When we refer to a fighter who is “as dangerous in the last round as they are in the first”, we’re usually talking about power hitters who can still knock an opponent out while exhausted. Neil Magny (19-5) is built along the lines of the Diaz brothers; he’s dangerous because he barely slows down as the fight goes on.
He’s 6’3″ with an 80″ reach and really knows how to glide that frame around the octagon. He throws loose combinations of punches that have just enough power to stagger his opponent. If they eat a full combination, they’ll hit the floor. If not, they’ll get near the fence where Magny can employ his clinch grappling. Despite his slender frame, Magny is capable of picking fighters up off the mat and slamming them if he can get a bodylock. From here he employs an absolutely suffocating top game where, if he’s not dropping punches and elbows, then he’s looking for the submission.
It’s where he’s dissimilar to the Diaz brothers that Magny runs into big trouble.
For one, Magny has no chin. It’s surprisingly easy to put him down with a clean connection, though it should be mentioned that he’s good at defending himself after he’s hurt. But the real problem is that Magny can’t in fight if his life depended on it. Kelvin Gastelum, Hector Lombard, and Lorenz Larkin all moved inside of Magny’s effective range to score huge hits.
Rafael dos Anjos
A spate of bad luck took Rafael dos Anjos (26-9) off the path of potentially being the greatest lightweight of all time to being an undersized welterweight hoping for a career revival.
Dos Anjos is the absolute definition of a mixed attacker. He’ll attack the head, body, and legs while adjusting his output depending on where he lands most. As a southpaw, his power shots naturally target the liver which makes his exemplary body kick even more brutal. He’s very intelligent about the way he closes distance, using a high forearm guard and rolling with punches.
He’s a decent wrestler but looks great because he’s good at getting opponents to the fence before lifting them. He’s not a particularly dynamic ground fighter; like his striking, he depends on simple guard passes and raining down a volume of hard blows to get points.
No one’s really sure what his weaknesses are. In recent memory, the only men who beat him were Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson. Alvarez landed a beautiful but fluke counterpunch that snuck perfectly behind the forearm guard from which Dos Anjos could never recover. Ferguson is a wildebeest wearing human skin and was able to absorb haymaker after haymaker before walking Dos Anjos down and chipping away with long shots.
The only concrete point of concern is that Dos Anjos’s somewhat basic wrestling won’t work in this weight division. Tarec Saffiedine isn’t a particularly large welterweight and has always been weak in the clinch, but Dos Anjos struggled to get him to the ground in a way he never did against lightweight fighters. Considering how many good wrestlers there are in this division, it doesn’t bode well.
Neither Magny nor Dos Anjos will tire in a three round fight, meaning every round is going to be hard fought.
Despite being long, Magny has never been a good out fighter; he’s not good at intercepting opponents with straight punches and kicks. He doesn’t throw with the type of power that will bother Dos Anjos even if he can sneak a punch past the forearms, while the latter has experience getting in on longer fighters. Once he’s in, Magny’s slender torso and legs are ripe for hacking.
The question is whether Magny can get Dos Anjos to the ground. Magny is so much larger than Dos Anjos that a single takedown could mean an entire round in his favour.
Dos Anjos won’t score a knockout, but he should be able to take at least two rounds by volume of strikes.
Dos Anjos via Unanimous Decision
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