Neil Magny was able to weather a late barrage from Kelvin Gastelum to earn a split decision victory in Saturday's welterweight clash at UFC Fight Night 78 in Monterey, Mexico.
Gastelum was initially set to face Matt Brown, but the Magny stepped in on short notice after the latter was ruled out with an ankle injury suffered during training.
The fight was a fifth in ten months for Magny, coming just two months after his victory over Erick Silva at Fight Night 74 in August, and showed no lack of conditioning or fitness as a result.
Gastelum was the first to land a significant blow in the bout, backing up his opponent with a hard leg kick and stiff left hand.
However, Magny would use his opponent’s aggression against him taking him down twice during the round and dominating as he constantly searched for submissions.
The second round started in much the same way, with Gastelum initiating the exchanges but still coming off the worse for wear.
He ate several stiff jabs and had little response for Magny’s ground game as he was taken down twice and controlled on the ground for most of the round.
Magny’s movement, stiff jab and grappling saw him win the third round as well, in spite of Gastelum ending the round on top after he was able to scramble during another takedown.
Well aware that he was probably behind on the judges’ score cards, Gastelum threw caution to the win in the fourth round and was able to knock his opponent down with punches on two occasions. Magny recovered both times and managed to see out the round safely.
Gastelum continued to press his advantage in the fifth and final round; winning and early takedown but failing to land any significant strikes, and Magny was able to regain his footing after a triangle attempt.
Both fighters would score another take down each, but Gastelum was clearly superior on the round and would likely have come out on top on the scorecards.
In the end, the judges awarded Magny victory with the scores at 48-47, 48-47 and 47-48. The victory was his fourth in five fights in 2015.
UFC Fight Night 78 results:
Henry Cejudo def. Jussier Formiga via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Erick Montano def. Enrique Marin via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Enrique Barzola def. Horacio Gutierrez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Leandro Silva def. Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Erik Perez def. Taylor Lapilus via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bartosz Fabinski def. Hector Urbina via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Alejandro Perez def. Scott Jorgensen via TKO (injury) – Round 2, 4:26
Andre Fili def. Gabriel Benitez via knockout (strikes) – Round 1, 3:13
Alvaro Herrera def. Vernon Ramos via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:30
Polo Reyes def. Cesar Arzamendia via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:42
Michel Prazeres def. Valmir Lazaro via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)