winning the early rounds proved to be key for Neil Magny against Kelvin Gastelum tonight at UFC Fight Night 78, taking him to a split decision victory despite being dropped a couple of times and put under real pressure in the final 10 minutes.
The main event of the evening is underway. Magny fires out the jab early then goes for a low kick.
solid low kick from Gastelum. He lands a left hook too. Another leg kick from him. Confidence boosters against the taller, rangier Magny.
Gastelum trying to back Magny up, but is met by a combination of straight punches down the pipe.
Two left hands from Gastelum and then a head kick attempt. He tries to transition into the clinch, but Magny is able to take him down and is straight into mount and then has his back.
Gastelum does well to get back up to his feet and then lands a beautiful judo throw to get him to the mat. Magny sweeps. They scramble and in the end Magny gets into full mount then has Gastelum’s back again. This time he makes better use of the position and is looking to set up a rear-naked choke. He loses a hook and opts to move back to mount, then to the back again.
Another transition and Magny ends up in Gastelum’s half-guard. To the mount, then the back again, but Gastelum manages to gets back to his feet this time. 10 seconds remaining and Gastelum presses forward, but isn’t able to land anything before the horn sounds.
Nice jab from Magny to start. Gastelum closing the distance, but gets popped with a right hand. Gastelum’s punches coming up a little short. Magny connecting though.
Gastelum with a punch and kick. Magny getting backed up against the cage and throwing out punches to try to keep his opponent at bay. Gastelum into the clinch though. Magny able to reverse the position momentarily, but then Gastelum gets back in control.
Not for long though as they separate. A little head movement from Gastelum to avoid a few punches. However, soon after Magny tags him with a few punches. Good body kick from Gastelum.
Magny with forward momentum as he lands three punches in a row. Hard kick from Gastelum. Gastelum backs Magny to the cage and unleashes hard punches and his opponent covers up under fire.
They clinch and Magny tries to take him down. There’s a big scramble which ends with Magny still clinched to Gastelum’s back standing. He dumps him to the mat, but Gastelum gets right back up. Magny presses him to the cage then trips him to the mat and gets his back. Gastelum gets back upright in the final 10 seconds with Magny still holding on. Magny doing well so far over this first ten minute spell.
Gastelum out aggressively with punches. Magny wants to clinch, but Gastelum backs up. Magny follows him and looks to land. Magny into the clinch again, but Gastelum reverses. Magny pushes him to the other side of the cage.
Eventually they break apart with Magny landing a punch on the way out. Gastelum with an upward jab. He shows nice head movement to slip a punch then lands a counter.
Gastelum in close and lands a left hook before clinching up against the cage. Magny pushes out of it. Left hand for Gastelum as they clinch again. They jostle for position and then split.
Magny keeping Gastelum on the end of his jab. Gastelum lands a couple of punches then back to the clinch against the cage. Magny pushing him forward and is able to almost shove Gastelum to the mat, but he gets right back up.
Gastelum catches a kick from Magny but doesn’t do anything with it. Magny trying to go in on a takedown, but Gastelum almost ends up in an advantageous position. Magny quickly upright threatening again to take him down. Another scramble and Gastelum ends the round on top.
Low kick for Magny. He pumps out the jab then connects with a solid straight right. Magny trying to keep this stand-up action at range. He lands right at the end of a right and left punch.
Suddenly Gastelum drops Magny with a big right hook. He gets on top and is in side control. He wants the crucifix position, but it’s not happening and Magny gets him back to half guard. Gastelum lands a solid elbow.
Gastelum transitions back to side control and is trying for the cruficix position again. Magny defends it, works to half guard and then is able to pop up to his feet.
Back to striking and almost instantly Gastelum cracks him again with a left hook that puts him on his back again. Gastelum not able to capitalize immediately and Magny gets to his feet and gets his bearings in teh clinch for a moment before they separate.
Magny with a jumping kick then into the clinch working on a takedown. He doesn’t get it and they separate with 20 seconds to go. Gastelum with a leg kick. He continues to move forward as the round ends. Big round for Gastelum and he needed that.
Early clinch from Magny, but Gastelum gets away from that. He wants to strike. Magny backing up as Gastelum comes forward with purpose. Magny catches a kick and lands a big punch and the combination stumblese Gastelum.
Gastelum straight back on the offensive and he lands a big takedown. Magny puts him into his guard. Gastelum posturing up, but taking his time landing offense. He connects with a few short punches, but Magny throws up his legs and then is able to get back to his feet.
Magny threatening with a kimura then separates with punches. Gastelum backs him up again and lands a few solid strikes close to the cage. Gastelum with a leg kick. He pieces together a solid combination.
Magny jogs away. Gastelum with a hard body kick. He stumbles off-balance on a loaded up punch. left hand for Magny. They clinch in the center of the Octagon. Magny getting the better of it and drags Gastelum down, though he gets right back up. Magny pulls him down again, but Gastelum spins around and ends up on top in his opponent’s guard.
Gastelum in half guard and landing some solid ground and pound as the round ends. We’re headed to a decision after five rounds of action.
A fight of two halves here with Magny being the better of the two early, particularly in the grappling department while Gastelum rallied strongly in the fourth and fifth rounds with big strikes dropping Magny.
The judges have come to a split decision verdict and it’s Neil Magny who’s work in the first fifteen minutes helps carry him to victory (48-47 x2, 47-48).