UFC 298: Ian Garry Keeps Distance, Wins Split Decision Over Geoff Neal

Geoff Neal and Ian Garry, UFC 298
Geoff Neal and Ian Garry, UFC 298 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Undefeated Irish prospect Ian Garry came away with a victory when facing his toughest task to date in terms of long-time ranked welterweight Geoff Neal at UFC 298.

After beating perennial gatekeeper Neil Magny, Garry moved up the ranks to face another man who has served as a gatekeeper at times. A win would put him into the range of title contention, but Neal refused to go down without a fight, just like when he gave undefeated Shavkat Rahkmonov his toughest fight to date in their ‘Fight of the Year’ contender last year, though he lost in the end.

Neal’s southpaw stance and boxing style faced off against Garry’s orthodox, rangy kickboxing. Garry used his teeps and footwork to keep kickboxing range. Geoff tried to pressure but had little success early, until he landed a clean right hand as he crashed into the clinch halfway through the round. Neal held onto him for a while but then Ian broke. With one minute left Garry landed two good knees to the body though. When the round ended, it was fairly clear that Garry won it.

The second round started slowly; one minute in Geoff Neal shot for Garry’s hips. He failed the takedown, but held Ian against the fence for forty seconds. Ian landed another knee and a body kick back at space. The second round largely went similarly to the first except at a much slower pace. Geoff had trouble getting close to Ian, though he had a few good uppercuts from a single collar tie at one point. With forty seconds left they traded power punches. Neal did get the better of a few exchanges in the final minute, though Ian closed the round by controlling him in the clinch and landing a body knee. The round was close.

In the final frame Geoff Neal put a few good combinations together early, but Ian fired back. Neal often had to chase Garry down to land a few punches when Ian’s hands were down on exits, but he crashed into the clinch each time as a result of his forward motion. For the most part, Ian poked away at him for the entire round while he circled and avoided Neal’s offense, though the crowd did not appreciate it. Right before the bell Ian landed a massive elbow that forced Neal to retreat, but he did not fall. It was a clear Ian round.

When the decision was announced, Ian Garry won by split decision as two judges gave him all three rounds, while one judge gave Geoff Neal the first and second round.

Offical Result: Ian Garry def. Geoff Neal by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)