Despite win 11 days prior, Geoff Neal didn't hesitate taking UFC contract-winning DWCS fight

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LAS VEGAS – What do you do if you’re at work, only eight days removed from your last MMA fight, and you get a call from your coach to fight again in three days?

If you’re Geoff Neal, you say yes. You win. And you land a pretty sweet gig in the process.

Neal (8-2), who normally competes at welterweight, was one of two fighters who earned a UFC contract after Tuesday’s Dana White’s Contender Series 3 event, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas. More impressive than taking the fight at 185 pounds on such short notice was the fact that he was able to finish Chase Waldon (11-3) the same way he dispatched Bilal Williams at LFA 16 just 11 days before: with a first-round TKO.

Neal knew that, more than a win, a career opportunity was on the line on Tuesday. So was there any hesitation to accept it?

“There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to take the fight,” Neal said. “I was at work, and my coach called me. He was like, ‘Hey, I got you a fight in the Contender Series on Tuesday.’ I left work right then and there. I told them, ‘I’m not going to be here this weekend. I’m gone.’ I didn’t care if they fired me or not.

“I was planning on coming here, getting the $10,000 and getting the UFC contract, and it happened.”

But don’t worry, everyone.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve got a job to go back to,” Neal said. “They love me there, so they’re not going to do that to me.”

Fighters who compete on the event series are not only fighting for a purse and a win on their records. After their displays, they have to sit around together and wait to see if UFC President Dana White deemed any of them worthy of a UFC contract.

Considering that a win – as impressive as it may have been – might not be enough to cut it, this can make for a somewhat nerve-wrecking experience. Neal, for one, thought he’d done enough to earn a contract. But he also thought Kyle Stewart – who knocked out Jason Jackson that night – could get it over him.

Still, he wasn’t all that fazed by the wait.

“It was like waiting to see if you’d get in trouble or not, like if your mom sends you in the corner,” Neal said. “There were no nerves in there. I was just happy that I won. It was a relief that I got all of this out of the way. Two fights within 12 days – happy about that.”

With a baby on the way, a two-fight winning streak and a UFC contract in hand, one would figure 26-year-old Neal is on cloud nine, right? Well, probably. But he might need a little extra time to fully process his emotions.

“I don’t feel anything right now,” Neal said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m actually in the UFC now. This has been my goal since I’ve started MMA, and now I’m here.”

To hear more from Neal on his career-changing win, check out the video above.

And for more on Dana White’s Contender Series 3, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Video: DWCS winner? Here's the agonizing, awkward backstage wait for your UFC-contract verdict

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – So, you’ve gone out there and won a fight at a Dana White’s Contender Series event. Now what? As it turns out, the nervousness isn’t over.

Each Tuesday during the weekly UFC Fight Pass-streamed event series, five fights take place at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas, and they feature UFC hopefuls – with both up-and-comers and vets hoping to hold on to the dream. However, not everyone is guaranteed a UFC contract, even with a victory.

On Tuesday, at Dana White’s Contender Series 3, five winners – Karl Roberson, Kyle Stewart, Geoff Neal, Alonzo Menifield and Dan Ige – gathered backstage to await their fate, and MMAjunkie was there to capture the anxiety-filled moments and eventual verdicts.

There’s quiet meditation, nervous laughter and some general chitchat as the Week 3 winners – all of whom won via stoppage – await for the arrival of UFC employee Heidi Dean, who ultimately shared the news that just two winners (Roberson and Neal) had earned UFC contracts.

Check out the sometimes-awkward backstage video footage above.

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 3, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White's Contender Series 3 results: Karl Roberson, Geoff Neal punch tickets to UFC

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Karl Roberson floored Ryan Spann in just 15 seconds to cap off a quick and frequently weird night of fights.

A series of short elbows stopped light heavyweight Spann’s (10-5) takedown in its tracks and gave Roberson (5-0) the TKO finish. The stoppage earned him a UFC contract, decided upon by UFC President Dana White following the event. A second contract went to Geoff Neal (8-2) for a first-round TKO of Chase Waldon (11-3) earlier in the night.

“I love elbows,” Roberson, a GLOROY kickboxing veteran, said afterward. “I’m dangerous everywhere.”

Dana White’s Contender Series 3 took place Tuesday at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas. The card streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.

Roberson shared a quick conversation with UFC President Dana White afterward and revealed the boss may want him to move weight classes, presumably down to middleweight. White said the same following the event, believing Roberson could fight at light heavyweight for smaller promotions, but in the UFC might be undersized for the division.

“I said wherever he needs me, that’s where I’m going to go,” Roberson said.

Jeremy Jackson hobbled; Kyle Stewart wins in another injury TKO

An apparent ankle dislocation brought Jeremy Jackson’s UFC dream to a halt and the second injury TKO of the night.

Kyle Stewart (7-0) picked up the win when Jackson’s (7-3) ankle gave out, prompting a stoppage just 21 seconds into the second round.

“Nobody wants to win that way,” a way-hyped Stewart said afterward. “I injured my shoulder before and I felt it pop back out on the first takedown. I’m a little upset how it ended. But all hats off to him. He’s a stud.”

It was Stewart’s powerful right hand that laid the groundwork for the finish. Smothered, out-grappled, and pounded for much of the opening frame, he got back to his feet and landed a right hand that dropped Jackson. As Jackson fell, his ankle folded awkwardly beneath him.

When the fight resumed in the second, the injury’s severity was revealed.

Geoff Neal gets second first-round KO in two weeks with stoppage of Chase Waldon

Maybe it was a head kick that motivated middleweight Waldon to shoot for a takedown on Neal. It was a good idea, however short lived.

After “Handz of Steel” Neal righted himself, he plastered Waldon with a flurry of punches to pick up a TKO at the 1:56 mark of the opening round.

“I come in and try to knock people out,” Neal said afterward. “That’s what people want to see.”

Just two weeks ago, Neal had done the same thing at LFA 16, leaving him primed to earn the UFC contract.

“The nerves weren’t there,” he said “I was ready to repeat what I did a couple of weeks ago.”

Alonzo Menifield (unhappily) wins an injury TKO over Daniel Jolly

Usually, fighters are pretty stoked to win in front of White. But not light heavyweight Alonzo Menifield.

“Are you (expletive) serious? Menifield said after being informed he won an injury TKO over UFC vet Daniel Jolly. “I don’t want to win like that.”

Menifield (4-0) would have to live with it, however, after a mildly contentious round with Jolly (5-3), who looked to get back into the octagon after getting cut on a two-fight skid. Jolly landed a nice overhand right that got Menifield’s attention, leaving him eager to repay the favor in the second round.

But in the 60 seconds between rounds, Jolly said he couldn’t see, an escalation of a previous complaint to the referee that an eye poke had occurred in a late-round exchange.

Menifield wasn’t sure when the alleged foul occurred and told Laura Sanko he wanted another shot to impress White – win or not.

“He caught me with a good right,” he said. “I wanted to go through a second round, so I could get him back. But I can’t, so whatever.”

Justin Gaethje training partner Dan Ige stings Luis Gomez before submitting him

Almost every time featherweight Dan Ige connected with his right hand, Luis Gomez went wobbling backward. At several points, he was a punch away from a finish.

Gomez managed to survive for two rounds. But in the third, he succumbed to another weapon: the rear-naked choke.

In a battle of proteges, Ige (8-1), a training partner of Justin Gaethje, went toe-to-toe with Gomez (4-1), a disciple of Jorge Masvidal, before sinking in the choke at 3:23 of the final round.

“I don’t want an easy fight – I want tough fights,” Ige told UFC commentator Laura Sanko afterward. “I believe I earned my contract tonight.”

Ige smashed Gomez’s nose with his power punch in the first round, but a kick gave Gomez the opportunity to slow the fight down on the mat.

Gomez repeated the strategy in the second, though his lack of work up top prompted referee Jason Herzog to stand the fight up. He was stunned again, only to get another takedown.

Ige’s fists missed in the final frame, but a slick kimura attempt allowed him to take Gomez’s back and sink the choke.

Dana White’s Contender Series 3 results:

  • Karl Roberson vs. Ryan Spann via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 0:15
  • Kyle Stewart def. Jason Jackson via TKO (injury) – Round 2, 0:21
  • Geoff Neal def. Chase Waldon via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:56
  • Alonzo Menifield def. Daniel Jolly via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 5:00
  • Dan Ige def. Luis Gomez via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 3:23

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 3, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie