Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight veterans Neil Magny and Daniel Rodriguez will throw down this weekend (Sat., Oct. 29, 2022) at UFC Vegas 64 from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
At this point, it’s highly unlikely that Magny works his way into the title picture. He’s come close to a title shot and built solid win streaks in the past, but at this point, Magny is pretty established as a gatekeeper to the division’s elite ranks. Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom for the 35-year-old, who is one of the most active and winningest athletes in Welterweight history. Rodriguez, meanwhile, is the latest up-and-comer to face the Magny test. An experienced and hard-nosed brawler, Rodriguez has won seven of eight inside the Octagon. He’s earned this step up in competition, which will provide an opportunity to really establish himself in the Top 15.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Kelvin Gastelum (UFC Fight Night 78), Johny Hendricks (UFC 207), Hector Lombard (UFC Fight Night 85), Carlos Condit (UFC 219), Geoff Neal (UFC Vegas 26), Li Jingliang (UFC 248), Robbie Lawler (UFC Vegas 8)
Key Losses: Shavkat Rakhmonov (UFC Vegas 57), Santiago Ponzinibbio (UFC Fight Night 140), Michael Chiesa (UFC Fight Island 8), Demian Maia (UFC 190), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC 215)
Keys to Victory: Magny has fought most of the top Welterweights of the last decade, and he’s still around and fighting in great form. A rangy kickboxer who really excels in the clinch, Magny’s best weapon is his pace and ability to wear down his opponents.
The clinch is surely Magny’s best bet here. He does have a range advantage standing, which will surely be helpful in avoiding Rodriguez’s biggest swings. However, it’s pretty clear that Rodriguez is the cleaner and more damaging puncher, so an extended striking contest likely does not favor Magny.
Fortunately, the clinch is an easier avenue to victory. Magny is an expert at hanging on opponents, making them deal with his leverage and weight. As their energy saps away, Magny is landing short digs with punches and elbows or really doing damage with knees. Suddenly, the takedown comes much more easily. Rodriguez is a solid defensive wrestler, but he has yet to show the ring craft (like Ponzinibbio) or pure wrestling skill (like Rakhmonov) to defeat this area of Magny’s attack.
Once Magny ensnares an opponent into his game, it’s usually very difficult to break away.
Key Wins: Kevin Lee (UFC Vegas 35), Li Jingliang (UFC 279), Tim Means (UFC Fight Night 167), Mike Perry (UFC Vegas 23), Dwight Grant (UFC Vegas 7)
Key Losses: Nicolas Dalby (UFC 255)
Keys to Victory: Rodriguez is a very effective kickboxer. He can fight moving forward or backwards, throws quality combinations, and has proven very durable in a scrap. All told, he’s finished 12 of his opponents via knockout or submission.
Distance is the name of the game here for “D-Rod.” Magny puts out a lot of volume at range, but it’s generally not terribly damaging strikes. There will surely be food on the table for Rodriguez, who should have plenty of opportunity to counter, particularly if he’s slamming Magny’s lead calf.
The key is not crashing forward. So, so many past Magny opponents have landed a good shot, threw a combination while moving in, and landed in the clinch. Then, they suddenly cannot escape and are all tied up.
Rodriguez has the experience and composure to avoid such a fate. Provided he stays disciplined, stinging Magny with hard counters and combinations without falling into the clinch is definitely within his skill set.
This should be an interesting battle of ranked Welterweights.
Magny’s position as gatekeeper to the Top 10 is pretty set in stone at the moment. He’s active and experienced, a valuable member of the roster that serves a purpose. He’s not likely to climb much further than his current No. 13 spot, and seeing as Rodriguez is a single position behind him, there’s not much room to fall here either. Barring a drastic win or loss streak, Magny is where he’s at.
The stakes are more considerable for Rodriguez. He picked up the biggest win of his career last time out at UFC 279, but it was marred by iffy judging and the weird catchweight situation. A clean win over Magny helps cement Rodriguez as a real talent, and it should earn him a Top 10 match up next.
At UFC Vegas 64, Neil Magny and Daniel Rodriguez will go to war in the co-main event. Which man will earn the victory?
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