Phil Davis. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC.
The UFC is set for its first-ever trip to Seattle, Washington for UFC Fight Night 24, which will be headlined by a light heavyweight bout pitting undefeated rising prospect Phil Davis against world-ranked seasoned veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
UFC Fight Night 24 also features a pivotal welterweight clash between heavy hitters Dan Hardy and Anthony Johnson as well as a highly-anticipated rematch between Leonard Garcia and Chan-Sung Jung.
The event's main card will air live on Spike TV this evening starting at 10 PM ET. Five preliminary bouts will also stream live on Facebook beginning at 7:30 PM ET.
The fight: Davis, who has quickly been shot into the spotlight as a future challenger for newly-crowned UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, takes on Nogueira, a longtime PRIDE Fighting Championships veteran who owns career wins over such dignitaries as Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem (twice) and Kazushi Sakuraba.
What to look for: Nogueira will serve as Davis' toughest test to date. The Brazilian will have a significant edge on the feet and will likely be put on his back by Davis, an outstanding collegiate wrestler out of Penn State University. "Lil Nog" could easily threaten with submissions, but his ground game off his back was severely lacking in recent outings against Jason Brilz and Ryan Bader.
My pick: Davis in a close fight that goes the distance with some tense moments for the prospect. His submission defense will truly have to be up to par in order to grind out Nogueira.
The fight: Hardy, a former UFC welterweight title challenger, will look to snap a two-fight losing streak against Johnson, who will be fighting for the first time since November 2009 after recovering from much-needed surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
What to look for: Both fighters have shown nothing but respect for each other coming into this one, a rare feat for two of the more vocal trash-talkers at 170 lbs. However, that should go out the window come fight time. An absolute slugfest could ensue and both Hardy and Johnson have the ability to put the other out with a single punch. It's also key to note that Johnson holds a significant advantage in the wrestling department.
My pick: Hardy will be game, but Johnson's size and athletic ability will allow him to dictate how the fight goes. He should be able to stop Hardy within two rounds.
The fight: Sadollah, a former "TUF" winner, meets another one-time reality show contestant in Johnson, who is serving as Sadollah's third scheduled opponent, replacing injury-plagued James Wilks and Duane Ludwig.
What to look for: Sadollah and Johnson's styles may clash well enough to turn this into an entertaining scrap. Both fighters are solid on their feet and on the ground, but despite his inexperience, Sadollah has the edge on Johnson in both departments.
My pick: Johnson isn't a very aggressive grappler and thus far, they have been the only type of fighters to give Sadollah fits. Amir will likely pick Johnson apart before putting away before the final bell. I'll go with a submission ending.
The fight: What else needs to be said that isn't already known? The last time Garcia and Jung met, they put on one of the greatest fights I've ever seen. The bout was a 2010 "Fight of the Year" nominee via just about every media outlet.
What to look for: A war. Garcia and Jung could easily replicate their original meeting. However, Garcia's decision win was met with a lot of disdain, as the majority of onlookers thought Jung had won. May the Korean want to ensure a victory this time instead of swinging for the fences for the fans?
My pick: Despite his reputation as an uber-exciting fighter, Jung desperately needs a win in order to stay in the UFC. Garcia's continual gifts from the judges end here as the "Korean Zombie" dominates Garcia in a one-sided beatdown that hits the ground more often than expected.
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