Sexton entered the bout as a significant underdog primarily due to her size, as she was an undersized flyweight throughout much of her career.
Instead of rolling over against Davis, she gave her all she could handle for three rounds.
Both ladies swung for the fences early, scoring with wild punches in the pocket before Davis closed the distance with heavy elbows and knees in the clinch. She did some solid damage, but Sexton responded with a takedown attempt, only to wind up trapped in a triangle choke from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Davis tried to lock in the choke, but she knee was closed over her foot instead of her ankle, and that gave Sexton all the space she needed to avoid getting put to sleep.
Undeterred, Sexton brought the pain with some nice right hands from top position despite having her head and arm wrapped up in the choke. The repeated right hands actually did some nice damage, bloodying up Davis' nose and she was able to ride out the remainder of the first round.
Davis turned up the aggression in round two, securing a dominant position during a scramble after a heel hook attempt and taking Sexton's back. She postured up and dropped some punishment, but was unable to finish off a rear naked choke as Sexton hung on for dear life.
After flattening Sexton out, Davis began dropping ground and pound, even forcing the referee to caution Sexton to fight back. Unfortunately for Sexton, she had zilch on her punches and just wasn't able to make them look painful enough to put a stop to the fight.
In the final decisive round, Davis again attacked on the feet with some Muay Thai, scoring with elbows and knees on the inside, but she got a bit sloppy attempting to take Sexton's back and wound up on bottom. Davis was a bit too comfortable off her back and could have thrown away the round, but Sexton attempted to take her back and fell to the same fate.
Davis wasn't able to finish the fight, but she rode out the remainder of the round in a superior position to walk away with a decision, the first female fight in UFC history to go the distance.
For Rosi Sexton, she deserves some major props. She was much smaller than Davis, but she was fired up, willing to trade with her on the feet and attack on the ground with punches, takedowns and sweeps. She turned what many thought would be an easy win for Davis into some serious hard work and that is impressive in it's own right, especially considering the grapplers Davis has had her way with in recent bouts.
A fight against fellow blown up 125-er Sheila Gaff would make sense as both were originally supposed to fight each other anyways.
For Alexis Davis, she got ahead of herself in this fight and it was pretty obvious that the Octagon jitters got to her. She was a bit sloppy at times on the ground and she was waaaaaay too comfortable on her back, particularly when she didn't have a triangle choke tight enough or when she wasn't even doing anything in the third round. She should consider herself fortunate to have walked away with a victory. If Sexton was 15 pounds heavier, she might not have.