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UFC 153 preview: Phil Davis and Wagner Prado rematch after no contest in first meeting

Phil Davis (left) will face Wagner Prado at UFC 153

The second bout that will air on the UFC 153 PPV main card will be the light heavyweight bout between Phil Davis and Wagner Prado in Brazil on Saturday night. The bout is actually an immediate rematch between the two fighters who fought back in August, but the bout was rendered a no contest after Prado was poked in the eye by Davis and could not continue to fight. Let’s see how this one breaks down.

Wagner Prado (8-0, 1NC) is a Brazilian talent that had fought exclusively in Brazil prior to the initial bout with Davis back in August. He has won seven fights via TKO/KO and made his MMA debut just over three years ago. He trains with Team Nogueira which is also the home of UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos.

Phil Davis (9-1, 1NC) is a former four time All-American and national champion college wrestler out of Penn State University. Davis made his MMA debut in 2008 and joined the UFC roster in his fifth fight. He has won two fights via TKO/KO and three fights via submission and trains with Alliance MMA and Team Lloyd Irvin which is home to UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.

The first fight ended in just over a minute into the fight so there’s not much to learn from that experience. What I did notice is that Prado didn’t seemed to be intimidated by Davis and kept coming forward. Davis landed four significant strikes compared to two by Prado according to Fightmetric. However, I do remember Prado connecting with a nice right hand that seemed to get the attention of Davis.

Davis has been working diligently on his striking game since entering the UFC. His wrestling is very good, but I’m not sure I would consider it elite MMA wrestling at this point because his striking hasn’t been good enough to help him set up his takedowns. It’s evident that Prado has knockout power as 88% of his wins have come via that method. Davis will have the reach advantage and will need to use his jab to find his range and work off that. He shouldn’t use this fight to implement what he has learned in training striking wise. He should strike just enough to set up the takedown and go from there. It’s one thing to lose to a former light heavyweight champion in Rashad Evans, but it’s totally different to lose to someone that absolutely nobody knows after suffering your first career loss. If Davis is able to get Prado to the ground he should be fine there. Actually, both fighters have trained with the Nogueira brothers so Davis shouldn’t be surprised by anything Prado does on the ground.

Prado simply needs to sprawl and brawl since it seems as though his strength relies on his knockout power. He did a good job of keeping Davis moving backwards for the short amount of time they fought in the initial fight, and that’s something he’ll want to do the second go round. If Davis is able to take him down he wouldn’t play the jiu-jitsu game as Davis is well versed in submissions and has a very good control top game.He should look to get right back up to his feet immediately and keep Davis on the defensive.

I think I have to go with Davis in this fight. He was fighting someone that he didn’t really know much about in their first meeting and probably has seen just enough to be able to make some simple adjustments. He also has more experience against better competition coupled with his wrestling background which will always serve him well. I think Davis takes the decision here, but Prado certainly seems capable of landing a huge punch that could put a lot of light heavyweights away.

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