OK, I am a big believer in mindset going into a fight. If your head is on straight, you have little or no external pressures, I feel like you are better able to perform in a fight. Many people talk about the old cliche you can win or lose a fight before you enter the ring, and I have to say that I believe that theory. So for this weekend’s UFC main event for their “UFC on FOX 2′ broadcast, of Phil Davis and Rashad Evans, I am going to go ahead an switch my pick to Phil Davis after seeing the weigh ins. For the record, Evans is favored in the fight at the books.
There was a calmness and a confidence to Phil Davis that I was impressed with. He weighed in first, had no trouble making it and he looked great physically. I won’t hold it against him that he wore his Penn State gear. Davis coolly walked off to the side to await Rashad.
And then Rashad stalked in. I say stalked, because there was something tense about Rashad. And it wasn’t that good tension, the ‘Nick Diaz’ tension where Rashad seemed to be feeding off it, more he seemed a little subdued – he just didn’t seem his usual self.
Of course these are hard reads to make, and I admit I could be wrong. But this is exactly why I hold off on laying all my money out until the day of the fight. It is very important to know about the atmosphere around the fight and to see who is handling the pressure better.
Phil Davis was impressive today, in that he has been the underdog all along, and that because he is early in his UFC career, there is a general buzz that Davis doesn’t have a lot to lose, so even if he takes an ‘L’ his career will be fine. He looked today like he had put all that aside, and he looked like he expected to win. Rashad didn’t look confident, and he didn’t trash talk, he just looked tense and quiet.
Because as most people have covered, the physical side and talent side is on par in this fight, they are both studs. Most are putting Rashad as the favorite due to his experience, but I think that has worked against him in this case. He was a champion, and he really needs to win this one in order to get back to the top. And that is a lot of pressure on a guy who is up against someone who has nothing to lose and knows it.