Geoff Neal knocks out Vicente Luque in UFC Vegas 59 co-main event

The UFC Vegas 59 co-main event on Saturday featured a welterweight clash between No. 6 ranked Vicente Luque (21-8-1) and No. 13 ranked Geoff Neal (14-4).

Neal snapped a two-fight skid in his previous outing defeating Santiago Ponzinibbio by split decision at UFC 269 in December. He had the opportunity to take out an opponent solidly ranked inside the Top 10.

Luque hoped to rebound from a decision loss to No. 5 ranked Belal Muhammad in April and solidify himself as a top tier UFC welterweight. Instead, Neal picked up the biggest win over his career.

Luque pressed forward and connected with a leg kick to start the fight. Neal responded with a combination. The pace quickly escalated. During an exchange, Neal landed a right hand that staggered Luque. Luque kept his hands up and recovered.

Neal’s jab regularly found a home. With 90 seconds remaining in the opening round, Neal wobbled Luque a second time. A straight left hand sent Luque crashing to the canvas. He quickly got back to his feet only to be staggered again in the final seconds of the frame.

Luque came out in the second round utilizing kicks while Neal continues to connect with his jab. Luque pressed the action and landed several kicks to the body. Neal caught one and put Luque on his back but Luque immediately worked his way back to his feet. Both men landed elbows inside the clinch. Luque began targeting the body of Neal with punches and kicks. The second round was a much better round for Luque.

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In the final round, Neal’s left hand was on display. He landed a straight left that wobbled Luque. Neal connected with another left that made Luque retreat. Neal kept the pressure on and delivered a series of uppercuts. A straight left sent Luque down for the second time in the fight. The referee saw enough and stopped the fight.

“I’ve been looking forward to fighting Luque, or someone like Luque because the tougher the opponent, the more you’re going to get out of me,” Neal said following the win.

With a win over the No. 6 ranked Luque, Neal wants to face No. 4 ranked Gilbert Burns next.

“I’ve been looking at Gilbert Burns. I want him next,” Neal said. “I want to fight Gilbert.”