Ranked welterweights Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal served as the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 59.
Luque was looking to shake off a loss to Belal Muhammed back in April, while Neal was fighting for the first time in 2022, after earning a split decision victory over Santiago Ponzinibbio last December.
What emerged in the co-main event was a wildly entertaining, brutal fight that saw Neal have arguably the best performance of his career.
Luque pressed forward early and Neal circled. Luque opened up first with a leg kick and Neal returned with left hand. Luque kept moving forward and fired off a head kick that Neal countered with a left hand. Luque then fired off a combination but Neal answered with one of his own that hurt the Brazilian and backed him up.
Neal pressed the action but Luque was quick to recover and he fired back. Luque launched a flying knee that missed the mark and Neal answered with another combination. Luque kept pressing forward but Neal landed another combination that pushed him back. Neal, now on the offensive, landed another punch that hurt Luque. Neal sensed his advantage and pressed Luque who looked a little unsteady on his feet. Luque now appeared more tentative and seemed content to let the round end.
Geoff Neal opened the second round looking to carry over his momentum from the first, but Luque again continued to move forward and throw combinations. Luque landed a number of leg and body kicks that kept Neal out of punching range. Neal worked to close the distance and look for his shot. Neal circled away from the kicking leg of Luque and looked to land but switched levels, shot the take down and took Luque to the mat. Luque, however, popped back to his feet and after a moment in the clinch the two separated. Neal stuck close to Luque and landed a stinging combination; Luque fired back but Neal got the better of the exchange. Back to the middle of the cage where the two continued to exchange and Neal kept his slight advantage over the Brazilian to end out the round.
A touch of gloves and third round began. Luque again opened up with some kicks to the body and Neal slipped away before he closed the range to exchange with a combination. Luque again leapt forward with a knee that Neal slipped away from. Neal landed a solid left and followed it with another that hurt Luque. Neal Hurt Luque again and sent him back into the cage with a left. Against the cage Neal hammered home his advantage with no less that six uppercuts that battered Luque, and a final blow sent him crashing to the mat to end the fight.
With the win, Geoff Neal becomes the first man to stop Vicente Luque on the feet. He called out Luque’s teammate Gilbert Burns after the fight.
Official Result: Geoff Neal def. Vicente Luque by knockout (punches), Round 3, 2:01