The UFC decided to jump on prospect Phil Davis early, and it looks like they made a good decision.
Fresh off winning an NCAA wrestling title in 2008, Davis, 25, took on veteran Brian Stann, and he made Stann look like an amateur on the ground. Stann couldn't extricate himself from Davis' clutches and spent most of the fight trying to defend himself in the mount. Davis rolled to a unanimous decision win, 30-27 on all cards, to record his first UFC win.
It was hard to tell how far Davis needs to go with his standup game. He didn't look all that comfortable, but he was actually better off missing with wild rights so he could charge forward and plant Stann on his back via takedowns.
Davis still needs to add submissions to his game as well. He had several opportunities to work a rear-naked choke and arm-triangle chokes, but he was more interested in maintaining position. Any criticism has to be tempered by repeating that this was his fifth career fight.
Stann is a nice fighter for the promotion. A Marine Corps veteran and former football player in Annapolis, Stann has solid standup. However, his ground game just isn't good enough to compete with the top 20 light heavyweights.
It's become clear that the 155-pound class on Season 8 of "The Ultimate Fighter" just wasn't that good. Phillipe Nover destroyed the field on his way to the final before losing to Efrain Escudero. Along the way he was dubbed "The next Anderson Silva" by UFC president Dana White.
It hasn't worked out in his post-show fights.
He was finished quickly by Kyle Bradley at UFC 98, and Saturday he couldn't deal with the power of Rob Emerson. Emerson, a kickboxer by trade, actually outworked Nover by using takedowns and ground control. Emerson (9-8, 3-2 UFC) pulled off the upset via unanimous decision. Nover (6-3, 0-3 UFC) was a minus-160 favorite.
Emerson was part of TUF 5, a season that produced lightweights Nate Diaz, Gray Maynard, Matt Wiman, Joe Lauzon, Corey Hill, Manny Gamburyan and Cole Miller.
- Brian Stann
- Phil Davis