may not have wowed the masses, but he passed a major test
in his natural progression as a professional mixed martial
An NCAA wrestling champion at Penn State University in 2008, Davis
trudged through what amounted to a baptism by fire and took a
unanimous decision from Pride Fighting Championships veteran
Rogerio Nogueira in the UFC Fight
Night 24 main event on Saturday at the KeyArena in Seattle.
Davis swept the scorecards 30-27 and undoubtedly grew from the
A late replacement for injured former UFC light heavyweight
champion Tito Ortiz,
Davis kept his perfect record intact and likely vaulted himself
into the Top 10 at 205 pounds. Still, besting Nogueira was no easy
task. Even the preparation took its toll.
“I was falling apart when I was in this training camp,” Davis said.
“I had all types of injuries. I didn’t know if I could make this
fight. I just stayed prayerful.”
Davis did not let adversity discourage him, as Nogueira shut down
his takedowns in the first round and kept the fight upright, where
the Brazilian had a distinct advantage. Davis switched from a
double- to a single-leg takedown attack in the second and third
rounds and enjoyed far better luck and swung the momentum in his
favor. Near the end of round two, he grounded Nogueira,
transitioned to a rear position and grinded away with punches and
“I know he’s tough,” Davis said. “He’s resilient.”
The 26-year-old Harrisburg, Pa., native again put the Brazilian on
his back in the third round, and though his offense was limited to
sporadic punches from inside Nogueira’s crafty guard, he did more
than enough to sway the scorecards in his favor. Nogueira, who
turns 35 in June, has dropped back-to-back bouts for the first time
in his career.
Johnson dominated former welterweight title contender Dan Hardy with
superior strength and wrestling, as he grounded the
Team Rough House representative at will and pitched the
equivalent of a shutout in the co-headliner. All three judges
scored it 30-27 for Johnson, who made a triumphant return from a
Johnson knocked Hardy to the ground with a head kick inside the
first minute, and it went downhill from there for the charismatic
Brit. Blessed with a considerable size and strength advantage,
Johnson leaned heavily on his amateur wrestling background and
grounded his mohawked foe repeatedly throughout the one-sided
Hardy sealed his own fate in the third round, as he drove for an
ill-advised takedown and again wound up on his back. Johnson went
to work from the top, transitioned to Hardy’s back and twice
threatened to finish him, first with an arm-triangle choke and then
with a neck crank. Hardy did not go away, but Johnson closed out
the most significant victory of his 12-fight career with some
powerful right hands on the ground.
Sadollah file photo
Sadollah forced Johnson to wilt.
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 winner Amir
into second-round submission from the mount in a
featured welterweight matchup. Exhausted and battered, Johnson
asked out of the fight 3:27 into round two.
After a competitive first round, Sadollah found another gear in the
second. The supremely conditioned Brooklyn, N.Y., native attacked
the body with knees and went to the head with textbook multi-punch
combinations. Johnson, who stepped in for an injured James Wilks
on two weeks’ notice, wilted under the relentless pressure.
With a little more than two minutes left in the second round,
Sadollah clinched with his fatigued foe, swept his feet out from
under him and moved to the mount. From there, he secured wrist
control with no resistance, tied Johnson’s right hand around his
own neck and unleashed a volley of short but powerful elbows that
resulted in the submission.
“I want to be the best. I want to fight the best,” said Sadollah,
who posted his fourth win in five outings.
“That’s why I’m here. I love this.”
Sung Jung submitted former
WEC featherweight title contender Leonard
Garcia with a second-round twister, as he avenged his
controversial April defeat to the Jackson’s
Mixed Martial Arts representative in a featured showdown at 145
pounds. Garcia, his body painfully contorted, tapped out 4:59 into
Jung, a late replacement for injured “The Ultimate Fighter” Season
12 semi-finalist Nam Phan,
dominated the rematch. The 24-year-old
Korean Top Team representative took down Garcia with roughly 90
seconds remaining in round one, threatened him with an armbar and
later moved to full mount. In round two, Jung again pushed the
fight to the mat, where he dropped heavy elbows on the tough Texan.
He transitioned to Garcia’s back with less than half a minute left
in the second round, set up the twister in an ode to certain
Brazilian jiu-jitsu savant and coaxed the tapout.
“I’ve watched Eddie Bravo’s videos on YouTube for a long time,”
Jung said through his translator. The victory snapped the first
two-fight losing streak of the South Korean’s career.
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