Las Vegas, NV — Welterweight Geoff Neal returned to the win column at UFC 269, snapping a two-fight skid care of a split decision victory against Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Not surprisingly, Neal was pleased with his performance following the fight. “I’m happy with that performance. I did a lot of things, I showed a lot of things, and I really felt like I was at home,” Neal told media outlets including Cageside Press. “It was a real easy fight for me. Yeah I didn’t get the finish, but I felt like I was in control of the fight all three rounds, and was never in any trouble. I didn’t take any, really, damage. He kicked my legs a couple of times, and that was it.”
Neal was zoned in to the point that he wasn’t cognizant of the thousands of fans in the arena on Saturday. “I didn’t realize that there was thousands of fans. All I felt that was there was me, him, and my coaches.”
One thing that might have taken him out of that zone, albeit briefly, was the stop-and-go nature of the fight.
“There was a few eye pokes, like close eye pokes. The ref stopped it when Ponzinibbio, he didn’t poke me in my eye, but he got really close. And the ref tried to stop it and I was like ‘no no I’m fine, I’m fine.’ I let Ponz know, I was like ‘watch your fingers’ because the ref didn’t see it, but when the ref heard me say that, he said ‘stop!’ And then I kicked Ponz in the balls, and he stopped.”
Asked if it was hard to keep his intensity up with so many stoppages, Neal replied “probably but I was just in the moment the whole time. I didn’t care about any of the small bullcrap breaks. But that’s what happened, I kicked him in the balls, and he stopped.”
A Texas native, born in Austin, Neal now hopes to join the UFC 271 card in Houston next year. “I’m looking to get back in February, but we’ll see,” he said Saturday. “I’m going to talk to my coach about it, that’s not for sure yet. February in Houston is what I want, but me and my coach might want something else. So we’ll see about that.”
Watch the full UFC 269 post-fight press conference with Geoff Neal above. More coverage from the event can be found below.