Phil Davis threw out a lot of trash talk prior to his UFC 172 fight against Anthony Johnson on Saturday night in Baltimore. The thing is, most of his trash talk was aimed at UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, not his opponent.
Focusing his attentions at the wrong man may have backfired on Davis, as all the talk he flung at Jones was for naught. It was Johnson, who was making his UFC return after spending that past two years fighting elsewhere, that dominated the fight.
Davis, who relies heavily upon his wrestling skills, was stymied by Johnson. He was unable to take “Rumble” down at any point in the fight, something that nary any opponent has been able to accomplish.
Johnson did just that, however, stuffing every attempt that Davis could muster.
Meanwhile, Johnson displayed a newfound maturity in employing his own offense. He stuffed Davis’ attempts, and then countered with heavy shots, mounting damage as the fight wore on, but not rushing things or overcommitting.
Johnson chopped Davis down throughout the fight with a counter right uppercut as his focal point, busting up Davis’ left eye early in the fight en route to a unanimous decision victory.
“It’s been a long road coming. Since I left, I’ve matured so much,” said Johnson after the fight, acknowledging his growth.
While Davis had been trying to talk his way into a title shot with a victory, that didn’t materialize. Johnson avoided the spotlight, buckled down, and proved to his employer that he deserves to be back in the Octagon.
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