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Unknown MMA’s Fight to Watch: UFC 240

O Canada, what a time it is to be alive. The UFC is once again making landfall in Edmonton. Without affirming how unmistakably great the main event is going to be, it’s the featured bout of the night and our fight to watch that may have fans feeling “blessed” that they were able to see this card. Whether you’re watching at home or live inside Rogers Place arena, Geoff “Handz of Steel” Neal (11-2) vs. Niko “Hybrid” Price (13-2-0, 1NC) is a fight to watch and a potential threat to the main event for FOTN (Fight of the Night).

A post shared by Amanda Sanchez (Chica) (@amandansanchez) on Jul 24, 2019 at 3:21pm PDT

For Geoff Neal, this moment has been years of preparation and hard work but to most fans, Neal was most notably identified on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (Season 1, week 3), where a big left hand floored his opponent, which resulted to vicious shots on the ground causing the ref to step in and stop the fight. The fight all but sealed his fate and at the same time gave reason and explanation to his nickname- “Handz of Steel”. In the final minutes of the show, Dana awarded Neal with a UFC contract.

Geoff’s UFC debut came in Austin, TX at Fight Night 126 where he was victorious in the 1st rd via submission in the 1st rd. That victory proved he belonged in the UFC but it wasn’t until UFC 228 (his second UFC fight) where Neal had his “coming out” party of sort against Frank Camacho. “The Handz of Steel” put the hands away and let a vicious head kick do the talking for him. That head kick KO’d Camacho and it was at that moment that he along with the millions watching at home knew that Dana Whites Tuesday Night Series had birthed a true contender.

A post shared by Amanda Sanchez (Chica) (@amandansanchez) on Jun 13, 2019 at 11:15am PDT

Between sparring sessions and fights, Neal is a server at a local restaurant in Dallas, but a victory this Saturday will go a long way in allowing the “Handz of Steel” to stop handing out food and instead give his undivided attention to hand out loses. Now with every fight in front of him only being bigger than the last, Neal will look to introduce himself to the top 15 of the division and focus on being a full-time fighter. The only thing that’s in his way will be a game opponent who finds euphoria in stepping into that octagon.

Niko “Hybrid” Price is no slouch, and he’ll be out for blood the moment the octagon closes. Since his debut inside the octagon in 2016, the “hybrid” has never been in a fight that’s needed the judges’ scorecards – for better or worse. Niko’s posted a 5-2 record inside the octagon with 3 victories by TKO/KO including his most recent against the always game Tim “The Dirty Bird “Means and his other 2 coming by way of submission.

For some, many could think of Price as the litmus test of sort for the welterweight division. Never breaking the rankings himself but at the same time stopping several fighters who had any kind of steam or hope of entering the rankings themselves (Ex. Randy Brown, Alex Morono, Alan Jouban, etc.). Price is going to meet you in the middle of the octagon and he’s not going to shy away from biting down on that mouthpiece. In order to give a shot, he doesn’t shy away from taking a couple, especially if it means landing a shot that he knows will put you away.

With Price and Neal potentially on the doorsteps of the UFC rankings, a win in their usual fashion would all but guarantee their name in the top 15 when the rankings are released next week. This fight will begin with both fighters near the outside of the octagon but I got a strong feeling they’ll meet in the middle and the bout will end with one looking up at the other. Be sure to be tuning in live on ESPN+ when the winner puts the rest of the division and every fight fan, on notice.■

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