UFC Fight Night 31: Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis preview and the prognostication

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis take the stage for the co main event in the women's bantamweight division for UFC Fight Night 31. Can Davis overcome the strength disadvantage in Kentucky?

Liz Carmouche (9-3) vs. Alexis Davis (14-5) Bantamweight

When we last left our heroes...Thus far the females have not disappointed when it comes to MMA action, and this bout will be no different. Carmouche and Davis have been in a number of highly entertaining bouts, that I'm ok with this being the co main event.

This card has taken a lot of criticism from fans, and I'm a little shocked. A lot of quality fighters in the cage with a lot of unkowns, and then we've got stuff like this; two solid veterans who have no choice but to put on an entertaining fight.

Carmouche's first two fights in the octagon have been as predicted. She nearly unscrewed Ronda Rousey's head from her shoulders at UFC 157, and managed to overpower the very underrated Jessica Andrade in July.

Alexis Davis is quietly one of the better fighters in the division. She's on a three fight winning streak, having beaten Rosi Sexton, Shayne Baszler in a barnburner, and Hitomi Akano.

What both women can do: The funny thing about trying to describe what Alexis Davis does well, is that I don't actually know. She's like the (current) Toronto Maple Leafs of MMA; she defies metrics and stats, finding success in spite of logic. Against Kaufman and Nunes she made fights that should have been well beyond her, competitive.

I always feel like I'm cheating on analysis when using intangibles to describe a fighter's ability, but it really is true in Davis' case. Nunes and Kaufman were blasting her with combinations, but she kept moving forward, even finding her own mark amid the chaos (she cut Kaufman pretty good with a swift inside elbow).

She's ok on the feet insofar as she can take damage, and swing back. But as a grappler, is where she excels. Five of her submission victories are by rear naked choke. She really excels on the ground, during the scrambles where her back control can take over a fight.

As for Carmouche, her asset is her raw strength. She's a very powerful striker, with a sturdy right hand, and an excellent scrambler. Obviously, strength is not the only story here as she's technical on the ground. Her scramble to get Rousey's back only a split second removed from being stuck in side control by Ronda displayed that gift.

What both women can't do: Carmouche doesn't have any real obvious weaknesses. I guess if there's any real trend it's that she's never gone the full distance in victory. Other than her loss to Rousey, she lost to Kaufman going a full three, and Marloes Coenen going into the 4th.

Davis is definitely the kind of fighter to drag Carmouche into a real war that could exploit her potential lack of durability. I don't expect that to be the case though. Davis makes a lot of mistakes on the feet. Throwing leg kicks in close got her busted on numerous occasions against Kaufman, and she won't be strong enough to get the fight to the ground where she has a theoretical advantage.

This will be the story of the fight; Davis getting hit hard, and muscled to the ground. Expect this fight to look one sided early, but more competitive late without any real drama.

X-Factor: Davis' skin. She gets cut a lot, and this is just another reason to guarantee victory for Carmouche.

Prediction: Liz Carmouche by TKO, round 3.

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