Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight scrappers Carlos Condit and Neil Magny will square off this Saturday (Dec. 30, 2017) at UFC 219 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
By all appearances, Carlos Condit’s mixed martial arts (MMA) career is coming to an end. He considered retirement following his title loss and failed comeback, but ultimately “The Natural Born Killer” will make his return this Saturday in a must-win bout. In fairness, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses for Neil Magny either. Since winning 10 bouts out of 11, Magny has been finished twice in the first round in his previous three contests. Despite the defeats, this is a chance for Magny to score the biggest victory of his UFC career.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Rory MacDonald (UFC 115), Nick Diaz (UFC 144), Thiago Alves (UFC Fight Night 67), Dong-Hyun Kim (UFC 132)
Key Losses: Georges St-Pierre (UFC 154), Robbie Lawler (UFC 195), Johny Hendricks (UFC 158), Demian Maia (UFC on FOX 21)
Keys to Victory: Condit is one of the most opportunistic finishers in the history of the sport. An aggressive Muay Thai fighter with underrated submission skills, Condit attacks until an opening arises before pouring on the offense.
Condit has won all but two of his victories via stoppage.
Opposite Magny, Condit definitely wants to keep this thing standing. Magny has the pace and conditioning to match his volume, but Condit is the heavier puncher and more technical kickboxer overall.
Magny is one of the lankiest fighters at 170 pounds, but he doesn’t always make the best use of those gifts. With that in mind, I’d love to see Condit throw a lot of kicks to the legs and body, as they’ll wear the taller man down. Furthermore, Condit is at his best when blending combinations of kicks and punches, something that should lead him to success opposite Magny.
Key Wins: Kelvin Gastelum (UFC Fight Night 78), Johny Hendricks (UFC 207), Hector Lombard (UFC Fight Night 85), Tim Means (UFC Fight Night 40)
Key Losses: Demian Maia (UFC 190), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC 215), Lorenz Larkins (UFC 202)
Keys to Victory: Magny first gained momentum in UFC by fighting with remarkable consistency, a schedule he’s hoping to pick back up. In the cage, Magny’s combination of conditioning, strong clinch wrestling and rangy kickboxing has proven a solid recipe for success.
Historically, Condit’s biggest issue has been takedown defense. Even at his best, Condit has never been all that great at stopping a deep shot. Hell, even Nick Diaz landed a takedown the one time he tried in their controversial bout.
The best aspect of Magny’s game is undoubtedly his wrestling, which includes strong double leg takedowns and a tight body lock. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that taking Condit down is a far easier path to victory than trying to out-strike the man with 15 knockout victories.
Magny definitely has the ability to take Condit down, but the real challenge will be to do it safely. Condit is skilled with jiu-jitsu reversals and counter knees, so Magny’s ability to back Condit into the fence or catch kicks will be key for closing the distance safely.
If he can accomplish that goal, Magny has the conditioning and wrestling to upset the former interim champ.
Bottom Line: It’s a great fight between a pair of struggling Welterweight contenders.
No one wants Condit to call it quits. The longtime veteran has faced struggles with injury and the general wear-and-tear of a rough sport, but it only takes one strong performance to reinvigorate a career. If Condit is refreshed after his layoff and takes Magny out, he’s suddenly a relevant Top 10-ranked athlete with lots of intriguing match ups ahead of him.
If not, the future grows even more uncertain. There are certainly still interesting match ups for the Welterweight with fighters who are not top contenders, but it’s questionable whether Condit would be interested in that step back.
This is a hugely important bout for Magny, who is hoping to avoid losing three of four and dropping further down the ranks. It’s a particularly bad time to be losing fights at 170 pounds, as the fast-rising group of young Welterweight contenders would happily jump into his position. Luckily, there are real positives to defeating Condit, who hasn’t lost to a fighter outside the Top 5 since Martin Kampmann in 2009. A high profile victory is just what Magny needs to reassert himself as a Top 10-ranked fighter and get back into the title hunt.
At UFC 219, Carlos Condit and Neil Magny will battle to open the main card. Which man will return to the win column?