It’s often said the wrestling is the best base to enter MMA with and UFC light heavyweight. Phil Davis is a great example of that. A four-time NCAA Division I All-American and 2008 NCAA Division I National Champion, Davis is one of the most decorated wrestlers in the light heavyweight division. That wrestling base has helped Davis become one of the top fighters in the UFC today.

At 9-2 and one no contest in the Octagon, Davis has some impressive wins on his resume. But his two loses have kept him from ascending to the upper echelon of the division.

Heading into UFC on Fox 14 on Saturday, January 24th, Davis is looking to build on his impressive victory over former title challenger Glover Teixeira as he is set to take on fellow former NCAA All-American Ryan Bader. A win here could put Davis is line for a possible number one contender bout later on this summer.

Dictate the Distance

Even though Davis and Bader are both 6’2”, Davis will have a 5” reach advantage. That reach advantage is going to be a key weapon on Saturday night because when Bader gets on the inside he has vicious one punch knockout power. Even though Davis has never been knocked out, it would be in his best interest not to expose himself to Bader’s power.

Davis’ biggest weakness as a fighter is his striking game, so keeping Bader away with his long jab will do a lot to cover up that hole in his game. As long as Davis uses his jab effectively, he will be able to dictate the pace of the fight, the distance and he will be able to set up his takedowns off of the jab.

Attack the Neck

Even though it has been several years, it’s important to note that two of Bader’s four UFC losses have come by submission via choke. Davis has proven time and time again that his pure grappling ability is on another level and he needs to target Bader’s neck in all of their grappling exchanges.

Bader has come a long way since those back-to-back submission loses, but wrestlers in general do not protect their neck well in grappling exchanges. If Davis gets on Bader’s back or if he gets him in a front headlock situation. watch out because the choke will be coming.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report,, and RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.