UFC 161 (Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson)- Alexis Davis vs. Rosi Sexton Preview, Breakdown, Prediction

Alexis Davis (13-5, 0-0 UFC) vs. Rosi Sexton (13-2, 0-0 UFC)

Davis and Sexton both make their UFC debuts, and they get a bit of a spotlight being only the second women’s fight to appear on a pay-per-view main card, and they have the chance to deliver a quality fight in the process. Davis comes into the UFC off of two consecutive victories under the Invicta banner. She is 5-1 over her last six bouts which included a 2-1 record in Strikeforce. Sexton comes into the UFC on the heels of a three-fight win streak and she has lost just twice in her career. She is 8-1 over her last nine fights.

Fight Breakdown: Davis has turned it up a notch in her career recently after starting her career with just an 8-4 record. She got signed to Strikeforce and made the most of it immediately. She defeated Julie Kedzie and followed it with a knockout loss over highly-touted undefeated prospect Amanda Nunes. She lost her next fight, but it was an all-out war with Sarah Kaufman, and it was one of 2012’s best women’s fights. She has since bounced back with two straight submission wins, including avenging a loss against Shayna Baszler in her last outing in January. Davis has moved her training camp to the Cesar Gracie Fight Camp, training alongside the likes of Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez and the Diaz brothers, and she has shown excellent improvement in her all-around game over her last several fights.

Sexton has been fighting at 125 pounds recently but will be moving up to 135 pounds for a chance to fight in the UFC Octagon. It has been over a year since Sexton has fought, and she has fought just twice since November 2010. She has won 13 of her 15 fights, with her only losses coming to Gina Carano and Zoila Gurgel. Sexton is well-versed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Tae Kwon Do, but she will be giving up a lot of size to Davis, and her inactivity may lead to some ring rust when she steps inside the Octagon on Saturday night. These girls have the chance to put on a quality fight, and a future title challenger will be established.

Davis is getting better on her feet, and she has a solid and durable chin, but she was still bested in the striking department by Kaufman in their bout. Sexton hits very hard and will have quicker movement on the feet being the smaller of the two women, and she has the ability to alter fights with her punching. Davis will need to use pressure and fight in close quarters, as she is solid in clinches and tie-ups and will use elbows to wear out Sexton. Sexton should look to avoid being overpowered and stay out of the range of where Davis can look to take the fight to the mat as that is where Davis’ skillset will truly begin to shine.

Davis has possibly the best pure grappling ability in the UFC’s women’s division. She likes to bully her opponents in the clinch and has an excellent submission game. Sexton should look to avoid being planted on the mat and gain top position, as Sexton does have some solid ground-and-pound, but Davis can work from her back well. Davis’ submission win over Baszler was her most impressive performance to date, and Baszler is a solid grappler in her own right. Davis’ strength edge will help her overpower Sexton down to the mat so Sexton will need to use her power in her fists to keep the fight standing if she is going to take the win. Both have good conditioning, but Davis’ size will be too much for Sexton to handle as Davis will implement a ground strategy based gameplan and use it on her way to scoring an impressive submission win and establishing herself as a title contender.

Why It Matters: Both women have the chance to put themselves possibly one fight away from fighting for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. That title is on the shelf until December with champion Ronda Rousey filming “The Ultimate Fighter” alongside her next challenger, Miesha Tate. With the title and those women currently not in the spotlight until the reality show debuts in September, now is the chance for other women to showcase their skills and show why adding the women’s division to the UFC was an excellent choice. Davis and Sexton have the chance to deliver a quality fight, and the three prior women’s bouts in the UFC have been impressive for different reasons. It is the perfect opportunity for Davis and Sexton to establish a name in the UFC and put themselves into the title mix.

Prediction: Davis

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