Two of the best grapplers in the light heavyweight division battled for supremacy last night (April 27, 2013) as national champion wrestler Phil Davis took on Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Vinny Magalhaes on the UFC 159 main card in Newark, New Jersey.
While many were hoping for an incredible back and forth battle on the ground, what fans were treated to was about 14 1/2 minutes of amateur kickboxing.
To his credit, Phil Davis has really been putting in some time with his striking coaches and his attacks were pretty fluid, albeit basic.
Magalhaes came out swinging, with no fear of being taken down due to his incredible ground game. The ADCC gold medalist threw heavy leg kicks and swung with some big hooks on the feet, but he got wobbled by a big head kick despite partially blocking it.
Unfortunately, Davis doesn't yet possess the killer instinct that comes with experienced strikers and he wasn't able to follow up with anything and go for the kill.
Magalhaes' best moment occurred when he caught a body kick from Davis and tripped him to the canvas, diving on "Mr. Wonderful's" back during a scramble. Surprisingly, Magalhaes got sloppy, going for a big left hook on the ground instead of securing the dominant position which gave Davis the amount of space he needed to slip free. A desperation attempt to retain the position only allowed Davis to escape back to his feet.
From here on out, Magalhaes slowed drastically and Davis was able to stay on him, firing off 1-2 combinations and finding a home for his lead left jab. He wasn't hurting Magalhaes much with his strikes, but they were landing in high volume and were effectively shutting down the BJJ black belt's offense.
The quick jab as well as Davis' experimentation with occasional hooks to the body and uppercuts really helped "Mr. Wonderful" takes some nice steps forward last night. While I don't expect him to go and stand toe-to-toe with Lyoto Machida in his next fight or anything, he definitely has worked hard to round out his game.