Phil Davis kept up the winning ways for Penn State wrestlers on Saturday night in Seattle, as he won his Ultimate Fight Night decision, 30-27, on all three cards over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. His alma mater won the Division I NCAA wrestling championship last Saturday.
Nogueira took the lead early, as he tagged Davis a few times in the first round. Nogueira's takedown defense was markedly improved from his last bout -- a loss to Ryan Bader -- as he stopped every takedown attempt from Davis in the first round. Davis, a Division I national champion wrestler at Penn State, was clearly frustrated by not being able to use his biggest weapon.
Davis' movement did not slow in the second round, but he still had a hard time getting inside to land any strikes. Nogueira continued to land punches here and there, just enough to keep Davis at bay. Finally, Davis managed a takedown in the final two minutes of the round. Though Nogueira came close to getting back to his feet, Davis kept him on the ground and punished him. He landed several punches to the head and body, then finished the round by throwing knees into Nogueira's side several times.
Nogueira's takedown defense wilted by the third round. Davis used a single leg to take Nogueira to the ground, and smothered him for at least a minute. Halfway through the round, they returned to their feet, with Nogueira stalking Davis around the Octagon. But Davis returned to his bread and butter and took Nogueira down again. He maintained in that position for the rest of the bout. Nogueira tried to kick Davis off, but couldn't do it.
After the fight, Davis was honest about his training camp.
"I was falling apart in this training camp. I had all types of injuries," Davis said. He wasn't surprised that Nogueira stopped his takedowns. "I know he's tough. He's resilient. He learns."
Heading into this bout, this match-up had been hyped up as a reincarnation of Shogun-Bones from UFC 128, since both Davis and the new light heavyweight champ, Jon Jones, are young, up-and-coming stars with wrestling bases. They were both fighting Brazilians who were stars in Pride.
Davis showed that he still has a while to go until he's ready for a title shot, but there's nothing wrong with that. He still is an exciting prospect in the UFC's light heavyweight division. He is now 9-0 in MMA, 5-0 in the UFC. Nogueira, the twin brother of former UFC heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, is now 19-5. This is his second loss in a row in the Octagon, as he dropped a decision to Ryan Bader at UFC 119.