One of the fights everyone is looking forward tomorrow night pits UFC light heavyweight veteran Phil Davis against former UFC mainstay Anthony Johnson. Johnson was cut for missing weight on multiple occasions while under contract with ZUFFA. Coming off a violent six-fight win streak while away from the company, Johnson will make his official UFC 205 lbs debut tomorrow night. With wins over Machida, Gustafsson, and Lil’ Nog during his tenure, Davis is a fighter who deserves a title shot just as much as anyone on the roster. While a win over Johnson may not get him one, it certainly would keep him in the proverbial mix. Here is what the Fight Wolff has to say about this intriguing UFC 172 co-main event.
Johnson is a guy who brings scary knockout power into the cage with him. He can generate it with his hands or kicks. He has the power to knockout heavyweights, and if he catches Davis clean he can end the fight with one strike. He will be the most powerful one punch striker that Davis has faced.
Johnson will struggle to land that punch against Davis who is one of the most elusive light heavyweights in the UFC. According to their site, he avoids 72.04% of the strikes thrown at him in the UFC.
He does this with his footwork, head movement, wrestling and game plan. He approaches each fight differently based on his opponent.
When he fought Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 112, Davis immediately exploited Gustafsson’s weakness on the ground to secure the first round submission.
Against submission specialist Vinny Magalhaes he picked him apart in the standup to take a UD at UFC 159.
In his fight with Lyoto Machida he used Machida’s tactics against him. Davis was elusive; he used opportunistic striking and well-timed takedowns to take another UD at UFC 163.
This fight is a different challenge and in someways is similar to Davis’ fight with Tim Boetsch who is a solid wrestler with power. In that one, Davis got the fight to the ground and scored another submission win.
Look for Davis to combine elements of his Machida, Boetsch and Gustafsson fights.
He will frustrate Johnson in the striking by not allowing him to land anything cleanly using his length and movement to control the distance of the fight. Most likely he will look to chip away Johnson’s power and explosiveness with leg and body kicks.
Davis is also excellent at slipping strikes to get inside and initiate a clinch or body lock. From there he will take the fight to the ground and look for him to work some ground and pound before locking up submission win.
Expect an epic interview with Joe Rogan in the octagon with Davis after his win.