- What: UFC 298
- Who: Geoff Neal vs. Ian Machado Garry
- Date: Saturday, February 17, 2024
- Location: Honda Center in Anaheim, California
- Time: Early Prelims (6:00 p.m. ET) Prelims (8:00 p.m. ET) PPV Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+), Prelims (ESPN), Main Card (ESPN+ Pay-Per-View)
The UFC featherweight title is on the line when the promotion heads to the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, for the first time since 2022 for the UFC 298 pay-per-view fight card, which takes place on Saturday, February 17. In the main event of the PPV, UFC 145-pound champion Alexander Volkanovski puts his title on the line against the undefeated Ilia Topuria, who is the No. 3 fighter in the official UFC featherweight rankings. Before that fight takes place, UFC veteran Geoff Neal faces the rising Ian Machado Garry in a welterweight scrap. Here is some information on Neal and Garry before we discuss the betting breakdown for the UFC 298 PPV card.
Geoff Neal (15-5) is the No. 8 ranked fighter in the official UFC welterweight rankings. He is coming off a March 2023 submission loss to Shavkat Rakhmonov. Despite the loss, and the fact that he missed weight, Neal was awarded his share of the “Fight of the Night” bonus for that outing.
Ian Machado Garry (13-0) is undefeated in the UFC (6-0) with three knockouts and three decisions. He is coming off an August 2023 decision win over Neil Magny. Garry is ranked No. 10 in the UFC’s 170-pound division.
UFC 298: Geoff Neal vs. Ian Machado Garry betting picks
|Ian Machado Garry
Geoff Neal betting breakdown
Prior to his loss to Rakhmonov, Geoff Neal was on a two-fight winning streak, with a KO win over Vicente Luque. The 33-year-old Neal has nine career knockout wins, two submissions, and four victories by decision. He has been knocked out once, submitted twice, and dropped two fights on the judge’s scorecards.
Neal is a good striker who throws with higher-than-average volume and power. He also has some of the best takedown defense in the history of the UFC’s welterweight division. However, don’t consider this a grappling fight, as both men prefer to work on their feet. Neal is active with his hands, averaging 5.22 significant strikes per minute with a 50 percent significant striking percentage. As for his defensive skills, Neal could use some work on that front. He absorbs 5.60 significant strikes per minute, with a defensive striking percentage of 58 percent. Neal tends to headhunt with his striking. Against Luque, 93 percent of his landed significant strikes targeted his opponent’s head.
Another issue to watch on Neal is that he tends to be more active early in his fights, and he can sometimes fade in the third stanza.
Ian Machado Garry betting breakdown
Ian Garry is a fighter the UFC hopes will be their next big Irish star. The young and confident fighter has looked better in each of his UFC outings, but questions remain on just how high his upside is in the UFC’s 170-pound division. The Neil Magny fight answered some of those questions but also left others unanswered.
Garry feels it’s just a matter of time before he becomes a UFC champion. So far he has backed up his talk with three knockouts and three decisions in his six UFC fights. However, his confidence in his ability has led him to be a bit lax in his striking defense. Neal could be the fighter who tests the stability of Garry’s chin.
Garry is more active than Neal, landing 6.67 significant strikes per minute. His striking percentage is 56 percent. As for defense, Garry gets hit an average of 3.58 times per minute and defends 53 percent of his opponent’s attempted strikes.
One glaring concern about Garry is that he fights with his chin in the air. His defensive guard is not great. Being young (26) and unbeaten might make Garry overconfident in his ability to take a shot. Neal will look to test his foe’s chin early and often in this scrap.
Best Bets: UFC 298- Geoff Neal vs. Ian Machado Garry
This matchup was initially booked for August 2023, but Neal withdrew because of health reasons. Garry then fought Neil Magny on that card and used effective leg kicks to cruise to a decision win. The young fighter has a lot of hype behind him, but Neal has the type of power that can end a hype train.
Garry is the betting favorite, and he is four inches taller than Neal, so he could go with a kick-heavy game plan and fight at distance to pick up the win via points. However, Garry’s willingness to expose his chin is not a great proposition against a slugger like Neal.
The safe betting pick is to go with Garry to win via decision, but the value betting pick is to bet on Neal to win via knockout.
Best UFC 298 Betting Pick: Geoff Neal to beat Ian Machado Garry by knockout.
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