Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 | 4 p.m.
Phil Davis has followed the ongoing saga between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Rashad Evans mostly as an interested observer the past few months.
“I think it’s funny,” Davis said while in town for UFC 130. “I like them both and I think it’s funny that they don’t like each other.”
Davis (9-0 MMA, 5-0) will now stick himself square in the middle of the feud when he faces Evans (15-1-1 MMA, 10-1-1 UFC) in the main event of UFC 133 on Aug. 6 in Philadelphia.
The UFC on Wednesday officially announced the fight card, which takes place at the Wells Fargo Center. Evans was slated to meet Jones in a title fight, but took the bout against Davis when the new champion announced he was out with a hand injury.
Evans will still get the opportunity to fight Jones if he can beat Davis.
“He’s in a weird spot where it’s like, he wants to fight for a title but he’s not,” Davis said of Evans. “He’s fighting me.”
“On paper, I should lose. But the craziest thing is I won’t.”
Betting odds indicate Evans is a slight favorite despite more than a year between bouts.
“Phil is on the rise in this sport and it’s my job to put an end to that,” Evans said in a release. “He’s a former national champion wrestler and he’s been impressive thus far in the UFC, but my experience in big fights gives me the edge.”
Two bouts will serve as co-headliners at UFC 133. Fan favorites Rich Franklin (28-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC) and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) are coming off losses and will battle to stay relevant in the light heavyweight division.
Vitor Belfort (19-9 MMA, 8-5 UFC), who is coming off a front kick knockout loss to Anderson Silva, fights Japanese sensation Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in the other featured fight.
Check below for a rundown of the rest of the fights that fill UFC 133.
Middleweight Bout: Jorge Rivera (19-7 MMA, 7-6 UFC) vs. Alessio Sakara (15-8 MMA, 6-5 UFC) Both are known as dangerous boxers, which makes this pay-per-view contest an early Fight of the Night candidate.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (11-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) The 40-year old Matyushenko is back in action quickly after a 20-second knockout win against Jason Brilz at UFC 129.
Featherweight Bout: Chad Mendes (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Rani Yahya (16-6 MMA, 1-0 UFC) Mendes forfeited a promised title shot against Jose Aldo, who needs more time to recover from lingering but non-serious injuries, to fight in Philadelphia.
Welterweight Bout: Mike Pyle (21-7-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) vs. Rory MacDonald (11-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) At 21 years old, MacDonald is one of the brightest prospects in the 170-pound division.
Welterweight Bout: Dennis Hallman (50-13-2 MMA, 3-4 UFC) vs. Brian Ebersole (47-14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) Two of the most experienced fighters on the UFC roster meet in this matchup.
Featherweight Bout: Mike Brown (24-8 MMA, 0-2 UFC) vs. Nam Phan (16-8 MMA, 0-1 UFC) Brown, the former WEC champion, looks to save his UFC career after losing two in a row.
Bantamweight Bout: Ivan Menjivar (22-7 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Nick Pace (6-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) Both fighters scored stoppages in their UFC debuts, as Menjivar knocked out Charlie Valencia at UFC 129 and Pace submitted Will Campuzano at The Ultimate Fighter 12 finale.
Welterweight Bout: Johny Hendricks (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) vs. Mike Pierce (12-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) Former college wrestlers clash as Hendricks went to Oklahoma State and Pierce attended Portland State.
Middleweight Bout: Riki Fukuda (18-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Rafael Natal (12-3-1 MMA, 0-1-1 UFC) Fukuda lost the most controversial decision of the year at UFC 127 in a fight where he dominated Nick Ring.