Cagewriter

If Round 1 is the war of words, Phil Davis leads 10-8 over Rashad Evans

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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Evans and Davis with some verbal sparring

CHICAGO -- In most interviews Phil Davis comes off as a reserved young man. He's not out to ruffle any feathers, but those of us who've had a chance to speak to him repeatedly always knew there was a potential media darling behind that conservative facade.

In the lead-up to Saturday's UFC on Fox 2 card, Rashad Evans has brought out the beast in Davis and the former UFC light heavyweight hasn't reacted too well.

It started last week when Evans flipped out on Davis calling him a "boy." Yesterday during the UFC on Fox 2 prefight press conference, Evans shook his head, appeared annoyed and even looked flustered on several occasions.

[Related: UFC on Fox 2 carries huge implications for blockbuster fights]

As the banter began, Evans tried to play it cool.

"For the most part, I've got nothing against Phil, but you we've got a fight so I've got a lot against him right now. It's personal, but not really PERSONAL personal," said Evans, who had heated prefight words with previous opponents like Tito Ortiz and Quinton Jackson.

Evans got irked when the issue of college wrestling came up. Phil Davis, a more accomplished NCAA star at Penn State than Evans was at Michigan State, laughed when someone asked if his opponent could beat him in a straight wrestling match. Evans kept saying "your technique is trash."

Then Davis was asked about missing the opportunity to face Evans back in August in Philadelphia. Davis quickly pointed out that he didn't get to fight in front of his friends and family from nearby Harrisburg, Pa. Evans took issue with the fact that Davis didn't say he was sad to lose out on the opportunity to fight him. Davis fired back, "Nobody heard me say that!"

Evans snapped again when Davis explained his understanding of what the result of a win could be, a possible title shot against Jon Jones.

"The winner of this fight will fight for the title, but in the event that I hit him too hard and break my hand ... it might lead to somebody else getting the title shot first," said Davis.

"You don't punch nobody hard. Phil can't hit. Phil punches with his hands open and everything," Evans said. "He couldn't bust a grape. You look like Arsenio Hall."

Davis laughed.

"Give him a hand y'all. Give him a hand," said Davis.

That opened the door for a female fan to ask Davis whether he looked more like Hall or NBA star Dwight Howard? Davis handled it gracefully as he done throughout the lead-up to Saturday's tilt. We'll see if his poise remains intact in the fight. Either way, this week showed he'll be a valuable asset on main cards for years to come in the UFC.

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