Phil Davis did enough in the judges eyes to outpoint Lyoto Machida tonight at UFC 163 in what’s likely to be considered a somewhat controversial decision.
The co-main event is underway and it’s Machida who takes the center of the Octagon pawing with his right hand. Davis strikes first though, landing a quick low kick.
Davis showing a lot of movement and sticking with just landing the occasional kick. Machida being minimal with his offensive output too at this early stage. Machida likes to fight on the counter, but he’s not getting much opportunity to do that so far.
Machida fires off a head kick that brings a cheer from the vocal Brazilian crowd. A few strikes being exchanged, but nothing too major so far.
With just over a minute to go Machida suddenly charges forward with a flurry of strikes and Davis has to hit reverse gear under the onslaught and then drops down to the mat, though he’s immediately back up. That’s the most significant moment in the fight so far.
The fight’s crackling to life now and Davis then gets his first big moment of the fight as he lands a takedown. He’s potentially looking to set-up a kimura, but Machida defends and the round comes to end.
Back to a more patient stand-up appraoch from both men to start off round two. With a minute gone Machida cracks off a head kick that’s blocked.
30 seconds later Davis follows suit with one of his own that doesn’t fully connect.
Davis attempts to initiate a clinch and bully Machida up against the cage, but Machida back away and out of danger nicely.
A couple of leg kicks from Davis and Machida counters with a short hook that forces his opponent to reset.
Not much between them at this stage, mainly just exchanging leg kicks. Davis attempts a couple of takedowns in a row and Machida does well to deny both.
Couple of powerful kicks from Machida. Davis charges forward, but there’s nothing doing.
Davis moving forward again and Machida lands a hard counter. Davis keeps going though and gets a takedown and scores a couple of nice knees to the body to close the round out.
Onto the final round then and it’s back to light leg kicks being traded. Davis tries a superman punch, but hits only thin air.
Still the two men continue to exchange leg kicks, but nothing too debilatating. Davis rushes forward with a takedown, but it’s stuffed.
Davis gets caught with a knee as he comes forward and Machida follows through with the momentum and gets a takedown from it. Davis doesn’t give him much of a chance to do anything with it though, managing to stand up shortly afterwards before he took any damage.
Stuffed takedown again and Machida’s starting to look more confident now as he scores with a hard strike.
Machida looks to land a knee to the mid-section and Davis attempts another takedown and somehow the Brazilian manages to shrug him off quite easily. Impressive takedown defense beings shown by Machida against a talented wrestler.
Again Davis is denied. Final 20 seconds and Machida is scoring with some strikes. Davis isn’t hurt, though the fact he’s not been able to really utilize his wrestling against ‘The Dragon’ may have dented his pride a little.
And that’s the fight over. It’s a close one to call but it looked like Machida might just have done enough to win it having landed the more meaningful blows throughout the 15 minutes.
No, say the judges! They’ve awarded Phil Davis the win by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) bringing a large chorus of boo’s from the Brazilian fans.
It’s certainly a controversial one, though to be fair it’s always a risk when you engage in a cautious approach like Machida did here and he knows that as he’s been burnt by it in the past (the ‘Rampage’ Jackson fight in particular immediately springs to mind – I thought he should have won that one too, but only just).