UFC Fight Night Liverpool is shaping up nicely. Many believed Gunnar Nelson would be headlining the event alongside Liverpool local Darren Till, but the matchmakers have instead put together a mouth-watering co-main, pitting him against Neil Magny. Both fighters are versatile martial artists looking to get their title run’s back on track, making this fight an exciting prospect.
A Chance at Redemption for Gunnar Nelson
Nelson, a Renzo Gracie BJJ black belt, has six submission wins in his UFC career, making him one of the most deadly submission specialists in the welterweight division. However, he has fallen out of the title picture after losing three of his last six bouts. In his most recent contest, Nelson suffered a devastating KO loss at the hands of Santiago Ponzinibbio. It occurred in front of an entourage of heartbroken Icelandic natives at UFC Fight Night Glasgow in July 2017. This loss wasn’t without controversy though. Nelson will surely feel aggrieved at the referee for not spotting a blatant eye poke from Ponzinibbio in the opening minute of the first round. After a ten month layoff “Gunni” has the chance, against Magny, to set the record straight. He has a chance to prove that he deserves to be a top ten welterweight in the UFC.
Struggling for Consistency
Magny, infamous for his incredible cardio and monstrous work rate, looked impressive in his most recent bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 219. He showed character to bounce back from his first round submission loss against Rafael Dos Anjos, just three months prior. In his past four bouts, however, Magny has lost two via stoppage and has struggled for any real consistency in his performances. In spite of this, with the added boost of his recent victory, Magny knows that a win against Nelson improves his stock and could lead to a fight against a top-five opponent.
A Marathon, Not a Sprint
I see this bout playing out at a relentless pace, as it’s the only way Magny knows how to fight. Nelson likes to employ a side-on karate stance, maintain distance and pick his shots carefully. I don’t believe Magny will grant him that luxury. One thing Nelson has over Magny, is his predator-like killer instinct on the ground. It’s also worth noting that three of Magny’s five UFC losses have occurred via submission. This fight will be an extreme test of Nelson’s cardio. If he can keep up with the pace of Magny then I believe he can get the submission late in the third round as Magny begins to tire. If he can’t keep up that pace, then I believe Magny will win via decision.
One thing is for certain, we’re in for a fantastic night of fights on May 27th. Whoever walks away victorious puts themselves back in contention to face a top-five contender, potentially Till or Stephen Thompson. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you think this fight goes down. Do you think Nelson can withstand the high pressure from Magny and get the win? Or do you think Magny’s work rate will be too much for Gunni? Let me know by dropping a comment.