Saturday, January 4th, American light heavyweight prospect Travis Davis will be in action for Ohio Combat League, where he will try to win his third straight against TUF vet John Poppie. He will be looking for a crack at the UFC, as Davis wants to impress Dana White and co. in an attempt to get on April’s UFC card in Columbus, OH. He represents Ronin Training Center, an underrated camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Positional Grappling/Defense: Davis’ biggest strength is his ability to control a large portion of the grappling in a fight. His counterwrestling is quite good, as he has strong hips when he sprawls on an opponent’s shot. He’s strong and has good balance. When he gets control of his opponent, he’s good at getting an advantageous position and controlling his adversary. He’s very good at transitioning from position to position, especially if he’s in a good position and loses it; he can get back to a dominant position quickly. This was seen against Robert Gidron, where he had him in back mount, lost the position and then transitioned back into full mount. He also is a solid submission artist, as four of his eight wins come by tapout (2 rear-naked chokes, a guillotine choke and a triangle choke). This is not surprising, as Davis is a purple belt in BJJ.
Aggressive/Not Afraid to Brawl: Davis is definitely not afraid to throw down when he steps in the cage. He constantly pushes forward and looks to get opponent’s back to the cage. That way, he can control their movement. There he can look to score damage, including to the body where he mixes those shots in with head punches. Davis has no problem engaging in wild striking exchanges. He’s willing to take a punch to land one, which is not a huge problem as he can take a punch (other than his single one-punch KO loss on his record).
Not a Complete Striker: While Davis is a solid grappler, his striking could use a bit of work. While we mentioned he doesn’t mind engaging in a brawl and does work the body a bit, there are intangibles he should add to his arsenal. To this point, he’s not shown himself to be a man with one-punch KO power. He mostly uses his hands, and would be better served if he added more effective kicks to his attack. At times, he can overextend himself and take damage from his opponents. Also, he can keep his head on a straight line, which also allows his opponent to check his chin. Improvements there would make him far more dangerous.
Inconsistency Against Regional Talent: Davis is 8-3 as a pro, and at times has looked impressive. At other times, he’s been inconsistent against mostly regional talent. While one of his losses is to UFC vet Dom Steele, the other two came to regional journeyman (Joshua Fremd and Sidney Wheeler), which have been setbacks on his potential road to the UFC. Even in his best wins, he’s really failed to stand out as overly impressive. From the looks of it right now (which could change in the future), he would struggle against most of the talent on the UFC roster right now.
UFC Curtain Jerker/Regional Headliner: In facing John Poppie, Davis has a chance to prove himself as ready for the next level. Poppie has fought for The Ultimate Fighter and promotions like the LFA, so he has experience at a higher level. A win over Poppie would give him the best win on his record to date. In looking forward to the peak of his career, Davis has potential, no doubt. I am just not sure if it’s potential at being a consistent player at the highest level. At best, I think Davis could be a guy that gets 2-3 fights opening cards for the UFC. If that doesn’t happen, he will be a regional headliner for most of his career. Time will tell.