Thanks to some excellent matchmaking by Sean Shelby, the UFC fans have been gifted with an explosive prelim fight for UFC 228. In what looks to be predominantly a striking match, welterweight fighters Geoff Neal and Frank Camacho lock horns.
Fighting out of Fortis MMA, a team with a lot of momentum at the moment, Geoff Neal will have the Dallas crowd behind him. An athletic southpaw striker, Neal is known for his blistering hand speed and clean straight punches. He has good slips and knows how to keep opponents at the end of his strikes. Blessed with natural power, many of his victories come by way of first or second round knockout. In order to book his ticket to the UFC, Neal annihilated his Contender Series opponent, Chase Walden, in the early stages of the fight. In his debut for the big promotion, he outclassed Brian Camozzi on the feet before choking him out.
While Neal likes to strike, he has a wrestling base and may look to take Camacho down if things get dicey on the feet. Like many fighters that are used to finishing opponents early, it’s hard to know how Neal’s cardio will hold up over fifteen minutes. In his regional footage against Kevin Holland, now a UFC middleweight, Neal was getting the better of the exchanges until he started slowing down towards the end of round two. By round three, he was visibly tired and lost by TKO.
Hopefully Neal is preparing for a war, because his opponent, Frank Camacho, is unbelievably durable.
Primarily known as a striker, Frank Camacho is rarely in a boring fight. He throws powerful hooks, rips the body effectively and also fires a dangerous knee at close range. Unlike his opponent, Camacho relies on his chin for defense and doesn’t mind throwing caution to the wind. This reckless style makes his fights entertaining, but there may be a limit to how far you can ascend the rankings with this approach. Given his energy intensive, brawling style, it’s no wonder that he struggles to pace himself for 15 minutes. To his credit, he’s usually able to push through exhaustion and keep throwing – no matter how tired he is.
Camacho has an extensive judo background and pulled off some excellent trip takedowns in the clinch against Drew Dober. In this bout, I suspect the grappling will be a wash and both combatants are forced to exchange on the feet.
Ultimately, this match-up looks like a clean striker against a technical brawler. It’s possible Camacho is a live underdog, but his lack of defense and gas tank are big concerns. Geoff Neal will have a 3 inch reach advantage and controls distance well. Unless his cardio fails him spectacularly, I believe Neal has enough advantages to warrant his position as a moderate favorite. Given his opponent’s granite chin, Neal by decision looks like a good value bet at +240.
Pick: Geoff Neal -170
Check out my other UFC 228 betting predictions.