UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs. Davis
January 28, 2012
Rashad Evans vs Phil Davis
UFC Betting Pick: Phil Davis (+145)
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Light Heavyweight bout: Rashad “Suga” Evans (-165) vs Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis (+145)
If you were to ask me, I think that Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis (9-0) has a lot of the same qualities as current light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. He has the skill and raw talent to be a UFC champion and will have this put to the test when he faces off against former UFC light heavyweight champion, Rashad “Sugar” Evans (18-1).
In terms of betting this fight is too close to call but the UFC odds have the lines further apart than I would have thought—Evans is favored at -165 while Davis is a +145 underdog. This fight can go either way but as the odds are fairly far apart I would go with the underdog pick for a better return on my money.
When it comes to wrestling these guys are quite even. Both are accomplished NCAA wrestlers and with great strength, power, technique and pedigree. Davis was 116–17 at Penn State and was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American as well as the NCAA Division I 197 Pound Champion. Evans was not quite as accomplished but was the Junior College National Champion at 165 pounds out of Niagara County Community College after which he transferred to Michigan State and competed in the 174 pound weight class for three years with a record of 48–34.
As well as having a slight skills advantage when it comes to wrestling Davis also has the edge when it comes to size—6 foot 2 to Evans’ 5 foot 11. He has the larger body frame and is the more muscular and stronger fighter so if this fight goes to the ground, Davis should be able to hold Evans down for a bit.
When it comes to grapping Davis once against comes up on top. He currently trains with Team Lloyd Irvin, one of the premier grappling teams in the US and home to some decent high level grapplers such as Brandon Vera and Kris McCray; UFC Bantamweight Champion, Dominick Cruz; and two of the best grapplers on the scene in Jonathan Torres and Ryan Hall—who placed third in ADCC. Davis himself won the No Gi Grappling World Jiu-Jitsu Championship as a blue belt in the 221 pound, Super Heavyweight division in 2009.
Though Davis may seem to have the advantage so far in our analysis, Evans has the edge when it comes to striking. Evans has a very jerky style that confuses a lot of fighters—he likes to juke and jive his hands and head a great deal which tends to throw a lot of his opponents off wherein they drop their hands. Evans is experienced when it comes to squaring off against high level strikers and he has the ability to KO Davis, however, I believe Davis to be just as fast and quick—all he needs to do is avoid being hit.
Bottom Line: Evans should be the betting favorite but I like the odds for Davis—which in my book makes this a very good bet. In many ways Davis is similar to Evans as both fighters are very athletic and have a good wrestling base.
I think size and speed will pose a lot of problems for Evans as Davis is just as fast, not to mention bigger and stronger. Though Davis might not be able hold Evans down on the ground for long, he will get the takedown points, and if he is able to do this over and over again, he might be able to win this fight by decision.
Look for Davis to Win by Decision
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