UFC Jacksonville: Clinchwork Reigns Supreme, Neil Magny Takes Razor-Thin Split From Phil Rowe

Neil Magny and Phil Rowe, UFC Jacksonville
Neil Magny and Phil Rowe, UFC Jacksonville ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Youtube/UFC

In a fight which would make him the thirtieth fighter in history to have thirty UFC fights, tied for most in welterweight history, eleventh ranked welterweight Neil Magny took on knockout artist Phil ‘The Fresh Prince’ Rowe.

Magny achieved the most wins in UFC welterweight history in his last win, a submission of Daniel Rodriguez. He looked to prove he could rebound from his loss to Gilbert Burns in his last fight and that he was still a tough out for any fighter at 170-lbs. Phil Rowe, on the other hand, rode a three-fight knockout streak into this fight, all of which came after the nine-minute mark. Rowe, born in Orlando, got the pop from the Floridian crowd when Bruce Buffer announced him.

Rowe came out throwing big strikes and then clinched up to press ‘The Hatian Sensation’ against the cage. He tied to execute a trip but Magny defended it and turned the position so his back was to the center of the cage. Magny rode Rowe strongly and eventually got to his back and landed an elbow while Rowe worked to turn to face again. However, little damage was done in this position and referee Dan Mirgliotta warned them for activity a few times. Magny almost got Phil down but his balance held up and he got to the outside position after that. Rowe went for a double leg but Neil defended it. They turned back and forth a few times before Rowe backed off and got to the center of the octagon. Rowe executed a tight pull counter and staggered Magny backwards. Magny came right back and chased him across the cage with strikes. Neil attempted a takedown but ended up in the clinch once again and held Rowe against the fence for most the rest of the round. They traded elbows and separated right before the bell.

Phil Rowe opened round three with a nice outside trip that almost got Magny down. Magny used his hand to hold him up but Phil went around and took the back as Neil stood up. Phil got a body triangle and looked for a choke while Magny looked to shake him off. With three minutes left Rowe leg go and went to just control Magny with his feet on the mat and one leg laced up. He switched to a sudden double leg and Magny went down but bounced right back up. Magny turned Rowe and got the outside position in the clinch until Rowe escaped. Magny landed a good right hand on the break and clinched up again. He threatened a double leg and landed short strikes in the clinch, all the time just wearing down a now-tired looking Phil Rowe. Phil got free but got stuck in a double collar tie and ate some big knees before the end of the round.

After two close rounds, neither man could afford to take a second off in round three. Rowe opened round three with leg kicks but Magny responded with an open hand slap and a leg kick of his own. Magny came forward with bad intentions soon after and was able to land some good clinch strikes. Rowe looked to clinch up himself but it did not last long. The jab of ‘The Haitian Sensation’ popped Phil Rowe consistently when at range, but he clinched up again. Rowe dropped down for a double leg but did not get the takedown and Magny got back to space. When Rowe clinched up again Magny got to a front head lock but then transitioned to a collar tie and landed big knees. Rowe landed an uppercut in the pocket but Magny went for a takedown. He went after the single leg like a dog with a bone but Rowe stayed upright and escaped with forty seconds left in a close fight. They traded strikes and slips on the feet and Magny went for one more takedown. He pressed forward in the clinch to land some shoulder and knee strikes. Then with five seconds left Magny suddenly opened up with wild hooks and accrued some solid damage late before the bell.

When the scorecards were read almost no one could have been confident that either man won. The decision was a split when it was read out; all three judges scored it 29-28, but two of them had it for Neil Magny and one had it for Phil Rowe, giving Magny his twenty-first UFC win and preserving his ranking.

Official Result: Neil Magny def. Phil Rowe by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)