This bout was originally scheduled for last August, but Neal was forced to withdraw due to health complications. Luckily for viewers, they’re just days away from finally squaring up inside the octagon. Prior to their recent losses, Magny and Neal were sizzling hot. “The Haitian Sensation” had cashed in on each of his three fights in 2020, while “Handz of Steel” Neal was riding a seven-fight win streak. Needless to say, neither competitor is used to losing so expect them both to bring their A games at UFC Vegas 26.
Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal is an orthodox/southpaw matchup on the feet with two significantly different stylistic approaches. Magny doesn’t throw looking to end the fight with one strike. Instead, he peppers his opponents as he overwhelms them with volume. Like many fighters, it all begins with the jab for the 33-year-old. In each of Neal’s previous four victories, he’s heavily out-landed his foe.
Conversely, Neal flaunts his nickname for good reason because his hands carry weight. He keeps a very high guard and throws a stiff jab that causes damage in its own right. The 30-year-old Contender Series alum has the third-highest knockdown average per 15 minutes of any welterweight to ever grace the octagon. Neal is arguably the hardest hitter in the top-10 and he’s only improving under the tutelage of Sayif Saud.
The biggest factor heading into Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal is the grappling, more specifically if and when “The Haitian Sensation” gets on top. Neal has spent just one minute and three seconds on his back since joining the UFC. Meanwhile, Magny has landed 50 takedowns in the UFC while securing roughly half of his attempts. Despite not being in the upper echelon of grapplers, he’s far and away the best grappler that Neal has ever faced. Expect Magny to shoot for a takedown early and that exchange will be very telling for the rest of the fight.
Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal Final Thoughts
Against the taller, longer, and elusive Stephen Thompson, “Handz of Steel” struggled to open up and land his usual devastating strikes. However, Magny is much easier to hit than “Wonderboy”, which makes the opening sequences of this fight so vital. If Neal can stuff the takedown and keep it standing he’ll likely be able to find a home for his left hand. Then, the question becomes whether or not Magny can withstand the significant blows. Again, he’s tough to put away so expect him to avoid getting caught with a fight-ending attack.
There’s a strong likelihood that Neal will end up on his back and once that occurs Magny will use his savviness to score points in top position. In his pre-fight interviews, Neal has said that he’s looking for a first or second-round knockout at UFC Vegas 26. He’ll have to end it early, because the longer that Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal lasts, the more it benefits “The Haitian Sensation”. One detail to look out for is the sneaky left head kick from The Fortis MMA product, which was on full display against Mike Perry.
A second detail to check in on throughout Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal is the five inch reach advantage for the Elevation Fight Team affiliate. Expect Magny to stay at his preferred distance when striking to keep out of the range of Neal’s thunderous strikes. Still, the grappling will be the difference and “The Haitian Sensation” should prevail in that battle. UFC Vegas 26 has itself a premier welterweight scrap.
Who do you think will come away victorious from Neil Magny vs Geoff Neal? Drop your prediction in the comment section!
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