While Neil Magny thought he did enough to get the nod against Kelvin Gastelum in their headlining encounter at UFC Fight Night Monterrey on Saturday, he also knew the back-and-forth nature of the bout would not make the judges’ job easy.
Magny set the tone in the first 15 minutes, peppering Gastelum with long punches at range and landing takedowns and advancing position with relative ease on the mat. With three rounds likely in the bank, the Grudge Training Center representative appeared to be on his way to victory, but Gastelum was far from done.
“The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner nearly finished Magny during a furious fourth-round rally, twice flooring his foe and maintaining constant pressure throughout the frame. The comeback continued in the final stanza, as Gastelum landed a takedown early and outmaneuvered his foe on the canvas. Ultimately, Gastelum’s comeback fell just short, as Magny was awarded the split decision.
“At the end of the fight, I knew for sure I lost the fourth and fifth round,” said Magny, who took the fight on two weeks’ notice after a Matt Brown injury. “I thought I did enough in the first three rounds to win the fight. You just never know when you go to the judges. Kelvin is a tough competitor; he just kept coming the whole time. For sure it was a difficult fight to score on the judges’ side.”
Gastelum, meanwhile, looked confused when the final verdict was announced. According to MMADecisions.com, 11 of 16 tracked MMA media members scored the bout a 47-47 draw, which likely meant a 10-8 round four for Gastelum.
“Nobody should take anything away from Magny. He came in two weeks’ notice, stepped up and pulled out the win,” Gastelum said.
“Whether [round four] was a 10-8 round, I don’t know. I thought it was gonna be a win or a draw.”
While the final tally was somewhat controversial, it doesn’t change the fact that Magny has now won nine of his last 10 outings during an improbable two-year run that began with a victory over Gasan Umalatov at UFC 169. Even if the fight didn’t end the way he would have like it to, Magny has still come a long way from the fighter who dropped back-to-back contests against Seth Baczynski and Sergio Moraes in 2013.
“It’s all a growth process, a learning process for me,” Magny said.”I went out there and wanted to do something totally different than what I did. All I can do is go back to the gym, talk to my coaches and see where I go from here.”
Lately, only Donald Cerrone can match Magny when it comes to a hectic fight itinerary. However, Magny balked at the notion of accepting a previously booked fight against Stephen Thompson at UFC 195. Magny was pulled from that bout when Saturday’s card needed a new main event; a replacement foe for Thompson has not been named.
“Right now I’m just gonna rest up the rest of the year, let my mind and body heal up and come out strong in 2016,” Magny said. “I think Jan. 2 is a little too close for my liking, but who knows what 2016 is going to bring? I’ll just be ready for it and waiting.”