Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans: This Will Be Mr. Wonderful's Time to Shine
As most of you already know, it was announced today that Jon Jones has pulled out of his upcoming title defense against Rashad Evans due to a hand injury. As a result, "Mr. Wonderful" Phil Davis has taken Jones' place at UFC 133 and will face Rashad Evans.
My homeboy—and co-host of Sprawl N Brawl Radio—Joe Schafer believes Evans is too much, too soon for Davis.
I believe otherwise. I believe that once Jon Jones is all healed up, he will make his first title defense against Phil Davis.
We all know Davis was not overly impressive in his most recent fight against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. But if you look at the big picture, Nogueira was a terrible stylistic matchup for Davis.
Nogueira, for the better part, was able to stuff Davis' takedowns. When Davis was able to get Nogueira on the mat, Nogueira's superior jiu-jitsu was able to neutralize most of Davis' ground offense.
But there was one big part of the match that stood out. Nogueira, a very technical striker, was not able to mount much of an attack when the fight was standing.
The victory wasn't pretty, but it was nonetheless a victory for Davis.
In his next bout, Davis will face his most formidable opponent to date—former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. Stylistically, this is a much better match-up for Davis.
Who wins and how?
First, Davis has a much more prestigious wrestling background than Evans. During his three years at Michigan State, Evans competed at 174 lbs., and had a record of 48-37.
On the other hand, Davis wrestled for four years at Penn State, amassed a 116-17 record, was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American, and won the NCAA title during his senior year. Also, he did all this while competing at 197 lbs.
So when it comes to wrestling, not only was Davis much more decorated, but he also accomplished all this competing 23 pounds heaver than Evans. Given those facts, Davis should clearly have the advantage on the mat.
Some may say "That was years ago. Evans is the larger man now. He competed at heavyweight on the Ultimate Fighter."
OK, that's a fair statement to some extent. But have you ever actually compared their body types? Rashad's body type is typical for a light heavyweight.
But just look at Davis. The guy is 60 inches around his shoulders and has a 28-inch waist.
I may be exaggerating a little bit with those dimensions, but Davis has a huge advantage in upper body strength. This, paired with his superior wrestling, will allow Davis to control the action on the mat.
Who makes the better argument?
When it comes to striking, Evans will have a huge advantage. After all, he was the first person to ever knock Chuck Liddell out cold.
But Evans' striking can be negated by Davis' reach advantage.
It's easier said than done, but if Davis can use his jab to keep Evans out of striking range, he will be able to not only avoid Evans' hands, but it will also keep him out of range when Evans tries to take him down.
This will put Davis in a perfect position to take Evans down and work his ground and pound. We might even see him pull off another "Mr. Wonderful."
Then there is the one thing most people will overlook—Davis does not know how to lose.
Matt Hughes once said "If you haven't lost, you're not fighting the right people." So far in his career, Davis has fought the right people, and has ended up defeating all of them.
An opponent like Evans is the perfect measuring stick for Davis at this point of his career. With all the things he has going for him, Davis will continue not knowing what losing is like.
Come August 6, we will all witness Phil Davis' coming out party. He will, without a doubt, come in to this fight as the underdog.
Then he will prove everyone wrong, and I will win a bunch of money.
Play on Playa.
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