Phil Davis entered the Octagon focused and determined in his bout with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. This was Davis’ biggest fight to date, this was Lil’ Nog’s opportunity to derail the hype train. Prior to setting foot in Seattle’s Key Arena, Phil Davis has made easy work of everybody he has fought. But he has yet to test himself against a true game opponent. Nogueira was the perfect man to push Phil Davis to the limit. Lil’ Nog is trying to stay relevant in world of Mixed Martial Arts and Davis is trying to move one step closer to Jon Jones‘ Light Heavyweight title.

In the first round, Phil Davis worked Rogerio Nogueira with kicks to the body and legs. While Lil’ Nog preferred to use his trademark boxing, landing numerous counters. Making use of NCAA Division One wrestling background, Davis tried to takedown Nogueira, but the seasoned veteran showcased a serious sprawl and takedown defense.

The 2nd round was a different story, Davis finally solved the puzzle of Lil’ Nog’s takedown defense, and managed to dictate the pace with his wrestling. Control was the story for the rest of the fight, with Davis winning the bout via unanimous decision.

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Questions I have after seeing Davis vs. Nogueira:

– Is Lil’ Nog destined to be a Light Heavyweight gatekeeper, much like he was in PRIDE?

– Did Davis impress enough to take his career to the next level?

– Who is next for Phil Davis in his quest for the Light Heavyweight title?

– At the age of 34, how many fights do you think Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has left in the tank?

Notes from UFC Fight Night 24:

– Justice was served in the long awaited rematch between “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung and Leonard Garcia. No questionable decision this time for Garcia! When Nam Phan gets better, he deserves a shot at redemption against Leonard Garcia next.

Amir Sadollah looked great against DaMarques Johnson in their bout. He landed huge elbows on the ground, that forced “DJ” to eventually tap. When was the last time we saw someone tap to strikes? It’s been a while.

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Anthony Johnson trained very hard for Dan Hardy and did a great job exploiting the holes in the game of “The Outlaw”. When you have a big Welterweight like “Rumble” on top of you for most of the fight, expect to stay on the ground for all three rounds.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira looked pretty good in the beginning of his bout with Phil Davis, showcasing some wonderful takedown defense. But once again superior wrestling has won the fight. Not the most exciting way to win, but it does the job.

– Interesting note, for the first time in Lil’ Nog’s career he has lost two straight fights.

Lowkick Awards for UFC Fight Night 24:

Performance of the Night – Amir Sadollah is my MVP of the night. He dominated DaMarques Johnson for two rounds, did a great job showcasing his superior standup, and devastating ground game.

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Finish of the Night – I give this award to the “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. He proved to be superior on the feet and even better on the ground, finishing off his rival Leonard Garcia with a highlight reel submission known as “The Twister” made famous by 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu‘s, Eddie Bravo (I recommend you Youtube it).

Good Sportsmanship Award – I give this award to both Amir Sadollah and DaMarques Johnson. Both men had a great deal of respect for each other and even in victory Amir gave a lot of credit to DJ. You can even argue Anthony Johnson and Dan Hardy for this prize as well.

Disappointment of the Night – Unfortunately I have to give this unwanted prize to “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy. After fighting Georges St.Pierre at UFC 111, you’d figure he would do everything in his power to improve his ground game, and takedown defense. With three straight losses, his UFC future is now in the air.

Photo taken by Rod Mar for ESPN