Two fighters with a plethora of octagon experience will meet at UFC 283 when Gilbert Burns clashes with Neil Magny. Burns, the former welterweight title challenger, is coming off a razor-thin war against Khamzat Chimaev but has banked seven wins in his last nine fights. A bronze medalist in ADCC, few have the jiu-jitsu credentials of Burns inside the UFC. This coupled with years of experience under the tutelage of Henry Hooft makes Burns one of the more well-rounded and dangerous problems to solve in the division.
Neil Magny, a former soldier in the US army, attributes his road to the UFC to his background in wrestling. After a collegiate wrestling career, Magny made the move to MMA, appearing on the Ultimate Fighter in 2012 and earning a shot in the UFC. Now a veteran of the welterweight division Magny is ranked #12 in the world today. Magny and Burns have a combined 46 fights under the UFC banner.
Gilbert Burns will come in as a favorite in the matchup at 170 pounds.
- Gilbert Burns: -350
- Neil Magny: +275
With all his experience, Neil Magny has become a smart and well-rounded fighter but does tend to fight the same way very often. At his best, you can expect a Neil Magny performance to be built on pressure and suffocating cage wrestling. His long frame allows him to land counter shots after he is hit because those able to exit are often still in range for his straight boxing. However, his height also tends to leave him a bit more open to straight punches to the body and he will absorb leg kicks. He utilizes snappy teep kicks to keep opponents on the end of his boxing range and wants to be the one that dictates when the gap is closed so that he can smother fighters to the cage.
Once he gets them there, he will look to get to the side of his opponents with a tight body lock and lace a single leg in order to draw their hip away from the cage and drag them down. He has a fairly simple but consistent and grueling style where he clamps onto positions and chips away with strikes, not near full power.
Gilbert Burns, who fights in a Dutch kickboxing style, needs to find a way in and be the one pushing Magny back. In order to cut the gap that is Magny’s reach, butting his heel to the fence is key, this will also allow Burns to reach his right cross to the body without Magny sliding away. Attacking the body and legs is important for a couple of reasons, one – is Burn’s best combination is his jab to right overhand a roll through, but that overhand won’t land unless he can get Magny stationary and draw his hands down. Two – if Magny respects the body punching, then Gilbert can feint and shoot on the legs, Gilbert is a next-level grappler but actually wrestling Magny to the mat will be his toughest task.
If he can successfully get Magny down, Magny is particularly weak if you can put him in side control. His long legs allow him to maintain a tight full guard and negate damage well but technically he is still a wrestler at his core. Given half guard, fighting for the under-hook is the main problem because, given it, Magny will always look to escape out the side and into the ‘dogfight’ position. He is very good at this but goes to it often enough that he toes the line of predictability, so Burns has to maintain that under-hook, even if he starts putting pressure on the upper body. If he can fully pass to side control, Magny’s long limbs are almost a detriment in that he has difficulty getting to the knee shield but if he can get there then getting to half-guard is a problem.
Prediction and Betting Guide
Gilbert Burns came into the UFC as a feared submission artist, and his most common method of victory over his entire career is still about. However, in most recent years against the highest level of competition, he has leaned more into his power punching and control over an urgency for the submission. I do think that if Burns hunts more directly for a choke if he can secure a takedown, then he can take a page from Rafael Dos Anjos and Shavkat Rakhmonov’s books and snatch Magny’s arm or neck as he tries to wrestle up or out of position. Neil Magny is a tough matchup for anyone, but given the clash of skillsets, Burns is a deserving -454 favorite.
Pick: Gilbert Burns to win (-350)