solely based on the fact that he trains with Minotauro Nogueira.

Experience

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    Advantage: Phil Davis

    The experience aspect of this fight has to go to Davis.

    Unlike Wagner Prado, who has only fought in Brazil, Davis has been competing against some of the best fighters in the world in the UFC for well over two years now.

    He has secured career defining victories over well-established fighters like Brian Stann, Alexander Gustafsson, Tim Boetsch and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

    Not to say Prado couldn't beat these top talents, but he's never had the opportunity to do so.

    Also, considering Prado's making his UFC debut, Davis' experience could come into play early and often.

Intangibles

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    Advantage: Phil Davis

    This is where it gets tricky.

    Not too many people have witnessed with their own eyes the dynamic structure of Wagner Prado, mostly due to the fact that he has only competed in Brazil.

    But what makes him even more mysterious to already established UFC fighters like Davis is the fact that Prado's fights have all been one-dimensional.  Not to take anything away from the young Brazilian, but he hasn't really been tested beyond his standup game (albeit looking perfect while doing do).

    As for Davis, we've seen various aspects of his Octagon ability.  From wrestling to crisp striking, to unorthodox submissions to hard-noised grappling, he has shown it all.

    For this fight, based on what we know and what we've seen for ourselves, Davis seemingly possesses more natural intangibility than Prado.

Verdict

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    Phil Davis via second-round TKO

    Come Saturday, UFC fans are going to see what Davis is made of.

    His first career loss came in his last fight against Rashad Evans back in January.  That loss consequently knocked Davis out of title contention and reset everything his previous undefeated record stood for.

    For this fight, against a hungry young puncher in Wagner Prado, Davis will need to use his superior wrestling from bell to bell.

    If he finds himself standing at any point in the fight, besides having his hand raised, he needs to get in close and make it a battle of attrition.

    If he can maintain a worthy pace and let Prado punch himself out, there's no reason why "Mr. Wonderful" can't secure a mid-fight TKO at the hands of a depleted striker making his UFC debut.

     

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