Geoff Neal vs. Ian Garry prediction | UFC 298 1

UFC 298 hosts a matchup six months in the making between welterweight contenders Ian Garry and Geoff Neal.

Ian Garry has still yet to taste defeat in the octagon and can notch his seventh consecutive win in the UFC if he can get past Geoff ‘Hands of Steel’ Neal this Saturday.

Neal had the near-impossible task of taking on Shavkat Rakhmonov in his last fight and fell short. The challenge this weekend in Ian Garry could prove to be equally as daunting, but he’s looking to prove he still belongs in the top 10 at 170 lbs.

Betting Odds

Closing as a favorite in each of his UFC fights, it’s no surprise Ian Garry comes in as the favorite again this weekend:

  • Ian Garry: -235 (BetUS)
  • Geoff Neal: +195 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

A veteran of the welterweight top 15, Geoff Neal is 7-3 in his sixth year with the UFC. Neal, 33, specializes in boxing but likes to mix in some body kicks and takedown attempts when they are available. He’s a southpaw with a good right hook and straight left hand. His straight left is probably his weapon; it’s quick and extremely accurate and he has great timing to pop his opponent as they move in.

He has a good high guard like most boxers; he defends the jab well with parries and defends the right hand with his left hand high and tight in the guard. Shavkat found some success against this defense by bringing the right hand around the guard almost like a hook to tag Neal on or behind the ear.

Against Vicente Luque, we saw him start his two/three punch combos with the jab vs the right hook and he found a lot of success against the tight high guard of Luque. It was a great example of how well Neal times his opponents if they willingly walk into punching range with no head movement. His timing is on point and he’s very accurate, making those straight shots hit harder.

When his opponents aren’t as willing to walk into him, he begins to find himself on the losing end of exchanges. He’s a bit awkward in the way he resets his feet out of range before walking back in; he has a tendency to settle in kicking range and, with his lack of non-boxing offense, he often gets outstruck here.

I’m not convinced that Geoff Neal has bad cardio, but he often looks (and fights) like he’s exhausted in rounds two and three. He’s less explosive with his combos and his movement slows to where he hangs around in the pocket after firing off his strikes, leaving him open for counters.

His opponent is 26-year-old Ian Machado Garry. The undefeated prospect has won all thirteen of his pro bouts with six of those in the UFC. Garry is a high level striker with an impressive arsenal of long punches and kicks. He manages distance well with his quick reaction time and footwork to hop in and out of range when his opponent throws.

His best strike is his jab which he throws from all kinds of angles. He uses a lot of feints and hand movement to manipulate his opponent’s defense and fire off the jab from different angles. He throws the rest of his punches behind it, targeting both the head and body. His shot selection is another positive part to his game. He mixes up his targets with strikes well and uses the success of one strike to open up another.

Garry’s kicks are just as sharp, if not sharper than his hands. He has a devastating outside calf kick to the lead leg of conventional opponents and against southpaws, has shown good power to the body and head to that same side. He compromised the lead leg of Neil Magny with the first leg kick he threw and was able to intelligently attack it over the course of fifteen minutes. He likes to vary his kicks between the typical round kick and a push/front kick that he throws at the lead knee and on to the body.

One area we haven’t seen a lot from Garry is the grappling. His footwork and ability to stay off the fence has kept him from having to deal with many clinches along the cage but he also hasn’t faced a grappling heavy fighter outside of Magny who fought on one leg for the vast majority of the fight. For someone who prides himself on being technically sound in his striking, it’ll be interesting to see how well he holds up against high-level grapplers at 170 lbs.

The biggest problem in this matchup for Neal will be Garry’s movement. Most of Geoff Neal’s success comes from pulling fighters in and making them walk into a slugfest with him, but Garry has shown to be very good at keeping himself outside of boxing range and just in range to land his kicks. Garry is quick on his feet and could frustrate Neal with his movement, forcing him to reset and try to create new angles.


While Geoff Neal is definitely a dangerous striker with his power and boxing, I don’t know how many opportunities he’ll find to land those punches on the elusive Garry. If Garry keeps himself light on his feet, attacks the legs and body with his kicks and utilizes his jab, he should be able to stay out of danger.

Geoff Neal’s gas tank could also prove to be a problem. Neal slows down quite a bit and shows his fatigue after round one whereas Ian Garry can keep a high striking pace over all three rounds. So the longer this one goes, the more of an advantage Ian Garry will have. As long as outside noise and criticism don’t affect him in the octagon, I’m confident he’ll pick up the win.

Prediction: Ian Garry to win (-235 at BetUS)

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