This is McGee’s first fight at Welterweight after two back to back decision losses at Middleweight. “The Crusher” showed a lot of promise after winning season 11 of TUF, reeling off 2 more wins to start his UFC career 3-0. However, after losing to Constantinos Phillipou he was given a chance to avenge his earlier defeat during TUF to Nick Ring, but lost that fight as well in a controversial decision. Neer has also lost consecutive fights, but while McGee’s losses have been competitive, Neer’s losses were more emphatic: a KO loss to Mike Pyle, then getting caught in a guillotine by Justin Edwards in under 60 seconds. That puts some extra pressure on “The Dentist” to deliver this time around.
Fight Breakdown – It will be interesting to see how the new weight cut affects McGee’s overall conditioning for the fight. McGee has a grind-you-down style that he can use to set up his submissions, as he did against Ryan Jensen and Kris McCray before his recent losses. He’s not going to be throwing any spinning back kicks. He was a powerful middleweight with explosive takedowns, but it’s hard to predict how that will translate to a lower weight class. If he spends the majority of the rounds on top of Neer, hammering away at him, that will be a success.
Neer isn’t a huge mountain to climb, but he’s no pushover either. Getting finished in his last two fights is a concern, but overall, Neer has proven to be an extremely durable fighter with a style that reminds me just a little of a young Wanderlei Silva. Neer is one of those guys who is willing to just stand and bang. He has the ability to sub guys as well, and McGee definitely won’t want to be on the receiving end of his ground and pound. Neer would be happy to keep this thing standing, but he wouldn’t have an aversion to tangling with Court against the cage or on the ground.
A stand and trade type of fight would be playing into Neer’s strengths, so look for McGee to use his wrestling and take downs to try and take this fight to the floor. McGee and Neer are both well-rounded fighters, and the fight could be exciting anywhere. Wherever the action happens, expect these two guys to fight with a lot of heart and a sense of urgency. Overall, this should be a great litmus test to see where McGee, who like Neer is in danger of losing his third fight in a row, can stack up in the Welterweight division. If he gasses early, he’s going to be a in world of trouble for not just this fight, but maybe this division period.
Why it matters: It’s not likely that these two guys are fighting for their jobs…yet. Neer may be closer to those dark waters than McGee, but his style is entertaining for fans. Still, no one wants to be on a three fight losing streak. The UFC doesn’t typically reward guys who make a habit of losing. The threat of a pink slip looming over them should light a fire under these guys and make them fight an exciting fight. If one of these guys looks terrible, don’t expect to see him on any main card fights for a while.
Prediction – McGee