Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis picked up the biggest win of his career tonight in the main event of UFC Fight Night 24 by taking a hard-fought unanimous decision over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
The man who is being touted as Jon Jones’ biggest future threat struggled early on against Nogueira, who avoided the NCAA Divsion-1 All-American’s takedown attempts with ease and scored with nice counters on the feet. Davis hung tough though, and kept Nogueira honest with hard kicks on the feet. After a tough first round, Davis would need to adjust on the fly if he wanted to make a big statement.
Davis went back to work with kicks in the second round and, after failing on an initial takedown attempt, finally got the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to the mat. Nogueira fought well off of his back, utilizing strong wrist control and threatening with sweeps to keep Davis from mounting any big offensive assault. Nogueira tried to get back to his feet several times but Davis stayed on him and made him pay with a consistent flow of strikes and big knees to the body.
Davis was able to complete another pair of takedowns in the third and remained free from the danger of Nogueira’s lauded guard. The young light heavyweight avoided getting overwhelmed by a tough and more experienced opponent and opened up the door for higher profile match ups in the future.
After the fight, Davis stated that he was “falling apart” during his training camp and wasn’t sure that he could take this fight. He didn’t go into details, but did admit to having been injured during his camp.
“I was falling apart when I was in this training camp,” he said. “I didn’t know if I could make this fight. But I prayed. I had all types of injuries.”
Davis also complimented his opponent, calling Nogueira “tough” and “resilient.”
Davis improves to 9-0, remaining unbeaten as a professional for the time being. Nogueira falls to 19-5 and is now officially on a two-fight losing skid, having dropped his previous fight to Ryan Bader.