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Alexis Davis will one day look back on her accomplishments and smile.
A staple of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s women’s roster for nearly eight years and a wildly successful mixed martial artist by most measures, Davis will attempt to snap a career-worst three fight losing streak when she meets former Legacy Fighting Alliance titleholder Sabina Mazo on the UFC Fight Night 186 undercard this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The 36-year-old Canadian owns a 6-5 record in the UFC but still clings to a Top 15 ranking at 125 pounds. Davis has not competed since she dropped a unanimous decision to Viviane Araujo at UFC 240 in July 2019.
As Davis prepares for her confrontation with the once-beaten Mazo, a look at five moments that have come to define her:
1. Ultimate Feather
Davis stopped future two-division Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder Amanda Nunes with punches in the second round of their Strikeforce “Barnett vs. Kharitonov” prelim on Sept. 10, 2011 at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. Nunes succumbed to blows 4:53 into Round 2. Davis grinded down the “Lioness” in the clinch, and while she ate her share of punches, she managed to fatigue the Brazilian in close quarters. Nunes executed a takedown in the second round, only to have her Canadian counterpart transition immediately to top position. From there, Davis unleashed her ground-and-pound and progressed to full mount. Nunes then surrendered her back and, without means to intelligently defend herself, absorbed a series of unanswered punches that resulted in the stoppage.
2. Arrival Time
After successful stints in Strikeforce and Invicta Fighting Championships, Davis made her long-awaited Octagon debut as part of the UFC 161 main card on June 15, 2013 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She did not disappoint, as she laid claim to a unanimous decision over former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Rosi Sexton, drawing 29-28, 29-27 and 29-28 marks from the judges. Davis utilized her size advantage and potent grappling skills throughout the 15-minute encounter. She went after Sexton with a triangle choke in the first round and transitioned to her back in the second, nearly finishing it with punches and hammerfists in the closing seconds. Sexton made her move in Round 3, where she scrambled into top position on the weary Canadian and attacked her with ground-and-pound. Davis survived and leaned on the two-round lead she had already banked.
3. In Contention
Timely takedowns, ground-and-pound and a steady stream of leg kicks drove Davis to a split decision over Jessica Eye in the featured UFC 170 prelim on Feb. 22, 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Chris Lee for Eye, Junichiro Kamijo and Marcos Rosales for Davis. Eye was effective in spots and particularly so in the clinch, where her close-quarters boxing skills served her well. However, Davis remained true to her game plan, scored with takedowns in each of the first two rounds and utilized kicks of varying intensity to attack the former Ring of Combat champion’s lead leg. Afterward, the Canadian made clear her desire to challenge for the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight crown. The request would eventually land in the be-careful-what-you-wish-for bin.
4. Getting Rowdy
Ronda Rousey retained the undisputed women’s bantamweight championship with a vicious first-round knockout against Davis in the UFC 175 co-main event on July 5, 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Davis succumbed to the blows 16 seconds into round one, in a most ignominious fashion. Rousey staggered the Canadian with a crushing straight right to the temple and tossed her to the canvas, trapping her head and arm in the process. A stream of unanswered punches to the face followed, separating Davis from her senses. The defeated challenger then spent several moments attempting to drag referee Yves Lavigne to the ground—a clear sign that the stoppage was warranted.
5. Vengeful Motives
Davis submitted Sarah Kaufman with an armbar in the second round of their UFC 186 prelim on April 25, 2015 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, avenging two previous defeats to the former Strikeforce champion. The longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt brought it to a close 1:52 into Round 2. Kaufman excelled in the pocket for much of the first five minutes. She fired away with straight punches, held her own in the clinch and steered clear of the vaunted Davis ground game. Round 2 was following a similar narrative, until Kaufman made a mistake for which she paid a heavy price. She wandered into clinch range, yielded a takedown and surrendered full mount to Davis, who immediately fished for a topside triangle choke. She then slid to the bottom and transitioned to a belly-down armbar for the finish.