Magalhaes (10-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC) and Davis (10-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) on Saturday meet on the main card of UFC 159, which takes place at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and airs on pay-per-view.
Davis, an elite-level wrestler, has made mention that the fight is his for the taking, including by submission if he wants to tap Magalhaes, one of the world’s best jiu-jitsu practitioners. And that, Magalhaes said, is just crazy.
“In an MMA fight, anything can happen,” Magalhaes told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “But a submission from Phil Davis on me? No way. That’s just ridiculous. For him to think that, he has to be completely insane. Delusional, or insane.”
Davis hasn’t proven to be a slouch on the ground. He has three submissions in his 10 wins, including a bonus for his “Mr. Wonderful” choke of Tim Boetsch at UFC 123. He also tapped out Alexander Gustafsson in the Swede’s second UFC fight – the only loss of Gustafsson’s career.
But Magalhaes contends that when Davis is dominant, it has been against opponents with a different skill set than what he’s bringing to the table on Saturday night.
“All his dominant wins weren’t against guys who have the kind of game I have,” he said. “He won on the ground the way he can’t win against me. There’s no way.”
Magalhaes, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who took gold at the 2011 Abu Dhabi Combat Club when he outpointed Fabricio Werdum, said he’s never been submitted in a no-gi grappling match. And eight of his 10 career MMA wins have ended with submissions.
So Davis should be pretty clear on what the “TUF 8? runner-up’s game plan is likely to be. But Magalhaes believes he has the edge in more areas than just on the ground.
“I feel there’s so many different ways that I can win this fight,” he said. “It’s not that it’s an easy fight. Phil is a great athlete. There’s a reason why he’s No. 8 in the official rankings. There’s a reason why people think it’s such a mismatch. He’s a great athlete. But there’s so many holes in his game, and I feel like his game is the perfect style for me. If he takes me down, 10 seconds is enough for me to submit him.”
Davis is a 3-to-1 favorite in the fight. But Magalhaes, who comes in on a six-fight win streak of four submissions and a pair of knockouts since his most recent loss more than three years ago, plans to turn the odds – and his detractors – on their ears.
“I’m always on the Internet, and people are saying like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a sloppy kickboxing match, and then Phil might get a takedown the last few seconds,’” he said. “That’s not how it’s going to go.”
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