UFC: Geoff Neal is forced to withdrawal; Robbie Lawler steps in to fight Neil Magny

2020 has not been good to top UFC welterweight prospect, Geoff Neal. First of all, the promotion had the most difficult time getting someone to accept a fight with Neal. With nobody accepting fights, Neal had to get a second job to help with expenses.

Finally, Neal was booked to fight Neil Magny (23-7) on August 29th. It was a big fight for both men as they both looked to break inside the top ten. Well, Neal broke the news himself last night that due to a health scare, the fight is off.

Former UFC Champion Steps In

You have to feel for Neal after the year he’s had. The UFC worked quickly once they were informed that Neal wouldn’t be able to take the fight. MMA DNA first reported last night that the promotion was close to getting a former champ to stepping in.

Robbie Lawler (28-14) will be making his UFC return on August 29th against Magny. We haven’t seen the former champion since last August when he lost to Colby Covington at UFC on ESPN 5.

The former champion has hit a bit of a rough patch going 1-4 in his last five fights. Although all four of those losses were against guys that were in the top five of the UFC‘s welterweight division at the time.

This is a big time fight for both Magny and Lawler. For Lawler, it’s a chance to right the ship. He’s lost three and a row, but Magny is a winnable fight for Lawler. A win is much needed for Ruthless.

Magny is looking for his third win in 2020. If Magny can defeat Lawler, he should be guaranteed a top ten opponent in his next fight. Both men currently rank just outside the top ten in the UFC’s welterweight division.

UFC BREAKING: Zabit Magomedsharipov – Yair Rodriguez off due to an ankle injury

Yair Rodriguez

One of the more anticipated UFC featherweight contests of 2020 will not happen. Dana White confirmed this evening that Yair Rodriguez (13-2) has injured his ankle and will not headline the August 29th fight night against Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1).

What does the UFC do?

The UFC has tried to make this fight multiple times over the last couple of years. Injuries have continued to get in the way of this fight being a reality.

Zabit and Rodriguez are two of the brighter stars in the UFC‘s lower weight classes. The fight between the two of them was likely to determine who would face Alexander Volkanovksi next for the featherweight title.

As ESPN’s Ariel Helwani suggested, Calvin Kattar has offered to step in to face Zabit in the main event of the August 29th card. Kattar and Zabit do have history.

The two men just fought and headlined a fight night back in November. Zabit won the three round main event, but Kattar was really coming on strong at the end. Many believe that Kattar could have won if it had been a traditional five round main event.

Kattar would make sense from a rankings perspective, but there’s no word on if Zabit would want to fight Kattar back-to-back. There are a couple of additional options for Zabit at 145 pounds.

Other Options

The UFC has been trying to book Chan Sung Jung and Brian Ortega for some time now. White has said that the UFC is close to booking that fight. However, maybe the promotion looks to see if one of them would be interested in stepping in to face Zabit.

Another outside the box option could be giving Max Holloway a call to see if he’d take the fight. The former champion could really establish that he should get another shot at Volkanovski if he can beat Zabit.

White said the Rodriguez has a high ankle sprain and a fracture. It’s unlikely, but if he recovers quickly, the UFC could shift gears to move up a main event and move back the Zabit – Rodriguez fight. Many options are on the table and we should expect the UFC to move quickly on this one.

 

UFC: Geoff Neal gets a fight; takes on Neil Magny on August 29

There has arguably been no UFC fighter more frustrated than Geoff Neal over the last couple of months. Due to the lack of fights, Neal had to return to waiting tables, which is not a good look for a top 15 fighter.

Neal was incredibly frustrated because multiple fighters had turned down a fight against him. Neal’s luck might be turning around according to ESPN.

Top 15 UFC Welterweights going head-to-head

This is a big fight for the UFC‘s welterweight division with Neal taking on Neil Magny (23-7). Both welterweights will be bringing in a winning streak into their fight on August 29th.

Magny returned in March after a layoff that spanned a year and a half. Since returning, Magny has looked good getting wins over Jingliang Li and Anthony Rocco Martin.

The Haitian Sensation will look to continue his impressive year with a victory over Neal. A win over Neal would guarantee a top ten opponent for Magny in his next outing.

For Neal, you have to feel great for the guy. He has been nothing short of dominant since making his UFC debut back in 2018. Neal is 5-0 with four finishes.

Because Neal is viewed as so dangerous, many fighters didn’t want to fight him which put him in limbo. Guys above him in the rankings didn’t see the upside in taking a risky fight with him.

Well, Neal will get an opponent who’s ranked behind him, but a very respectable top fifteen opponent. Whoever comes out of this fight victorious will be for sure ranked in the top ten of the UFC‘s welterweight division.

Report: Zabit Magomedsharipov-Yair Rodriguez targeted for Aug. 29th

Zabit Magomedsharipov, UFC

A big-time UFC featherweight contest that was originally scheduled two years ago, looks like it’s finally going to come together on the UFC‘s planned August 29th card. The contest would pair two top five featherweights against each other in Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1) and Yair Rodriguez (13-2-1).

Zabit’s UFC Dominance

Since joining the UFC back in 2017, Magomedsharipov has been nothing short of dominant. The lengthy 6’1 featherweight holds a UFC record of 6-0. These days, the world of Russian MMA is on fire. You have the most dominant champion in the sport in Khabib Nurmagomedov, then you have Petr Yan who is getting ready to challenge for the bantamweight title, then there’s Zabit. Zabit is such a unique talent with a unique skillset especially for the 145 pound division. His last two fights were big step-ups in competition, and he passed those with flying colors. In his last fight, he defeated Calvin Kattar (21-4) back at UFC Fight Night 163. Kattar gave Zabit his toughest test yet, but the Russian was able to pull of the unanimous decision victory. This fight with Rodriguez was supposed to happen two years ago before an injury pulled Yair out of the fight. It will be very hard to deny Zabit of a title shot if he wins in August. We might have three Russian UFC champions by the end of this calendar year.

Rodriguez living up to his potential

Back in 2017, there might not have been a more exciting prospect in the UFC than Yair Rodriguez. “El Pantera” had highlight reel finishes over Andre Fili and UFC Hall of Famer, BJ Penn. He got his first real test against former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar. Rodriguez showed that he wasn’t quite ready for that step-up as Edgar completely dismantled Rodriguez. Doctors had to stop the fight after the second round. Injuries kept Rodriguez out of the UFC for over a year after that fight. Upon his return, he had an incredible come from behind knockout victory over Chan Sung Jung. Following that fight, he had a pair of fights with Jeremy Stephens. The first fight ended in fifteen seconds after Stephens was accidentally poked in the eye and couldn’t continue. In the second fight, Rodriguez showed just how dynamic he could be, beating Stephens by unanimous decision. For Rodriguez, this fight is his chance to really prove he’s finally arrived at the top of the sport. It would be hard to deny Rodriguez the title shot if he’s able to defeat Magomedsharipov. Jung is the other likely contender for a title shot if he’s able to defeat Brian Ortega, but with Rodriguez holding a knockout win over Jung, Rodriguez might be next in line.

UFC’s Featherweight Division

The UFC‘s featherweight division is heating up much like the bantamweight division. The UFC‘s lower weight classes (excluding flyweight) are so deep it’s crazy. Back at UFC 250, the bantamweights put on a show. We all know how insane the UFC’s lightweight division is, and now the featherweights are showing their strength. Next month on Fight Island, you have the title fight and rematch between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway. Later this year we should see the “Korean Zombie” and Brian Ortega fight, and now it looks like were getting the Magomedsharipov-Rodriguez fight in August. It’s going to be an insane rest of the year for the UFC’s featherweight division.