Will Davis take step toward contention?
Mere minutes after Jon Jones had finished disposing of Shogun Rua and staring down Rashad Evans on Saturday night, the talk started. Fans and pundits alike took to the Internet to declare, pretty much in unison, that Jones is such a force that nobody out there in the light heavyweight division can stop him and that the UFC might as well stop messing around and just book a Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva superfight already.
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That would provide the UFC with enough time to develop Phil Davis, the man they decided could potentially, eventually provide Jones with a challenge.
So, if we are to believe those people then it would hold that nothing short of the UFC light heavyweight division hangs in the balance this Saturday night at Fight Night 24, because if Davis is unable to get past Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the main event, then we are looking at years before we see the title defended in a competitive bout.
Rest assured though, things do look good for Davis. The bookies have proclaimed him a -350 favorite and his 34-year-old opponent barely squeaked by Jason Brilz and then got shut out by Ryan Bader in his last two fights.
What Nogueira clearly has on his side is experience and he’ll need it if he hopes to get past Davis’ strength and sheer athleticism. Davis has enjoyed a quick dash into main-event status, but say what you will about Nogueira, he is certainly much greater than Tim Boetsch and Rodney Wallace. Before his loss to Bader at UFC 119 he had a seven-fight win streak going that included performances in five different promotions.
More than anything this fight should give us a clear indication of where Davis stands, be it on his way to an eventual title shot or otherwise. Nogueira’s best bet is to use his craftiness to avoid and counter Davis on his way to a decision victory.
I’m sticking with the prospect here, however reluctantly. This won’t be the most exciting main event ever, but for those who study the art of the technique and for those more interested in future matchmaking this should be a rather intriguing matchup.
In the co-main event Dan Hardy tries to snap his two-fight losing streak as he goes into the cage against Anthony Johnson. If this was a move by the UFC brass to get Hardy back in the win column they have done a pretty poor job of it because Johnson is a huge welterweight and gifted wrestler.
The show also features a rematch between Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung that was cobbled together at the last minute after Nam Phan pulled out with an injury. Their first fight at WEC 48 garnered a lot of Fight of the Year votes and to hear it from the UFC, it was an instant classic that will be remembered, literally, forever. I’ve always been luke warm on it and am upset that we’ve been denied a Phan-Garcia rematch, but there is no reason to believe that these two will do anything other than put on a fantastic show at the expense of their own bodies.
Finally on the main card Amir Sadollah will face DeMarques Johnson who is the third person to fill that slot. Duane Ludwig and James Wilks both had to step aside due to injuries.
Also keep your eye on the undercard this Saturday as it is stacked to an unreasonable degree. The Facebook prelims will see Jon Madsen take on Mike Russow in a fight that absolutely should be on the main card, and Alex Caceres (Bruce Leroy from TUF 12) vs. Mackens Semerzier. Other fights that could have easily been part of a main card are John Hathaway vs. Kris McCray, Mario Miranda vs. Aaron Simpson, Sean McCorkle vs. Christian Morecraft and Johny Hendricks vs. TJ Waldburger.