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UFC Fight Night 130 card: Neil Magny vs Craig White full fight preview

MMA: UFC 219-Condit vs Magny Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight warriors Neil Magny and Craig White will collide this Saturday (May 26, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 130 inside Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

At multiple points in recent years, Magny seemed on the cusp off title contention. Instead, he would come up short in a big fight, generally getting finished, too. After years in the division, Magny has settled into the bottom half of the Top 10, but the lanky wrestler is still looking to climb the ladder. His original opponent was Gunnar Nelson, who found himself in a similar position, but the Icelandic athlete suffered an injury just weeks before the fight. Replacing him is White, a Cage Warriors veteran who brings a ton of aggression to the table.

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:

Neil Magny
Record: 20-6
Key Wins: Kelvin Gastelum (UFC Fight Night 78), Johny Hendricks (UFC 207), Hector Lombard (UFC Fight Night 85), Carlos Condit (UFC 219)
Key Losses: Demian Maia (UFC 190), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC 215), Lorenz Larkins (UFC 202)
Keys to Victory: Magny is a well-rounded athlete who makes the most of a very deep gas tank. Magny is among the tallest and longest fighters at Welterweight, which results in a solid combination of rangy boxing and clinch wrestling. Any opposition who cannot maintain a solid pace for three rounds is in for a tough night.

A short-notice opponent who generally finishes or is finished quickly? Probably doesn’t have the conditioning to keep up with Magny for long.

That said, Craig has finished all 14 of his victories. The safest strategy opposite a fighter who starts fast is likely the clinch, where it’s more difficult to pull off the knockout blow. Plus, that’s Magny’s wheelhouse, an area of his game where he tends to take down the majority of opponents. Strategically, this is a pretty simple fight for Magny: maintain distance with the jab, lock up a clinch when Craig charges, and then drag him to the mat. Simple does not necessarily equal easy, though, as Craig will be trying to take his head off from the first bell.


Craig White
Record: 14-7
Key Wins: Alex Montagnani (Cage Warriors 92), Matt Inman (Cage Warriors 87)
Key Losses: Oskar Piechota (Time of Masters 1), Leon Edwards (UK Regional)
Keys to Victory: White is a better fighter than his record implies. “Thundercat” made his professional debut at the age of 18 in 2009, resulting in some early losses to solid competition. Since 2013, White has gone a respectable 8-2, and both losses came in Middleweight bouts.

At 170 pounds, White is a large athlete, and his finishes are divided up nicely with nine submissions and five knockout wins. He’s an offense-first fighter who attacks quickly, coming forward behind a barrage of punches and driving for takedowns whenever available.

For a short-notice debut opposite Magny, a quick start is not a bad approach. Magny has been blown out of the water before and tends to take a few minutes to find his range, so early aggression could really benefit the Englishman. That said, White needs to be careful not to punch himself into the clinch, which will only benefit Magny and cost White energy.

Bottom Line: It should be a fun fight ... even if it doesn’t match up to the original contest.

Short and sweet, it’s a must-win fight for Magny, as losing to a newcomer will drop him from the rankings. Unfortunately, a win won’t gain him as much ground as a victory over Nelson might have, but this also should be an easier fight for him. Magny likes to stay active, so tacking another win onto his record and jumping right back in against a ranked opponent is Magny’s best option.

As for White, this is his chance to make an impact. The sport of MMA is very “what have you done for me lately,” so introducing himself to UFC with a stoppage win over its No. 9-ranked Welterweight erases all of his semi-recent losses and makes him an overnight player at 170 pounds. If the fight doesn’t go so well for “Thundercat,” he’ll at least receive another chance inside the Octagon against a more reasonable level of competition.

At UFC Fight Night 130, Neil Magny and Craig White will throw down in the co-main event. Which fighter will have his hand raised?

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