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Predict the outcome of the Rashad Evans-Phil Davis fight - who wins and how?
MATT PELKEY, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Rashad by being better at MMA. Phil Davis is a freak of an athlete and a prodigious prospect, but this is too early for him to take on someone with the evolved skills of "Sugar" Rashad. I expect Davis to be good enough to get a takedown or two, and his length advantage on the feet should allow him to work in some of his powerful leg kicks, but that's about all the offense I see for Mr. Wonderful. Its a five rounder, so that's two extra rounds for something dramatic and/or unexpected to happen, but I see five rounds of Evans winning exchanges on the feet, avoiding takedowns, and even working in a key takedown of his own at the end of rounds to seal them. Evans by decision and following the gameplan.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
This fight could be a short one, or as most will predict, a ground specialist's dream. The wrestling pedigree between Evans and Davis well known, but Evans has the power to make this fight a short one. I just don't think it'll happen that way. I see Evans grinding this fight out with Davis, and taking the fight via unanimous decision.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think Rashad wins this one. I just don't think that Davis has the tools needed to beat Rashad. I hope the fight plays out like they both say it will, on the feet, but I think that Davis will shoot in for a takedown early. Rashad has the ability to knock out Davis, but I think this fight goes the distance. I think Rashad wins by decision, and goes on to fight Jon Jones later.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I find this question silly and excusable. Rashad Evans is from a great city full of great sports teams and the home of Michael Jordan himself – Chicago, Illinois! Rashad will be fighting in front of a hometown crowd, which will give him all that much more of a boost in the cage. As long as he doesn't get reckless trying to finish the fight, this is his to win and his to lose. Phil Davis doesn't have the wrestling to keep up with Rashad, and he hasn't displayed explosive striking like we know Evans can bring to the table. Rashad has one career loss, I think many people forget this – he has lost once, and he's a former champion. He's going to come into the cage, either knock out Davis or get the decision. I really don't see Rashad pulling off a submission but less likely things have certainly happened. Davis is a great fighter, but this is a fight I just can't begin to imagine him winning. There's a small Rashad Evans fan boy inside of me screaming "GET EM SUGA" but there's also an adult man on the outside telling that fan boy to shut his trap. Most likely Evans by TKO in round three.
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Davis believes his wrestling to be far superior to that of Evans, while Evans himself has shown little appreciation for Davis' wrestling game and believes he's the better fighter. The big difference in this fight comes in the striking game, however. Evans is the far superior striker, with proven success on the feet in his career. He's been tagged several times by a number of other opponents, but Davis isn't the level of striker of any of them.
If Davis gets Evans on his back, he'll need to be looking for submissions in quick fashion. His hope to win this fight is to get Evans down and stop him there, and the longer the fight goes without that happening, the more he leaves himself open to being stopped himself. He's the least-hit fighter in the UFC, but that's been because he's able to keep his opponents on their backs. That's not going to be the case with Evans, and that could lead to a long night.
Ultimately, this fight simply may be a little too soon for Davis. He's coming in supremely confident in his own abilities, but with a lengthy injury layoff keeping him out for most of 2011, and the considerable leap in competition he's taking, he's not yet as good a fighter overall as Evans. Because of that, I see "Sugar" Rashad staking claim to his fight with Jones.
[Rashad Evans art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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