Davis passes Nogueira test at UFN 24

Phil Davis may not have wowed the masses, but he passed a major test in his natural progression as a professional mixed martial artist.

An NCAA wrestling champion at Penn State University in 2008, Davis trudged through what amounted to a baptism by fire and took a unanimous decision from Pride Fighting Championships veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the UFC Fight Night 24 main event on Saturday at the KeyArena in Seattle. Davis swept the scorecards 30-27 and undoubtedly grew from the experience.

A late replacement for injured former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, Davis kept his perfect record intact and likely vaulted himself into the Top 10 at 205 pounds. Still, besting Nogueira was no easy task. Even the preparation took its toll.

"I was falling apart when I was in this training camp," Davis said. "I had all types of injuries. I didn't know if I could make this fight. I just stayed prayerful."

Davis did not let adversity discourage him, as Nogueira shut down his takedowns in the first round and kept the fight upright, where the Brazilian had a distinct advantage. Davis switched from a double- to a single-leg takedown attack in the second and third rounds and enjoyed far better luck and swung the momentum in his favor. Near the end of Round 2, he grounded Nogueira, transitioned to a rear position and grinded away with punches and knees.

"I know he's tough," Davis said. "He's resilient."

The 26-year-old Harrisburg, Pa., native again put the Brazilian on his back in the third round, and though his offense was limited to sporadic punches from inside Nogueira's crafty guard, he did more than enough to sway the scorecards in his favor. Nogueira, who turns 35 in June, has dropped back-to-back bouts for the first time in his career.

Johnson steamrolls Hardy, takes decision

Anthony Johnson dominated former welterweight title contender Dan Hardy with superior strength and wrestling, as he grounded the Team Rough House representative at will and pitched the equivalent of a shutout in the co-headliner. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Johnson, who made a triumphant return from a 16-month layoff.

Johnson knocked Hardy to the ground with a head kick inside the first minute, and it went downhill from there for the charismatic Brit. Blessed with a considerable size and strength advantage, Johnson leaned heavily on his amateur wrestling background and grounded his mohawked foe repeatedly throughout the one-sided 15-minute bout.

Hardy sealed his own fate in the third round, as he drove for an ill-advised takedown and again wound up on his back. Johnson went to work from the top, transitioned to Hardy's back and twice threatened to finish him, first with an arm-triangle choke and then with a neck crank. Hardy did not go away, but Johnson closed out the most significant victory of his 12-fight career with some powerful right hands on the ground.

Sadollah elbows force Johnson submission

"The Ultimate Fighter" Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah struck DaMarques Johnson into second-round submission from the mount in a featured welterweight matchup. Exhausted and battered, Johnson asked out of the fight 3 minutes, 27 seconds into Round 2.

After a competitive first round, Sadollah found another gear in the second. The supremely conditioned Brooklyn, N.Y., native attacked the body with knees and went to the head with textbook multi-punch combinations. Johnson, who stepped in for an injured James Wilks on two weeks' notice, wilted under the relentless pressure.

With a little more than two minutes left in the second round, Sadollah clinched with his fatigued foe, swept his feet out from under him and moved to the mount. From there, he secured wrist control with no resistance, tied Johnson's right hand around his own neck and unleashed a volley of short but powerful elbows that resulted in the submission.

"I want to be the best. I want to fight the best," said Sadollah, who posted his fourth win in five outings. "That's why I'm here. I love this."

Jung avenges controversial Garcia loss

Chan Sung Jung submitted former WEC featherweight title contender Leonard Garcia with a second-round twister, as he avenged his controversial April defeat to the Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts representative in a featured showdown at 145 pounds. Garcia, his body painfully contorted, tapped out 4 minutes, 59 seconds into Round 2.

Jung, a late replacement for injured "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 12 semi-finalist Nam Phan, dominated the rematch. The 24-year-old Korean Top Team representative took down Garcia with roughly 90 seconds remaining in round one, threatened him with an armbar and later moved to full mount. In round two, Jung again pushed the fight to the mat, where he dropped heavy elbows on the tough Texan. He transitioned to Garcia's back with less than half a minute left in the second round, set up the twister in an ode to a certain Brazilian jiu-jitsu savant and coaxed the tapout.

"I've watched Eddie Bravo's videos on YouTube for a long time," Jung said through his translator. The victory snapped the first two-fight losing streak of the South Korean's career.

Russow wins 10th straight

Mike Russow passed one more rung on the heavyweight ladder.

The Pride Fighting Championships veteran defeated previously unbeaten "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 10 quarterfinalist Jon Madsen on a second-round doctor's stoppage. Referee Anthony Hamlett called a halt to the heavyweight bout between Rounds 2 and 3 on the advice of the cageside physician, who deemed Madsen unable to continue due to considerable swelling around his left eye.

The two heavyweights stalemated in the first round, as they traded sporadic power punches and worked mostly from the clinch, much to the chagrin of those in attendance. Russow rushed in behind an uppercut to start round two and transitioned to Madsen's back from a standing position. When they separated, the extent of the damage to Madsen's eye became apparent. Russow later snatched a takedown and threatened with a guillotine choke. By the end of the second period, Madsen's eye was swollen shut, and it was over.

The 34-year-old Russow, who works full-time as a patrol officer in the Chicago Police Department, has rattled off 10 consecutive victories since submitting to a Sergei Kharitonov armbar at Pride 33 "Second Coming" four years ago.

Semerzier submits 'Bruce Leroy'

WEC veteran Mackens Semerzier submitted "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 12 alum Alex Caceres with a first-round rear-naked choke, as he brought a decisive end to their featherweight matchup. Semerzier finished it 3 minutes, 18 seconds into Round 1.

Semerzier capitalized on recklessness and mounted the colorful Miami, Fla.-based fighter on the third of three takedowns, transitioned to Caceres' back and went to work with punches. He seized further control with a body triangle and caught Caceres in the choke as he postured up from the bottom. The tapout followed, as Semerzier snapped a three-fight winning streak in style.

Hathaway edges TUF 11 finalist McCray

Talented British import John Hathaway captured a split decision from "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 11 finalist Kris McCray in a preliminary welterweight battle. Two of the three judges scored it in Hathaway's favor by matching 29-28 counts. A third cast a dissenting 29-28 scorecard for McCray.

The two 170-pound prospects traded takedowns throughout their competitive 15-minute scrap, but it was Hathaway who put the more meaningful offense together. The once-beaten London Shootfighters standout attacked McCray with a foot lock in the first round and followed with an attempted triangle choke and armbar in the second. Hathaway also landed the cleaner punches during the stand-up exchanges and fought effectively in the clinch.

Hathaway, 22, closed strong with two late takedowns, ground-and-pound and a flurry of targeted strikes on McCray, who remains winless in three Octagon appearances.

Top prospect McDonald decisions Figueroa

Former Tachi Palace Fights bantamweight champion Michael McDonald passed a formidable test in his promotional debut and swept the scorecards from previously unbeaten Edwin Figueroa in a preliminary duel at 135 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for the 20-year-old McDonald by identical 30-27 counts.

McDonald, one of the sport's top prospects, wobbled Figueroa with a two-punch combination in the first round and nearly finished him twice in the second, first with a rear-naked choke and then with a triangle. He built his lead with crisp striking, well-timed takedowns and brilliant mat work.

Figueroa mounted a last-ditch assault in Round 3, but McDonald survived his encounter with a knee and a two-punch combination from the Texas-based bantamweight. A fast-rising Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, McDonald will carry a five-fight winning streak into his next appearance.

Morecraft chokes out McCorkle

Christian Morecraft choked Sean McCorkle unconscious with a standing guillotine choke in the second round, as he notched his first win inside the Octagon. McCorkle passed into unconsciousness and fell to the mat 4 minutes, 10 seconds into Round 2 of a preliminary encounter featuring two of the promotion's biggest heavyweights.

The monstrous 6-foot-8, 265-pound Morecraft outmuscled, outworked and punished his 6-foot-7, 266-pound foe throughout much of the bout. On bottom, he swept into McCorkle's guard with an attempted kneebar in the first round and battered him with strikes from above. One of them, an elbow, knocked out McCorkle's mouthpiece. Morecraft spent the final half minute of the round grinding away at his opponent.

McCorkle's situation did not improve. Morecraft met him with a series of uppercuts at the outset of Round 2 and put him back on the ground, where he stepped up his assault and set up the finish. After a low blow from Morecraft brought about a brief pause in the action, McCorkle swooped in for an attempted double-leg takedown, only to find himself trapped in the vice-like grip of the Morecraft guillotine. He blacked out soon after.

Hendricks rebounds, flattens Waldburger in 95 seconds

The once-beaten Johny Hendricks bounced back from his first professional MMA defeat, as he stopped Anthony Waldburger on first-round punches in a welterweight dark match. The end came 95 seconds into Round 1.

Hendricks, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion (2005-06) at Oklahoma State University, sprawled and stuffed an attempted takedown from Waldburger and then landed a clean left hand that sent the 22-year-old Texan face-first to the canvas. Referee Mario Yamasaki intervened, and though Waldburger protested, it was clear he was badly hurt.

Simpson outpoints Miranda

Two-time collegiate All-American wrestler Aaron Simpson dominated Mario Miranda in the clinch, secured multiple takedowns and cruised to a unanimous decision in a preliminary middleweight matchup. All three cageside judges sided with Simpson: 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27.

Miranda never kept separation between himself and his opponent. Simpson utilized a variety of takedowns -- trips, single legs, double legs and slams -- and struck effectively enough on the ground to maintain a clear-cut advantage in the 15-minute affair.

The victory snapped a two-fight losing streak for the 36-year-old Arizonan, who entered the cage on the heels of back-to-back defeats to Chris Leben and Mark Munoz. A Matt Hume protégé, Miranda fell to 1-3 in the UFC.

Lentz guillotine stops Lowe

Minnesota Martial Arts Academy representative Nik Lentz remained unbeaten in six Octagon appearances, as he submitted Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Waylon Lowe with a third-round guillotine choke in a lightweight dark match. Lowe, who appeared to take Round 1 and 2, met his demise 2 minutes, 24 seconds into the third.

Lowe controlled the first 10 minutes of the match with crisp counterstriking and timely takedowns. However, Lentz timed Lowe's final shot, locked him in the guillotine and coaxed the tapout. The 26-year-old Minnesotan has quietly compiled a 12-0-2 record in his last 14 appearances.

Brian Knapp is a contributor to Sherdog.com.