Welterweight contenders take centre stage at UFC Vegas 26

UFC Vegas 26 may have lost it’s main event last week, but there are two welterweights ready to take centre stage at the APEX.

After TJ Dillashaw withdrew from his bout against Cory Sandhagen after suffering a cut in training, the main event slot is now wide open and it won’t be going to them. But that doesn’t mean that Geoff Neal and Neil Magny won’t be looking to steal the show on the main card in one of the more highly anticipated bouts on the card.

Two highly rated welterweight contenders will go head to head almost a year after their initial bout was scheduled, with very different looks on what a win would do for both men from then to now.

When they were originally both supposed to face off they were coming into the bout on win streaks with a potential title contender status waiting on the other end.

The fight fell through and both men moved on to different opponents, with Magny firstly despatching of Robbie Lawler as the replacement for their fight before losing to Michael Chiesa on Fight Island in January of 2021.

Neal returned to action after withdrawing from their fight and took on Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson at UFC Vegas 17 in December, getting dominated in a five-round main event to a unanimous decision defeat.

Those wins have altered the way they sit in the division now, but a win can get them right back on track.

Currently sitting in ninth and tenth place respectively in the rankings, in one of the most stacked divisions in the company, a win sets them up for a fight against the top names among their weight class. The likes of Jorge Masvidal, a returning Nick Diaz and Vicente Luque all become possibilities while Khamzat Chimaev has already spoken about fighting Magny in his return fight.

All of those would give the chance to move into a title conversation once again as the champion Kamaru Usman starts looking for potential new challengers to his title, having already beaten everyone in the top five except for ‘Wonderboy’.

It’s a chance for both men to get back on the track they were on previously while also stealing the show of a card that is ready for someone to stand up and take centre stage.

A defeat however sends them rolling even further away from their goal destination. It would be two in a row against top level competition and would likely mean that they are now going to be questioned about whether they can make it at the top level or not.

The stage is set and the show is there to be stolen, now it’s time for one of these two welterweights to step up.

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