x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Easy as it gets for Davis over younger Gustafsson

"Mr Wonderful" notched up an impressive defeat of his younger but more experienced opponent Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson in the first round.

ABU DHABI // With the fight name "Mr Wonderful" and sporting hot pink lycra shorts, Phil Davis, the American light heavyweight, had a lot to live up to as he entered The Octagon for his second UFC fight last night. But the 25-year-old 2008 national wrestling champion did so with ease last night. He notched up an impressive defeat of his younger but more experienced opponent Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson in the first round.

Davis, who made his UFC debut in February this year with a win against Brian Stann, was aggressive from the start, attempting a quick take-down on the 23-year-old Swede. Gustafsson, with an MMA record of nine wins and no losses going into the bout, managed to turn his aggressor but with two minutes left on the clock, it was down to the mats again where he was on the receiving end of a flurry of right hooks from the American, followed closely after by a couple of heavy left elbows.

Positioned underneath the blonde-haired European, with his arm firmly around his opponent's neck and arm, Davis completed what wrestlers call a "gator" roll. A clinically executed anaconda choke saw Gustafsson, who made his UFC debut last November with a 41-second knockout of Jared Hamman, forced to tap-out with just five seconds left of the first round, ending his unbeaten run. Speaking after the bout the uber-competitive, four-time All American wrestler, who fights out of Oregon, was pleased with a win but was quite critical of his performance.

"There is a lot I can improve on," he told Joe Rogan, the commentator, before promising the fans that he would "put on a better show next time". "It's not that I am not happy with the win, but there is so much room to improve," he said. "Being a wrestler I cannot afford to miss a take-down," he added yesterday. loatway@thenational.ae