UFC 123: Quinton Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida, Where Does Phil Davis Fit?
Two former champions, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida are facing off this coming weekend. It is a clash of styles, elusive counter striker vs. raw aggression and power.
Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis does not really fit Lyoto Machida’s or Quinton Jackson’s styles at all, but he certainly has a future in the light heavyweight division. Phil Davis is a young prospect that is rough around the edges, but showcases a lot of raw talent and is currently 6-0 in mixed martial arts with three victories in the UFC.
Is Phil Davis the future of the light heavyweight division? Being one of the deepest divisions in the sport, it may be too soon to tell, especially with young guns like Jon Jones and Ryan Bader moving up the ranks. However, let us have a look at what Mr. Wonderful brings into the Octagon.
At 26 years old, Davis has his whole career ahead of him and there are big expectations for this fighter’s career.
Phil Davis’ path into the world of mixed martial arts was a path shared by many of the sport’s greatest, like Randy Couture, Cain Velasquez, Matt Hughes, Dan Henderson and the list goes on. Phil Davis was a standout NCAA division I wrestler, he was the 2008 champion in the 197 pound weight class and a four-time All-American.
Strong wrestling makes for a great base in mixed martial arts, but how a wrestler does in mixed martial arts really depends on how they go about rounding out their overall game. One just has to look at Brock Lesnar’s performance against Cain Velasquez. Lesnar was able to take Velasquez down and pin him against the fence, but when Velasquez kept getting up from the bottom, Lesnar’s chances deflated as Velasquez brutalized him with punches.
Phil Davis has started off the right way in his mixed martial arts career: He is exploiting where his strengths are first. Davis being a strong wrestler has really worked on his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to add some offense to his biggest asset. Phil Davis has earned his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and won the no Gi world Jiu Jitsu championship in the 221 pounds weight class for blue belts. Smart move by Mr. Davis, no Gi competition mimics MMA much more than Brazilian Jit Jitsu competitions with a Gi.
Against fellow UFC light heavyweight prospect Alexander Gustafsson, Davis put that Jiu Jitsu on display, forcing Alexander to tap to an Anaconda choke in the first round.
Next up for Phil Davis is striking, Davis has shown the ground skills, he has the wrestling, the power and he has the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to compete with most guys on the ground. What fans haven’t seen from Mr. Wonderful is his stand up and hopefully that’s what will be on display this coming Saturday.
Tim Boetsch has a wrestling base and posts a 12-3 record in mixed martial arts, he is starting his second stint with the UFC and one thing he has shown is an ability to fight anywhere the fight goes. Tim Boetsch is Phil Davis’ next opponent and he will be a test for Davis. Boetsch will probably try to keep the fight standing at the beginning and it will probably give fans the chance to see how hard Phil Davis has worked on his striking.
If Phil Davis beats Tim Boetsch in convincing fashion, one it shows that he can deal with a well-rounded competitor and two it shows that he could use a step up in competition.
Brandon Vera, Vladamir Matyushenko, Krzystof Soszynski and Stephan Bonnar are all guys that would be a step in the right direction for Phil Davis should he win against Boetsch this weekend. If Phil Davis continues his winning ways through 2011, expect to see him in the mix for a title shot some time in 2012.
Is Phil Davis the future of mixed martial arts at 205 pounds? It is really too early to say, but he certainly has the talent and the athleticism to be the future of the division and with a couple more wins he may very well be at the top of that light heavyweight ladder. Phil Davis also has the attitude of a future champion in place already, he gives great interviews, he is quick to say where he needs to improve for his next fight and he seems like a wonderful guy; no pun intended.