Neil Magny has some stellar wins on his resume, but Saturday’s might be his best yet.
Magny (24-7 MMA, 17-6 UFC) frustrated former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-15 MMA, 13-9 UFC) for the better part of 15 minutes on his way to a unanimous decision. Magny took the fight with a trio of 30-27 scores.
The victory was Magny’s third straight for his best winning streak since 2015-2016. The win was Magny’s third in 2020 and moved him into the No. 2 spot for career UFC welterweight wins, just two behind Georges St-Pierre. Lawler dropped his fourth straight fight to continue a career-worst slide.
The welterweight bout was the UFC on ESPN+ 33 co-main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It streamed on ESPN+.
“It’s definitely a feather in the cap beating a legend like Robbie Lawler,” Magny said after the fight. “This guy’s done amazing things in the sport throughout his time here. It was literally an honor for me to go in there and face him tonight. It feels good to actually be able to execute a game plan and come out victorious with a guy like Robbie Lawler.
“… I’m doing the right things, and I’m going the right direction. It’s only a matter of time before I’m considered a world champion, or I am the world champion.”
Magny went to the outside to open and landed a solid kick to the body 25 seconds in. But Lawler swung heavy seconds later and backed Magny up, then tried to wrap Magny up for a takedown. He couldn’t finish it, and it gave Magny a chance to work for a D’Arce choke 75 seconds into the bout. He let it go, but started working punches to the body, then worked his way to Lawler’s back when the fight moved to the feet. Magny tried to wear Lawler down, then took him to the canvas, but found himself reversed by Lawler with two minutes left. When Magny got back to his feet, he landed a knee to the body, then an elbow, and then took Lawler down again along the fence.
A minute into the middle frame, Magny took Lawler down again. Soon after, he took Lawler’s back and tried to get his hooks in for a rear-naked choke. Lawler turned out of the choke, but Magny had plenty of time to work. Lawler got back to his feet with a minute left, but ate elbows from Magny, then knees to the body. They broke away with 45 seconds left, but Lawler couldn’t get anything going to rally.
Lawler almost certainly needed a finish to win the fight, and he landed a solid right hook 30 seconds into the third. Magny dropped back to guard and held Lawler at bay on top of him. With Magn yholding on, they were put back on their feet and Lawler tried to chase Magny down with heavy hands ready. But with three minutes left, Magny briefly dragged Lawler to the canvas. They went back to the middle midway through, but Magny continued to frustrate the former champ and never let him put anything together.
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