A grudge comes to fruition Saturday night at UFC 159 when light heavyweights Vinny Magalhaes and Phil Davis face off. More oily rags hit the fire Monday when Magalhaes, a world-class submissions expert, vowed to hurt Davis in the cage if the opportunity presents itself.
"If I get a chance, I’m going to pop his arm," Magalhaes said on The MMA Hour broadcast. "I did that against [UFC 152 opponent] Igor [Pokrajac]. I tapped him out and then just kept holding. It’s not going to be any different against Phil. If I get [a submission hold], I'm going to hurt him...I’m not saying break it; I’m saying make him feel it for a week."
The feud began in December, when Magalhaes declined to fight Davis on short notice at UFC 155 but offered to face Davis at a later date. Davis and others indicated they believed Magalhaes was ducking Davis, Magalhaes fired back by aggressively demanding the fight on Twitter and the rivalry was on.
On Monday, Magalhaes also returned fire at claims from Davis, a former national wrestling champion at Penn State, that great wrestling tops jiu-jitsu.
"When you get to the guys at the highest level like Demian Maia...[wrestling] is not an advantage anymore. I’m one of those guys," Magalhaes said. "When a guy like Phil Davis says he is going to submit me, that’a a trip…I think he crossed the line there."
Magalhaes (10-5-1) came into prominence in the MMA community with his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter 8. After he lost in the season finale to Ryan Bader and then at UFC 97 to Eliot Marshal, the UFC released Magalhaes. But after winning seven of his next eight—including capturing and defending the M-1 Global light heavyweight title—he returned to the Octagon at UFC 152, where he defeated Pokrajac with a second-round armbar.
Many observers respect Davis (10-1-1) as one of the UFC's best light heavyweights under age 30. He last fought at UFC 153, where he won a rematch with Wagner Prado. Their first fight, held last August, ended in a no contest after a Davis eye poke left Prado unable to continue.