UFC Fight Night: Michael Chiesa v Neil Magny Prediction, Free Bets & Tips

Chiesa v magny
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UFC Fight Night Odds, Tips and Predictions

With the first card of 2021 done and dusted, this Wednesday sees the second UFC event in the space of four days with the unusual occurrence of a midweek card as Michael Chiesa meets Neil Magny in the welterweight division.

Despite a largely underwhelming card, the main event is one of intrigue and one which holds much divisional significance. Both are currently riding three-fight win streaks and, particularly in the case of Chiesa, are coming off career-best performances.

A win for either fighter here would likely see them shoot towards the top six places of the welterweight rankings, inching them a step closer to a coveted no.1 contender bout. So, with stakes high at a defining stage in the career’s of both fighters, let’s assess each fighters' prospects.

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How Does Chiesa win the fight?

While both have displayed marked improvements these past two years, Chiesa’s evolution, particularly physically since making the jump to 170, has been noticeable.

Admittedly, he was the benefactor of a major size advantage, but Chiesa’s most recent performance - in which he comfortably controlled Rafael Dos Anjos for every minute of all three rounds - was one which, in the context of prospective contendership, could not be ignored. Indeed, whilst clearly post-prime, 'RDA' is both an elite opponent and a more than competent grappler - only the likes of Kamaru Usman and Khabib Nurmagomedov have managed to exert such control over the Brazilian with such lengthy consistency.

Consider the manner in which Chiesa dominated their matchup and you can comfortably conclude that he’s reached a new level. In relation to Wednesday’s matchup, Carlos Condit is somewhat analogous to Neil Magny from a stylistic standpoint; mainly regarding the high volume, pressure with impunity style he chooses to employ.

These traits are largely what makes Neil Magny such an awkward opponent and Chiesa can be confident in the knowledge that he dispatched Condit with relative ease. Chiesa appears to have achieved a level aptness in his open space wrestling game of late, which for a fighter who relies heavily on a venomous grappling threat is game-changing.

It will, very likely, be a defining feature of this fight. You generally know what you’re going to get with Chiesa; he wants to take the fight to the floor, control it and look for the submission. Call it one dimensional, and to an extent, it is, but MMA is generally rewarding to fighters who have a clear, defined process and 'Maverick' has just that.

Expect him to attempt to impose this influence on Magny from the offset, and if Chiesa is to win, it's likely to be via submission or decision, given how not a single one of his 17 wins have come through a TKO/KO. At the same time, with Magny losing four of his seven losses via submission just as Chiesa boasts of 65% of his wins in this way, if the fight gets to the ground, Magny could be in trouble.

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how does Magny win the fight?

As for Magny, he has also been the subject of clear improvements in recent times, and three wins alongside three good performances in 2020 mean he enters the bout in his best form since 2016.

How his chances fare against Chiesa will largely be determined by the extent to which his defensive wrestling has improved, because while his striking technique has clearly evolved, the only available evidence of his defensive wrestling quality still lies within his fights against Rafael Dos Anjos and Demian Maia - and it isn’t promising.

However, while Chiesa will likely take confidence from Maia’s performance against 'The Haitian Sensation', Magny himself can take comfort from the fact that as much as he has improved, Chiesa is not Maia. Magny is a tricky opponent in that if you fail to approach him intelligently, he’ll inevitably drag you into a type of nasty slog that most fighters don’t want to be in. He has endless cardio, endless output and is pretty durable; such fighters are always tough obstacles.

It’s basic analysis, but Magny’s most conceivable route to victory is keeping the fight on the feet and drowning Chiesa in volume. Alongside previously suspect defensive wrestling, Magny isn’t great off his back, so if Chiesa is successful in his attempts to take the fight to the floor Magny’s chances appear slim. Conversely, Chiesa is extremely rote on the feet and will likely succumb to Magny in most extended exchanges.

Magny has shown a concerning propensity to completely collapse in fights against top opponents throughout his career (Dos Anjos, Santiago Ponzinibbio and Demian Maia), so whether or not this is a flaw of his that still exists in 2021 is, from his perspective, a caveat.

While his body of work in 2020 was good, his opponents weren’t what you’d consider elite. Our hunch is that, despite being an underdog with the bookmakers, Chiesa is a pretty unfavourable matchup for Magny. There is a large element of speculation in that Magny has displayed clear improvements in several areas of his game throughout the past 18 months, but is yet to face a substantial wrestling threat in that time.

Could it be that his defensive wrestling has also improved within that time period, but he hasn’t yet had the chance to show it? Absolutely. But we can only consider the available evidence, and to us that shows Chiesa’s strengths playing into Magny’s weaknesses.

If Magny is to get the win, a points victory at 8/5 is his likely route, but given that this will be a five-round fight, don't overlook the odds of 9/2 for Magny to stun Chiesa, if the number nine ranked man is to win.

Our pick is Michael Chiesa via decision at 11/4, whilst we consider the submission route from the number eight ranked fighter to also be a promising one at 5/1.

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