Originally scheduled for UFC Vegas 62 taking place on October 15, the #13 ranked welterweight, Neil Magny (26-9; 19-9 in the UFC), will fight the #14 ranked welterweight, Daniel Rodriguez (17-2; 7-1 in the UFC), come UFC Fight Night 214.
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As indicated by his 28-fight UFC stint, Neil Magny is a battle-tested veteran who has shown little to no tread on his fight tires as he continues to get better fight over fight. Meanwhile, Daniel Rodriguez is subtly entering tenure-veteran status while also being an underrated prospect who just beat the always-dangerous Jingliang Li a short time ago.
The culmination of each fighter having talent with a continual chip on their respective shoulders makes this a high-level fight that will likely be a razor-thin margin, making every aspect of this fight significant given whoever wins will likely earn themselves a crack at the top-1o of the deepening division.
The odds represent what the fight is, that is, a relative coin flip: Magny is priced as a slight -120 favorite, with Rodriguez coming back at +100.
Neil Magny is one of my favorite fighters to break down and place wagers on or against. The reasoning for this is he not only fights incredibly consistently but also continually beats the fighters who he is forecasted to beat and loses to those he is projected to lose to – these fighters are often top 10 in terms of talent.
Consistency of fight-over-fight performance is rooted in his style of fighting, that is, remaining intelligent on the feet while incorporating his higher-end skills of solid wrestling and weaponizing cardio. Often, when a fighter is a cardio weapon with solid wrestling, they are either the elite of the elite or have a significant hole in their fight game. For Magny, the hole in his game is seen on the feet, but is far from significant; instead, his hole on the foot is intrinsic to his fighter intelligence as he understands that the power threat he possesses in the octagon is not as significant as others in the division, and for this reason, rather than succumbing to ego, he stays within himself to put a pace and pressure on the feet to wear down his opponent contrary to looking to go for the KO. Lacking KO power is indeed a weakness given this leads to fighting close fights, but the other aspects of his game make him a legitimate ranked fighter and one coined by many as being a top 10 gatekeeper – beats those lacking clear-cut, top 10 talent.
Diving a bit deeper into his fight-game plan, Magny often looks to establish a snapping jab that finds great success given the speed at which he throws it coupled with him having an impressive reach for the division. Peppering the jab out allows Magny to control distance and opens up the opportunity to land a takedown. The latter is a critical component of his game, as he is a strong wrestler when fighting non-elite wrestlers, and he is able to wrestle successfully for the entire duration of the fight given his elite cardio. Similarly to his striking, Magny does not get a finish once on the mat, but instead, inflicts razor-sharp strikes – punches and elbows – that are thrown with precision over power.
Choosing precision over all-out power may not be directly associated with Daniel Rodriguez, but as he seasons in the octagon, he is becoming far more of an intellectual inside the cage than many give him credit for. The lack of direct association is due to him having nine of his first ten wins coming via finish, but when looking at what he has done recently, he has gone to the judges’ scorecards in four of his last five fights. For many, lacking the ability to continue an impressive finish rate is an indication of skill disparity lessening as the opponents faced are of greater talent; and, while this is indeed the likely cause, it is not too worrisome. The reason why I believe this to be the case is Rodriguez is not lacking talent, instead, is electing to fight the smart fight when facing opponents who are far more threatening than what he did in his younger years.
Choosing a calculated, measured approach to fighting is important as Rodriguez continues his climb up the welterweight division. The reasoning for this is rather than going out there throwing widely to get the finish, poise best ensures Rodriguez the ability to have the fight where he wants the fight to be. Often, the desire of where the fight takes place is on the feet, as he is a very talented boxer. His best strike is a sniper-like left hand thrown from the southpaw stance, and this often is an effective punch as he frequently fights predominately orthodox opponents; so, having a juxtaposed stance makes a straight two the far greater punch to throw than an alternate, lead-hand strike. Parlay the specific strike disparity with his natural desire to fight on the feet, given the belief he has with his striking over the opponent, and Rodriguez is intelligent to do all things possible to keep the fight on the feet, with poise and a measured approach being a leading contributor.
Having balance and not overextending aids in the ability to keep the fight standing, but a takedown attempt can still be shot by his opponent. When done, Rodriguez has stuffed 73% of shots over his UFC career, which is a strong number. But, over his last 2 fights, he has given up a combined 4 takedowns, a mark that is likely too high when facing an opponent as talented as Magny is when it comes to wrestling non-wrestlers. So, while Rodriguez is solid on the ground with respect to getting back to his feet, he will need to show improvement by keeping the fight standing for the majority of the round, as a late takedown may sway the scorecards in the opposing direction.
This fight is quite interesting from a technical perspective. On the feet, the advantage should greatly favor Rodriguez as the opposing stances exacerbate his left hand’s effectiveness while simultaneously nullifying the effectiveness of Magny’s jab. Elsewhere in the fight, Magny should find success, particularly with landing successful takedowns against Rodriguez who has struggled somewhat against higher-end wrestlers. When analyzing striking vs. grappling success, it is quite difficult to discern which will loom more effective.
Because of this, I will choose an alternate methodology of prediction, that is, under the assumption Magny beats non-top ten fighters, is Daniel Rodriguez a top 10 fighter, right? The answer to this question is while I believe he can certainly be one in the near future, I believe he sits more in line with 10-15, contrary to being in the top 10 contending for top 5 status. Because of this, the belief it will be a close fight, and knowing Magny has a plethora of experience winning close fights, I am electing to choose the veteran fighting his 29th UFC fight in Neil Magny.
Bet: Magny to win by decision (bet now at MyBookie)