UFC Fight Night 130 co-main event breakdown: Can Craig White score a major upset of Neil Magny?

MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of UFC Fight Night 130’s top bouts. Today, we look at the co-main event.

UFC Fight Night 130 takes place Sunday at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

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Neil Magny (20-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC)

Neil Magny

Staple info:

Height: 6’3″ Age: 30 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 80″
Last fight: Decision win over Carlos Condit (Dec. 30, 2017)
Camp: Elevation Fight Team (Colorado)
Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing
Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:

+ All-Army combatives champion

+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt

+ 6 KO victories

+ 3 submission wins

+ 5 first-round finishes

+ Consistent pace and pressure

^ High-volume striker

+ Good footwork and movement

^ Angles well off attacks

+ Underrated wrestling ability

^ Works well from bodylock

+ Solid transitional grappler

^ Scrambles and floats well

Craig White (14-7 MMA, 0-0 UFC)

Craig White

Staple info:

Height: 6’2″ Age: 27 Weight: 170 lbs. Reach: 76″
Last fight: Submission win over Alex Montagnani (March 24, 2018)
Camp: LD Fighters (England)
Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing
Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:

+ Regional MMA title

+ Taekwondo black belt

+ 5 KO victory

+ 9 submission wins

+ 11 first-round finishes

+ Aggressive pace and pressure

+ Serviceable boxing ability

^ Accurate left hook

+ Dynamic kicking acumen

^ Variates levels well

+ Solid transitional grappler

+ Crafty guard game

– Fighting on 12 days’ notice

Summary:

The co-main event in Liverpool features welterweights Neil Magny and Craig White.

Originally slated to face Gunnar Nelson (who was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury), Magny will now meet UFC newcomer White, a contender from the Cage Warriors organization who took this fight on 12 days’ notice. Riding a four-fight winning streak, the deceptively seasoned White will have a chance to represent his home country on the biggest stage.

Coming from a taekwondo base, White comes to the party with a slightly different timing than your typical striker. Still maintaining a slight bounce in his step, the Englishman is quick on the draw when it comes to his kicks and punches.

Although White can throw the spinning assaults associated with his traditional martial-arts background, he has adjusted his attack for the MMA arena, incorporating more low kicks that help set up his shots up high. White is also not shy about blitzing once he smells blood, but his left hook appears to be the punch with which he punctuates best regardless.

Nevertheless, I will be curious as to how much play White’s aggressive style will have against a deceptively long and elusive dance partner.

Magny, the American, may not carry your typical one-punch stopping power, but there is a lot to like about his game. Consistently circling and moving, Magny utilizes all 80 inches of his reach as he works his punches behind an accurate, long jab. Often doubling up with his lead, Magny makes sure he keeps his opponent’s eyes occupied while looking to set up his next shot.

With this approach making Magny hard to get a beat on both off the counter or coming forward, it will be interesting to see how White approaches his fleet-of-foot foe. Considering that White seems to have a proclivity to close into clinch space, I suspect that we could see some shifts happen in this department.

Despite having some solid submission chops, White will often pull guard or succeed to his back in search of offense when his clinch attempts seem to stagnate. Against Magny, the Englishman may find his actions welcomed.

Magny, who is an underrated wrestler, works very well from the bodylock position. Not only does this enable the All-Army combatives champ to hit his takedowns, but the control that a bodylock allows for also cuts down on the threat of guillotines – a submission White seems to fancy.

That said, Magny will need to be mindful if he ends up in White’s guard. The taekwondo black belt’s leg dexterity looks to have translated seamlessly into this area of his game, something that will probably keep the American honest whenever he is playing from topside.

The oddsmakers and public are firmly set on their opinions, listing Magny -620 and White +460 as of this writing.

Between the short-notice nature and multiple level jumps involved with White’s debut, it’s easy to understand the attitude against him in the betting lines. The Englishman could land a well-placed punch or kick on Magny (who’s not beyond getting caught upright), but I’m not sure how likely that is from the footage I’ve seen. And considering that Magny has shown the transitional grappling chops to hang with high-level fighters, I’m also not confident that White’s opportunistic submissions will have much play with his counterpart. I’m picking Magny by a late stoppage in the second round after surviving a few early scares.

Official pick: Magny inside the distance

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 130, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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