Neil Magny looked as good as ever as he notched his record-setting 20th win in the UFC welterweight division at UFC Vegas 64.
Daniel Rodriguez, ranked 14th in the world coming in, fought one of the most tenured fighters in UFC welterweight history in 13th-ranked Neil Magny in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 64. The pair’s original booking was canceled three weeks ago.
Magny was looking to take the sole top spot as the winningest fighter in the division’s entire history from the legend Georges St-Pierre with a win over D-Rod, while D-Rod looked to improve to 8-1 in the UFC in barely two years since his debut. In fact, Rodriguez is the owner of a welterweight record of his own, having landed the most significant strikes per minute at 8.24, which is exactly 1.5 more than the next highest rate. It would be tough to extend that lead anymore, given that Magny is the toughest opponent the LA native has faced to date. Further, the small cage may favor the wrestling and clinch-heavy game of Neil Magny.
D-Rod came out in round one looking to apply pressure to Neil Magny while Magny looked to use his long limbs to kick and enter clinches. D-Rod denied his first attempt to clinch. D-Rod began to throw his left hand straight to the body of Magny and denied two more clinch attempts from Magny before clinching up himself. Magny then tried to reverse the clinch and get on the outside but D-Rod pivoted out of it and returned to striking. D-Rod smothered Magny’s forward movement with a clinch but Magny reversed it and landed a few knees. However, Rodriguez was proactive about escaping and got back to striking range. Magny landed one big right hand with two minutes left in the round and was catching up in the striking. He had even cut open D-Rod with the jab. Magny used a clinch to grab D-Rod and swivel around to the back before lifting Rodriguez up in the air and throwing him to the ground. However, Rodriguez quickly struggled back to his feet with Magny hanging off of him. Magny got to the back with one hook in and dragged D-Rod back to the mat, onto his knees. Rodriguez finally got back up but Magny had a rear body lock and used it to land an elbow on the break. D-Rod was not happy with that though and he ran forward with hooks, landing a few of them and backing Magny up right before the buzzer.
Two big head kicks from Magny opened the second round. Although they were partially blocked, they also partially landed through the one hand guarding the head of D-Rod. Rodriguez got back on the forward pressure after that though, but he had trouble landing on Magny constantly due to the length and lateral movement of Neil. Still, he landed one hard, clean left straight after a minute and then a hook a few seconds later. Another few moments later a big left sent Magny stumbling back against the fence. The pressure of D-Rod allowed him to keep his back off of the fence and avoid the clinch. Magny recognized this and then ran forward to be on the front foot and clinched up. Rodriguez was able to separate quickly this time, however. Throwing from behind his jab while on the front foot was working for D-Rod and he was able to land strikes more consistently. D-Rod began to somewhat bully Magny, literally pushing him across the cage to start pressuring sequences. A clinch scenario ended quickly as D-Rod escaped after eating a knee around one minute left in the round. Rodriguez responded with a big left straight to the chin. With twenty seconds left Magny rushed forward into the clinch and got a body lock from behind D-Rod but he was unable to do much damage with it before the round ended.
Going into round three it was a close fight. Perhaps Magny had won round one and perhaps Rodriguez had won round two, but scorecards could have been all over the place. D-Rod opened round three with a 1-2 combination that sent Magny backward but Neil quickly got back on the front foot, refusing to be backed against the fence like last round. A big flurry hurt Magny to the body and then rocked him to the head, forcing Magny to shoot a takedown and then pull guard when that failed. D-Rod obliged by getting on top in full guard, but Magny’s guard was hard to bypass so he let him up. Magny was able to clinch up, get the rear body lock, and drag his opponent to the ground with one hook in. From behind Rodriguez, Magny was able to posture up and land good, short strikes. He then swiveled to the front of D-Rod. Rodriguez struggled back to his feet but Magny picked him up and threw him to the ground, this time getting both hooks in. However, Magny got too high and fell off the top. He grabbed a front headlock back on the feet and dragged D-Rod to the ground in a d’Arce choke attempt. The choke was locked up deeply and Rodriguez was forced to tap after struggling a bit. This fight made Magny the winningest fighter in UFC welterweight history and the first to have 20 wins in the division.
Neil Magny def. Daniel Rodriguez by Submission (d’Arce Choke) in Round 3 (3:36)