5 Defining Moments: Neil Magny

By: Brian Knapp
May 6, 2021

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Neil Magny earned his reputation as one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s most consistent competitors while plying his trade inside the Octagon for the better part of a decade.

Now two victories shy of tying George St. Pierre’s all-time promotional record for welterweights, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 semifinalist will collide with Geoff Neal at UFC on ESPN 24 this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Magny, 33, has recorded three wins across his past four outings. He last appeared at UFC on ESPN 20, where he dropped a five-round unanimous decision to Michael Chiesa in January.

As Magny prepares for his pivotal confrontation with Neal, a look at five of the moments that have come to define him:

1. Introductory Phase

Airtight takedown defense, aggression in the clinch and a stinging jab carried Magny to a unanimous decision over Team Link’s Jon Manley on the UFC 157 undercard on Feb. 23, 2013 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The “Haitian Sensation” swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks. Quicker to the punch, Magny put his stamp on the match in the opening minutes and built on his momentum from there. The Miguel Torres protégé zapped Manley with a beautiful standing elbow and ringing right hand in the second round, closing the frame in dominating fashion and beat upon his turtled counterpart with punches and elbows against the cage. Magny, who defended all but one of Manley’s takedown attempts, delivered one of his own in Round 3, eventually moved to mount and punctuated his first UFC victory with some heavy artillery from top position. He went on to suffer back-to-back defeats to Sergio Moraes and Seth Baczynski before righting his ship and settling in as a consistent performer.

2. Record Player

Magny tied an Ultimate Fighting Championship record with his fifth win inside a calendar year, as “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 semifinalist dispatched William Macario with mounted third-round ground-and-pound in their featured UFC 179 prelim on Oct. 25, 2014 at Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro. Macario succumbed to the blows 2:40 into Round 3. Magny kept the young Brazilian at bay with his length, firing straight punching combinations, jabs and kicks. In the second round, he brought takedowns into the equation, achieving full mount and softening Macario with ground-and-pound. He repeated the approach to greater effect in the third, where he struck for another takedown, again moved to mount and finished it with unanswered punches from the top.

3. Constriction Restriction

The “Haitian Sensation” was not in Demian Maia’s league. Maia submitted Magny with a second-round rear-naked choke and slowed his rise within the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight division on the UFC 190 undercard on Aug. 1, 2015 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Magny wilted 2:52 into Round 2. Maia was in prime form, as the 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist executed a takedown inside the first 30 seconds and rolled from there. He advanced to mount on multiple occasions in the first round and suffocated Magny from the top. The scene repeated itself in Round 2, but this time, Maia slid from the mount to the back, setting his hooks before fishing for and securing the choke. Magny fought to free himself, but his efforts went for naught and he was left no choice but to tap. The defeat snapped his career-best seven-fight winning streak.

4. Resilience Personified

Magny withstood a furious assault to put away former Bellator MMA champion Hector Lombard with punches in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 85 co-main event on March 19, 2016 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia. Lombard bowed out 46 seconds into Round 3, as he was finished for the first time in his 12-year career. Magny had to earn it. Lombard stunned the Elevation Fight Team rep with an uppercut in the first round and followed up with a hellacious amount of punishment featuring punches, elbows and forearm strikes. Magny endured, and by the time the first five minutes had concluded, Lombard was on fumes. Lombard floored the Colorado-based welterweight with a straight left in the second round but surrendered his position on a failed foot lock attempt. Magny moved to mount, caught a triangle choke and then advanced to mount a second time. Lombard rolled to his stomach out of desperation, only to be flattened out by his motivated counterpart. Magny cut loose with more than 40 unanswered punches, but referee Steve Perceval elected not to stop what had become an all-out mugging. Lombard had nothing left for Round 3. Magny executed a takedown inside the first minute, climbed to mount without resistance and closed out the American Top Team mainstay with punches.

5. Rinse-and-Repeat Treatment

Chiesa imposes his will as well as anyone in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 winner rode repeated takedowns, smooth positional advances and crushing top control to a unanimous decision over Magny in the UFC on ESPN 20 headliner on Jan. 20, 2021 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. All three judges scored it 49-46 for Chiesa, who improved to 4-0 since relocating to the welterweight division. Magny looked hapless at times, frustrated at others. Chiesa did just enough on the feet to give the Elevation Fight Team export pause, pursued him in the clinch and went to work after dragging him to the ground. The scene repeated itself over and over again in the five-round clash. Magny had a few glimmers of hope—he threatened Chiesa with an inverted triangle in the fourth round—but too few of them to make any real headway. The setback was his first in more than two years and kept him on the outskirts of contention.
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