UFC welterweight Neil Magny wasn’t Fighter of the Year 2020, OK? Let’s get that straight now. There were only two possible answers for Fighter of the Year in 2020 and they were UFC flyweight champions, Deiveson Figueiredo (3-0-1) and middleweight, Kevin Holland (5-0).
But if these two hadn’t separated from the pack so far, the honor for 2020 would have been wide open. And I think I could have stood up for the always overlooked Magny.
All Magny does year after year is stand by and take on every fight the UFC offers. Magny (24-7) will face Michael Chiesa (16-4) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Wednesday in a UFC Fight Night, which will air during the day in the US on ESPN and ESPN + (12 p.m. ET main card). 9 a.m. preparatory). In 2020 Magny won 3-0 against Li Jingliang, Anthony Rocco Martin and Robbie Lawler. And he was really the only one who raised his hand to volunteer to face Geoff Neal and Khamzat Chimaev, two heavily avoided world terroirs, even though the fights did not materialize.
In this day and age when fighters can (understandably) be picky about which matchups they are ready for, willingness to fight someone at any time should be a factor in evaluating one’s year. And if that’s the case, Magny was at the top of the list. And that was nothing new to the man. He has done this throughout his career.
Wednesday’s main event should include Chimaev (9-0) versus Leon Edwards (18-3) in one of the most anticipated welterweight matchups of recent times. The lack of that fight, which has since been postponed for March 13th, was noticeable on Fight Island this week.
But I’m happy that Magny, a seven year old UFC veteran, is getting that shine. Magny is one of the unsung competitors at 170 pounds and in sports in general. A win against Chiesa, who ranks 10th in the ESPN welterweight division, would be his fourth straight road and should open the door to another high profile opportunity.
By the numbers
3-0: Chiesa’s record since joining welterweight in 2018. Before that, he had lost his last two at the lightweight, where he was 7-4 overall.
3-0: Magny’s record in 2020 after sitting out all of 2019.
17: UFC welterweight wins for Magny, second in division history after Georges St-Pierre’s 19th
5: The naked choke behind wins through Chiesa, taking third place in UFC history. All 11 of his placements in the octagon have been submitted.
49: Takedowns in the UFC of Magny, the second most popular active world athlete, behind Colby Covingtons 61. Chiesa has had 15 takedowns at 170 pounds in his three fights.
Sources: ESPN Stats & Information and UFC Stats
Five against five
Michael Chiesa’s recent results
Victory: Rafael Dos Anjos (UD, January 25, 2020; see ESPN +)
Victory: Diego Sanchez (UD, July 6, 2019; see ESPN +)
Victory: Carlos Condit (Sub2, December 29, 2018)
Loss: Anthony Pettis (Sub2, Jul 7, 2018)
Loss: Kevin Lee (TechSub1, Jun 25, 2017)
Neil Magny’s recent results
Prize: Robbie Lawler (UD, August 29, 2020; see ESPN +)
Victory: Anthony Rocco Martin (UD, June 6, 2020; see ESPN +)
Prize: Li Jingliang (UD, March 7, 2020; see ESPN +)
Loss: Santiago Ponzinibbio (KO4, November 17, 2018)
Win: Craig White (KO1, May 27, 2018)
And the winner is …
I know I was just singing Magny’s praises, and I meant every word, but we should now acknowledge that this matchup with Chiesa is extremely even. Many things that Magny is good at, things that can neutralize dangerous opponents and lead him to victories, are not susceptible to Chiesa. Chiesa can deal with Magny. He can keep up with Magny’s pace. If a fight is grainy and a little dirty, it can usually be assumed that it will be Magny’s path. This is not the case in a fight with Chiesa. He also feels very comfortable in these trenches. I’ll be relying on Chiesa’s submission skills and I trust he can do five laps with Magny if necessary, but this is a very tough question. Chiesa by submission, fourth round.
How to watch the fights
Watch the fights on ESPN: Download the ESPN App | download WatchESPN | TV
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Watch the fighting on ESPN +. If you don’t have ESPN +, Get it here.
There is also FightCenter, Here you can find live updates for every UFC card.
Battle card from Wednesday
ESPN / ESPN +, 12 p.m. ET
Michael Chiesa versus Neil Magny | Welterweight
Warlley Alves versus Mounir Lazzez | Welterweight
Ike Villanueva versus Vinicius Moreira | Light heavyweight
Roxanne Modafferi versus Viviane Araujo | Women’s flyweight
Matt Schnell versus Tyson Nam | Flyweight of the men
Lerone Murphy versus Douglas Silva de Andrade | Men’s featherweight
ESPN / ESPN +, 9 a.m. ET
Omari Akhmedov versus Tom Breese | medium weight
Ricky Simon versus Gaetano Pirrello | Men bantamweight
Su Mudaerji versus Zarrukh Adashev | Flyweight of the men
Dalcha Lungiambula versus Markus Perez | medium weight
Francisco Figueiredo versus Jerome Rivera | Flyweight of the men
Mike Davis versus Mason Jones | Light
Umar Nurmagomedov versus Sergey Morozov | Men bantamweight
Victoria Leonardo versus Manon Fiorot | Women’s flyweight
Four More Things to Know (from ESPN Stats & Information)
1. Warlley Alves, who meets Mounir Lazzez in the co-main event, has won three UFC fights with guillotine and is third in the ascension story, one behind the runner-up Nate Diaz. Lazzez, who has won three times in a row, is the first Tunisian fighter in UFC history.
2. The experienced flyweight Roxanne Modafferi will compete in her 44th career fight against Viviane Araujo on the main map. Modafferi has four wins at £ 125 which is the fifth most in division history.
3. It’ll be a fight of the fast flyweights when Matt Schnell meets Tyson Nam. Schnell scored the second fastest submission in the division’s history, submitting Jordan Espinosa in 83 seconds in 2019. Nam has the sixth fastest knockout of all time in bantamweight, a 32-second finish from Zarrukh Adashev last year.
4th Seven fighters are set to make their UFC debut. Some notable names: flyweight Francisco Figueiredo and bantamweight Umar Nurmagomedov. Figueiredo (11-3-1), the brother of the men’s flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo, is in an undefeated streak with three fights (2-0-1). Nurmagomedov (12-0), cousin of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, is a 5-to-1 favorite against debut colleague Sergey Morozov. Umar Nurmagomedov was named the 10th Best Fighter Under 25 by ESPN.
ESPN’s Jeff Wagenheim contributed to this preview.