UFC On FOX 14 Fight Breakdown: Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader

Phil Davis 2 One of the main card bouts at UFC on FOX 14 is a three-round light heavyweight bout between Phil Davis and Ryan Bader. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Davis is a -250 favorite (bet $250 to win $100) while Bader is a +210 underdog (bet $100 to win $210). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Davis at -215 and Bader at +165, and the early betting action is on Davis. I agree with Davis being a big favorite here as I expect him to win this fight. Here’s why. Davis (13-2, 1 NC) is one of the top light heavyweight contenders in the UFC. The 30-year-old American is 9-2, 1 NC in the UFC and holds notable career victories over the likes of Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira, Lyoto Machida, Tim Boetsch and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and his only losses are against Rashad Evans and Anthony Johnson. Davis was an accomplished collegiate wrestler and he has transferred those skills well into MMA. He is one of the elite wrestlers at 205lbs and is capable of taking down most fighters in the division. He also has solid takedown defence himself, although he has been put on his back by even better wrestlers like Evans. Davis’ striking has come a long way since when he started training MMA, and he uses a nice kickboxing attack to pick up points on the judges’ cards. He doesn’t have much power but he makes up for it with a nice volume of strikes. He also has a good chin, good cardio, and a smart fight IQ. Davis is coming off of a big win over Teixeira where he showed off his wrestling chops, and I expect him to use his wrestling even more after a striking-based attack failed him in his fight against Johnson. With a win over Bader at UFC on FOX 14, Davis will get one step close to finally getting a title shot against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, something that has eluded him so far in his career but something that is definitely closer than ever before. Bader (18-4) was a college wrestler who transitioned into MMA after school and he immediately burst onto the scene by winning The Ultimate Fighter 8. The 31-year-old American is 11-4 in the UFC with wins over the likes of Ovince St-Preux, Rafael Cavalcante, Quinton Jackson and Vinny Magalahes, just to name a few, although he has four losses in the UFC to Teixeira, Jones, Machida, and Tito Ortiz. Bader is primarily a boxer/wrestler, but he has really focused on his wrestling in his last few fights and the results have shown as he is currently riding a three-fight win streak. He has good boxing and knockout power, but his chin has let him down on numerous occasions in the past and overall he is just an average striker. He does have good cardio and can keep up a solid pace for up to five rounds, which makes him dangerous against anyone in the division. Still, I think Bader’s ceiling is a high-level gatekeeper. He doesn’t have the chin or the striking necessary to hang with the top guys in the world at 205lbs, and while he can beat guys on the periphery of the top 10, he struggles against elite fighters, and thus it’s no shock he is the underdog here against Davis. I think Davis is going to come into this fight with a similar gameplan to how he beat Machida, meaning he will use his wrestling in reverse to keep the fight standing and use a kickboxing attack to win a decision. I think Davis has shown a good enough chin that even if Bader is the better striker and could land some big punches, I don’t think he will be able to knock Davis out and I think Davis will accumulate volume over three rounds to get a nod on the judges’ scorecards. I could even see Davis potentially getting a submission if this fight ends up on the mat. Regardless of method, I like Davis to win this fight and at -250 I think he’s worth betting on this weekend.

Written by Adam Martin.

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