Alexis "Ally-Gator" Davis' unanimous-decision victory over Liz "Girlrilla" Carmouche at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 on Wednesday held extra incentive because it effectively represented a pendulum swing for the fighters.
The victor would be just a step away from potentially challenging the winner of the Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate match at UFC 168 for the women's bantamweight championship. Meanwhile, the loser would be in need of a few wins just to vault back into serious contention for the belt.
Indeed, Davis' decisive victory now propels her up the challenger hierarchy, while Carmouche plummets in the opposite direction. If you missed it, this tweet from the UFC summed up the fight:
Here are the consequences we can expect for both fighters going forward.
Back to Square One
Carmouche's inability to ward of Davis' inside leg kicks was the catalyst for her defeat. Despite opening up a huge gash over her opponent's eye in the second frame, Carmouche was on the defensive nearly the entire fight, taking strikes and being driven backward even after landing the big right hand.
She will probably have to take a step back with her next opponent, perhaps someone like Amanda Nunes. Nunes is a powerful 25-year-old fighter whom Davis defeated back in 2011 via second-round TKO. Given the problems that Carmouche had with Davis' relentless aggression, Nunes might be a handful for her.
Regardless, Carmouche is now 1-2 in the UFC and 9-4 in professional MMA. The 29-year-old is looking at an uphill, though not impossible, climb back toward the top.
A Title Bout?
Davis, on the other hand, has set herself up for a juicy bout, possibly against titleholder Ronda Rousey. As alluded to above, though, Rousey still has to defeat Tate on Dec. 28 before that bout can happen.
If her next opponent is Rousey, Davis' reputation as a submission artist could give her a chance in a quick bout against Rousey's deadly armbar assault. The 26-year-old Rousey is still undefeated at 7-0, so Davis would be a significant underdog in the fight.
If Tate can pull off the upset, Davis would be facing an opponent who is similarly suited to submission wrestling. Such a potential strength-on-strength matchup might be more conducive to Davis' chances of winning the women's bantamweight title.
At the very least, her immediate future is not in question—a fate that her defeated opponent Carmouche cannot claim.