Photo by Tracy Lee for Yahoo! Sports
The fight headlined the Spike TV card live from Seattle, Washington.
Davis struggled to take down Nogueira in the first round but switched to single leg take downs in the second round and that made the difference as he dominated from top position to take the decision.
Nogueira, an Olympic level boxer, landed with several punches early on Davis as Davis tried to answer with kicks. Davis then clinched and worked Nogueira's right thigh with hard knees. They separated and the pattern repeated. Then Davis shot in and Nogueira stuffed his shot. Davis then set up a brilliant take down shot that Nogueira amazingly stuffed with a lightening quick sprawl. They traded punches. Davis landed a kick to the body. Then a high kick that Nogueira countered with a hard right hand. Davis shot in, Nogueira stuffed the take down, then slipped as Davis slung him down. But Nogueira stood right back up. Nogueira landed two hard lefts. Davis shot again and Nogueira stuffed it again.
Davis opened the second with a high kick. Then he made Nog miss but failed to land much of his own. Nogueira caught a Davis kick and threw him down but Davis hopped right back up. Davis landed a body kick. Nog landed a hook. Davis set up a fast shot with a kick but Nogueira stuffed it again then followed up with a high kick that battered Davis. Davis landed a punch kick combination then got the single leg take down. Nogueira immediately took guard. Davis dominated the rest of the round landing blows from the top and controlling position. Nogueira really seemed to dislike the knees to the body at the end of the round.
They touched gloves to open the final round. Davis circled away from Nog's power, then opened up with kicks. Davis set up a beautiful single leg that took Nogueira down. Nog kept half guard. Nogueria hooked Davis' leg for a sweep attempt but Davis circled away and took Nog's back. Nog then rolled into guard in a very smooth sequence. Nog threw him off with 2:30 left. Nog walked forward but Davis circled away. Davis shot in for another single leg but Rogerio fought it off. Then Davis shot in again and got the take down. Nog maintained half guard. Then he got full guard and kicked Davis onto his butt. Davis dove back down and Nogueira almost rolled him over forwards. They ended the fight with Davis on top, standing over Nog but giving up wrist control and his feet pushed into Davis' hips.
Davis, an undefeated former NCAA wrestling champion came in to the fight as a much touted potential challenger to champ Jon Jones.
Nogeira came in 2-1 in the UFC following a legendary career as a top contender in Pride Fighting Championships in Japan.