Fortis MMA head coach Sayif Saud knew Geoff Neal had to not only beat Vicente Luque but had to finish him.
Neal and Luque met in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 59 on August 6 in a big fight for both men. Luque was coming off the decision loss to Belal Muhammad, while Neal recently returned to the win column but had a rough couple of years due to health issues which Saud believes are finally solved.
“I was really happy with that performance, I think everybody knows Geoff is really talented and had some rough couple of years,” Saud said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com about Neal. He had some serious health issues that came up and it slowed everything down and he went through a lot. For him to come back and show that form against Vicente who is one of the best welterweights in the last few years, has never been finished, it was big for Geoff. I’m happy the world got to see him shine and see the Geoff Neal we all know.”
Entering the fight, many expected it to be a high-level striking match which is exactly what took place. However, in the lead-up to the scrap, Sayif Saud knew Geoff Neal not only had to beat Vicente Luque but had to finish him if he was going to make a statement and get a top-ranked opponent, which is what he did.
“That was our plan, I told Geoff, ‘Geoff, we have to finish him.’ Mad credit to Belal, I love Belal, but Belal just beat him and no one gives Belal the love he deserves or the respect he deserves no matter what he does,” Saud said about Neal’s win over Luque. “He’s that guy and I get it people want to see knockouts and all that, and I know beating Vicente by decision, people would say he’s nothing or he’s done, and fans are quick to write people off… No one has ever knocked him out and no one has finished him and no one has ever outstruck him that way other than ‘Wonderboy’ so I knew if Geoff could finish him it would make a big statement.”
With Neal getting the third-round KO win against Luque, he called out Gilbert Burns which Saud believes is a fight that makes sense and hopes happens next.
“He’s already beat Belal, them fighting doesn’t make any sense. Gilbert, they hadn’t fought and Gilbert fought for the belt and knocked down Usman,” Saud said about Neal-Burns. “He’s tough as hell and Gilbert had that close fight with Khamzat. Gilbert is a top-three guy, Colby will do something else and he’s a very smart guy. These guys don’t want to fight these younger guys with no name or nobody knows. Geoff has somewhat of a name but he’s not as famous as Colby or any of these guys, Colby won’t fight him, Masvidal. I get it. That being said, Gilbert makes sense, he’s a very tough opponent and I think Geoff could beat him and I think Geoff could finish the same way he did to Vicente. He’s also a tough out so careful what you wish for.”
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