Nearly two years away from action didn’t slow down Mike Davis from picking up a dominant win over Viacheslav Borshchev to kick off the main card at UFC Vegas 61 on Saturday.
While he’s best known for his striking, Davis actually turned to his grappling in the fight against “Slava Claus” as he scored numerous takedowns and essentially mauled his opponent on the ground during any of those exchanges. Davis did have to stave off a late comeback attempt from Borshchev but ultimately it was too little, too late as the fight came to a close.
The judges scored the fight 30-26, 30-26 and 29-28 with Davis securing his third win in a row overall.
“I felt pretty good,” Davis said about his performance. “He landed a good shot in my eye so my eye was gone. I had to fight with my eyes closed. I feel like my game’s adapting. I still feel like I’m subpar. I’m thankful to him, he’s the first guy to accept a fight against me.”
The early exchanges were highlighted by a nice uppercut thrown and landed by Davis, although Borshchev was happy to come back at him with some nasty calf kicks. Davis eventually turned to his wrestling to put Borshchev on the canvas with a couple of takedowns as he looked to apply his grappling game.
As the fighters were battling for position in the clinch, Davis uncorked a perfectly timed knee that clipped Borshchev and put him on wobbly legs for a moment. Davis continued his assault until landing another takedown with this one allowing him to move into the mount.
From there, Davis started raining down blows from the top as he looked for the finish but Borshchev was able to cover up effectively enough to make it to the end of the opening round.
A fast and energetic start left Davis feeling a little lethargic as the fight moved forward with Borshchev on the attack with good footwork and better output. Borshchev continued to punish the legs, which complicated Davis’ movement even more but for all the success he was finding, the Russian couldn’t stop the takedowns.
Even if he was exhausted, Davis was still able to put Borshchev on his back, move into the mount and start looking for submissions as well as a strong ground and pound offense.
With five minutes remaining, Borshchev made one last push for a comeback as he cracked Davis with a straight left that connected clean. The punch caused swelling around Davis’ face, which possibly signaled for a broken orbital bone but the damage done led him to snatch yet another takedown.
The mismatch on the ground continued with Davis just outworking Borshchev in every position to close out the fight and get the win.
Considering the time he was off combined with a tough opponent for his return, Davis should be proud of his latest victory as he looks to get more active now that he’s healthy and ready to compete again.