Article by: Steven Marrocco of MMAJunkie.com
All may not be lost for Phil Davis (8-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC). The light heavyweight is now expected to meet Jason Brilz (18-3-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) on the main card of UFC 129, according to sources close to the event who told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that verbal agreements are in place for the fight. Contracts are expected to be finalized shortly.
UFC 129 takes place April 29 at Rogers Centre in Toronto and has already broken box-office records for a North American MMA event with 55,000 tickets sold and a live-gate tally of $11 million.
Davis had been expected to fight Matt Hamill at the event, but as MMAjunkie.com recently reported, “The Hammer” is now expected to fight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on the card. That left Davis without an opponent until Brilz recently stepped up.
In his most recent octagon appearance, Brilz stepped up on short notice for the biggest challenge of his career when he faced Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 114. The full-time firefighter and part-time wrestling coach made the most of the opportunity and dominated the former PRIDE star on the mat during the 15-minute encounter.
Although he tired later in the fight, Brilz appeared to have done enough to eek out a decision victory. It was not to be, though, and Nogueira won the bout on two of the three judges’ scorecards. The arena’s audience was not happy, to put it mildly, with the split-decision call.
Despite the loss, the Midwesterner is 13-2-1 over his past 16 fights going back to 2002. Brilz was expected to meet Vladimir Matyushenko this past November at UFC 122 before a back injury forced him to withdraw.
Davis, a former NCAA Division I national wrestling champion for Penn State, has made a smooth transition since his pro MMA debut in 2008. After signing with the UFC in early 2010, he extended his undefeated streak with decision wins over Brian Stann and Rodney Wallace and submission victories over Alexander Gustafsson and Tim Boetsch.
The recent win over Boetsch, which came via a modified hammerlock that Davis jokingly calls “the Mr. Wonderful” after his fighting nickname, earned him a “Submission of the Night” award.
For the latest on UFC 129, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.