Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Monday, March 28, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
If finding a way to sidestep obstacles is an important mark in becoming a great fighter, then UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis is well on his way.
Davis (9-0) scored a unanimous decision victory over mixed martial arts veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-5) at UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle Saturday night, despite having every one of his takedown attempts stuffed in the first round. Throughout his MMA career, Davis has always been able to fall back on his wrestling ability.
Nogueira wasn’t allowing it in Saturday night’s main event.
“He’s tough,” Davis said in the octagon after the fight. “He’s resilient. He learns. I couldn’t take him down.”
Without the fight ever hitting the mat, Davis found a way to out-strike Nogueira in the first round. In the next two rounds, Davis switched up his takedown strategy and started shooting for a single leg.
It worked in getting Nogueira on his back, and Davis was able to use ground-and-pound for solid stretches. It was an impressive adjustment for someone who’s still relatively new to MMA. Davis started training only three years ago and said he never had as much trouble preparing for a fight as he did for Nogueira.
“I was falling apart when I was in this training camp,” Davis said, “and I didn’t know if I could make this fight.”
All three judges gave Davis a 30-27 win.
In the co-main event between welterweights, Anthony Johnson had no problem with takedowns. Johnson, one of the biggest welterweights in the world who entered the octagon about 195 pounds Saturday after weighing in at 171 on Friday, controlled former top contender Dan Hardy for the entire 15 minutes of their bout.
Johnson took Hardy down at will and positioned himself on top. It wasn’t the most exciting fight and fans at Key Arena cried out with a chorus of boos, but Johnson was happy to get a victory after 15 months away from the octagon with a knee injury.
The crowd received their thrill of action in the second of four main card bouts with Las Vegas-based fighter Amir Sadollah.
Sadollah forced DaMarques Johnson to tap out at 3:27 of the second round with a series of ground-and-pound elbows.
“I’m here not just to look good, but I want to be the best,” Sadollah said. “I want to fight the best. That’s why I’m here.”
Chan Sung Jung — better known by his nickname The Korean Zombie — got revenge in his bantamweight rematch with Leonard Garcia to start the main card. Jung lost a controversial split decision to Garcia last year in a WEC event but left no room for interpretation in Seattle.
With one second left on the clock in the second round, Jung contorted Garcia’s body into a twister and forced a tap. It was the first twister submission ever used to win a fight in UFC and an easy choice for winning the Submission of the Night award.
“I kept saying in practice to all my teammates at Korean Top Team, ‘I’m going to do the twister in the UFC someday,’” Jung said through a translator. “Finally, I got an opportunity.”
Below are the results from the UFC Fight Night 24 preliminary card.
Heavyweight Bout: Mike Russow defeated Jon Madsen via TKO at the end of the second round. Doctors stopped the contest after Madsen suffered a swollen-shut left eye.
Featherweight Bout: Mackens Semerzier beat Alex Caceres by submission at 3:18 of the first round. Semerzier caught “Bruce Leroy” in a rear naked choke.
Welterweight Bout: John Hathaway scored a split decision victory over Kris McCray. Hathaway pulled away at the end with a dominant third round.
Bantamweight Bout: Michael McDonald defeated Edwin Figueroa by unanimous decision. The bout took home Fight of the Night honors after Figueroa worked himself out of many tough positions against McDonald, who at 20 years old is the youngest fighter in UFC.
Heavyweight Bout: Christian Morecraft submitted Sean McCorkle with a standing guillotine choke at the 4:10 mark of the second round. McCorkle refused to tap out and lost consciousness.
Welterweight Bout: Johny Hendricks defeated T.J. Waldburger by knockout at 1:35 of the first round. Hendricks earned the Knockout of the Night award.
Middleweight Bout: Aaron Simpson beat Mario Miranda via unanimous decision. The judges’ scorecards read 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
Lightweight Bout: Nik Lentz defeated Wayon Lowe via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:24 of the third round.