The huge mixed martial arts (MMA) upside of Phil Davis is a tantalizing possibility, and in the wake of his semi-recent loss to Rashad Evans, where the big stage seemingly got the best of "Mr. Wonderful," he has more than likely learned from the experience and gotten better for it.
Gifted with dynamite wrestling, inventive submissions and a laudable aptitude for the standing game, Davis’ ability to render good opponents helpless makes him a true shutdown artist against certain styles and levels of opposition.
Vinny Magalhaes, his Light Heavyweight opponent later this evening (Sat., April 27, 2013) at UFC 159, which takes place at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., still has barely developed a stand up element to his arsenal, and as a former Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) world champion, he’s pretty much a one-trick pony (albeit an exceptionally dangerous one).
"Pezao" got drilled by Ryan Bader at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 Finale back in 2008, and after a subsequent disappointing decision loss to Eliot Marshall, where he looked uninspired and listless, Magalhaes parted ways with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Since then, he’s strung together some decent wins outside the UFC and returned to the Octagon with a submission over Igor Pokrajac.
Check out a complete breakdown of the UFC 159 main card bout between Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes below:
It’s always compelling when a master wrestler collides with a submission specialist because much of the bout can swing on who has the better stand up. Since that’s obviously Davis in this equation, he has a huge mental and tactical advantage.
Davis' thudding kicks and punches sometimes take him off his feet with his willingness to fire, but he strikes hard and fast enough to compensate for technical glitches in his delivery. He also covers the two-step distance with takedown shots as fast as anyone in the division, which is a great weapon when you want to change the tone of the bout in an eyeblink.
Magalhaes' best chance is to get this to the ground, even by pulling guard, because Davis will be able to pick him apart at his leisure on the feet. Davis’ submission awareness is excellent, however, and Magalhaes will need a real slick set up to catch "Mr. Wonderful" in something meaningful.
This is a tailor-made bout for Davis to score a nice win, and he’ll dominate on the feet to begin. Moving in and out with solid combinations, he’ll score a knockdown or two early, but opt to remain on the feet as Magalhaes wears down. In the second, Davis will pounce, rocking Magalhaes with punches and spring in for a ground-and-pound stoppage.
Davis via technical knockout.
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the UFC 159 pay-per-view (PPV) main card action, which is slated to start promptly at 10 p.m. ET. Up-to-the-minute updates and fight-by-fight coverage will begin to flow earlier than that, however, around 6:35 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook and FX.
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst