Do you ever wonder if there’s any room for a quiet, classy kind of fighter in the fight game today? More specifically, is there room for it in the UFC and their fast-rising women’s division today? Canada’s bantamweight contender Alexis Davis, who faces longtime British MMA standout Rosi Sexton this Saturday in at UFC 161 in Winnipeg, certainly hopes there is. So do I.
But sadly, maybe there’s reason for doubt.
Davis is that strong, silent type, a crafty grappler with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who has scored three victories in her last four bouts – the only loss via a majority decision against former titlist Sarah Kaufman. While she hasn’t always made the headlines, “Ally-Gator” is among women’s MMA’s most seasoned and accomplished, with a six year and 18 bout-strong career. She punctuated her recent rise up bantamweight the ranks with a “fight of the night” performance in a victory against Shayna Bayzler at Invicta FC 4 in January. (It was Davis’ second bout with Bayzler – the first being a close decision loss in a bout she accepted on short notice.) She’s one to watch – tough as nails, and always moving on the mat to obtain dominant position and look for submissions.
Her quiet and careful demeanor stands in contrast to the brash current champion, Ronda Rousey, who clearly likes getting under people’s skin here and there. Her recent glassy-eyed rant at Miesha Tate (and Tate’s boyfriend) comes to mind, which I’ll admit I only made it through for a few minutes. But, I watch her every bout for her explosive throws and aggressive submissions.
Rousey defeated Davis’ fellow Canadian Kaufman at Strikeforce: “Kaufman vs. Rousey” last August to become recognized as the best female fighter in the world at that weight. Another Rousey victim, Tate, was defeated by Cat Zingano for a chance to face the champion. When Zingano was forced out of that bout due to injury, it seemed logical to offer the opportunity to the next available contender – either Davis, or possibly Sara McMann, who offers less experience but is undefeated.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. The UFC chose Tate to face Rousey again, despite coming off two straight stoppage losses. Seems the back-and-forth trash talk won out this time.
But, the cream rises to the top. If Davis keeps winning – and in the UFC’s defense, they scheduled Davis for the UFC PPV in favor of other high-profile bouts – she’s confident she’ll get her due. She shrugs off the idea of increasing pressure on female fighters as the UFC continues introducing the division, simply remarking, “We’re great fighters, and we just have to do our thing. Whether we’re fighting for the UFC or we’re fighting for Invicta or an amateur fight, we put on great fights regardless.”
We’re looking forward to another great UFC fight Saturday, and more of that kind of class.