When it was announced that Tim Means would be returning to the ranks of the UFC, fight fans who look forward to prolific fight finishers clamored for “The Dirty Bird” to once again be featured in the big show. Not only is Means one of the most devastating strikers in his weight class, he is arguably one of the best finishers in the entire sport. Every time Means (20-5-1) is signed up to fight, fans know they are in for a treat. The former King of the Cage Champion would go 2-2 in his first UFC run before his release and Means would notch two highlight reel knockouts for the Legacy FC promotion, this Saturday the FIT NHB fighter will be paired with Neil Magny, who similarly finds himself at 2-2 and possibly fighting for his UFC roster spot.
UFC Fight Night: Brown vs. Silva is scheduled for this Saturday night, May 10th inside the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. Top Welterweight fighters Erick Silva and Matt Brown headline the event and Means/Magny is currently scheduled for the third fight on the Fox Sports 1 broadcast.
Neil Magny (9-3) is a 26-year old New York native who trains in Colorado out of the Grudge Training Center. Magny got his start in the UFC by first being a competitor on the “Ultimate Fighter” reality TV show where he was on Shane Carwin’s team during the season featuring Carwin vs. Roy Nelson in 2012. Making it to the semifinals, Magny would end up losing in the semi-finals but was impressive enough in his first two bouts that the UFC would bring him onto their roster where he would find himself on a pay-per-view card for UFC 157.
Currently 2-2 in his UFC tenure, Magny has defeated Jon Manley and Gasan Umalatov, both of which by unanimous decision. Magny fights a well-rounded game inside the cage where he utilizes his long limbs in the striking game and very fluid skills when fights hit the mat. He has solid control in the clinch and is solid defensively never allowing an opponent to bully him from close range. Magny hasn’t fought a striker like Means and will encounter his first violent finisher inside the Octagon making for his stiffest test to date.
While everyone recognizes the striking talents of Means, those same individuals have recognized the blueprint opponent’s have followed to neutralizing “The Dirty Bird”. Danny Castillo and Jorge Masvidal chose to avoid the lethal striking arsenal of Means by implementing a wrestling heavy gameplan. Standing in front of Means comes as a detriment to fighters which is illustrated by his 66-second destruction of Justin Salas in his UFC debut as well as his devastating finishes of Pete Spratt and Albuquerque trained Artenas Young in his two Legacy FC outings.
One of the two things will happen Saturday night, and it all comes down to what Magny decides to do when the cage door shuts. Conventional wisdom will tell fight fans that Magny will try to get in close range to earn takedowns. Means will be able to show any improvements he has made since his two fight skid in his first UFC tenure; not to mention, Means is very active from his back. While it is not a secret that Means works to get to his feet as a top priority but Means is very good at elbowing from his back and making his opponent very uncomfortable being in top position.
If Magny decides to strike with Means, fight fans may not have an opportunity to blink or risk missing out on fireworks inside the Octagon. Magny is very lengthy and enjoys throwing long, straight punches. Means is also very lengthy and uses his range to perfection when he finds the rhythm in the stand-up. Both fighters could engage in a brawl but both are technically talented enough to fight a methodical, tactical battle from outside range.
Magny enjoys a very talented clinch game and his ability to dictate the clinch has won him several rounds in the UFC. Means is an animal in the clinch, the Thai Plum or double collar tie is an area where Means can showcase his vaunted knees and elbows. As shown in his fight against Spratt, Means gets much more dangerous every inch he gets closer to an opponent. When Means is in range to use his eight limbs, every strike could spell disaster for an opponent.
How do you see the fight panning out fight fans? Will Magny step into the center of the Octagon to fight Means in a stand-up affair or will this fight be a matter of whether Means can stay on his feet long enough to find a home for his significant strikes?
Join SWFight in sending your well-wishes to Means and his team for his fight endeavors. Tune in to the weigh-ins tomorrow afternoon and the UFC Fight Night event goes live at 6:00 PM on UFC Fight Pass followed by the live broadcast on FOX Sports 1.