Handz of Steel earns TKO in second round of UFC 240
By TJ MAXWELL
Edmonton Alberta, Canada - Geoff “Handz of Steel” Neal continues to impress as he rises up the UFC ranks, including Saturday night’s TKO win over Niko “The Hybrid “Price during UFC 240 in Edmonton Alberta, Canada Saturday night.
“It was a wild one,” Neal said in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. “I really kind of expected that fighting Niko. He’s hard to hit without him hitting you back so I said let’s throw some punches.”
The 2008 Copperas Cove graduate got stunned a couple times by the unorthodox Price, but the wild exchanges resulted in Neal ground and pounding his way to a TKO at the 2:39 mark in the second round.
“I saw that (his arms were going limp),” said Neal. “I knew he was a couple more shots from being knocked all the way out, but the ref stopped it before it got to that point.”
Neal scored his first UFC takedown about 1:20 into the first round due to a late strategy change by his coach.
“The crazy thing about it, my coach actually called an audible on the way to the fight,” Neal said in his post-fight press conference. He said, ‘it might get ugly so you may have to take him down and do some ground and pound. That’s what we did and pulled out the win.”
The original game plan was to stay at distance and strike, but scouting Price’s last fight with Tim Means opened another strategy.
“My coach said, nobody has ever seen your wrestling and you have good wrestling so you might have to take him down and ground and pound him,” said Neal. My coach saw his fight with Tim Means and Tim Means actually took him down, got him tired and made him slower. That’s exactly what happened when I took him down.”
It got scary for Neal around the 1:20 mark in the first round when Price landed a pair of head kicks and a wild flurry that ended in the clashing of heads sent both fighters to the mat with Neal appearing stunned.
“I hit him with my left hand and made his head collide with mine and it dropped us both,” said Neal.
Price mounted him, but Neal got back to his feet with a bout 40 seconds left where he scored his second takedown of the night and finished the round with some ground and pound.
I think he dropped me twice,” said Neal. “But, I was able to get my wits together and get the fight where I wanted it.”
Another wild scramble got both fighters back to the canvas where Neal got the mount before a flurry of punches forced referee Dan Miragliotta to step in at the 2:39 mark.
The big win will likely land Neal in the Welterweight Top 15 when the rankings are released this week.
The win also earned Neal his first $50,000 bonus of his UFC career for Performance of the Night.
“I’m so happy,” said Neal. “I’ve been trying to get the $50,000 bonus every fight since I got in the UFC and I finally pulled one off.”
The win will also likely get Neal a shot at someone in the Top 15.
“I think honestly it proves I’m ready for a Top 15 opponent,” said Neal. I don’t care who, just somebody.”
When pressed about who he would enjoy fighting, Neal had just one name.
“Maybe Colby Covington but that’s about it,” said Neal. “Everybody already knows he’s not a likeable person.”
Neal landed 53 total strikes of 73 thrown (73 percent) to Price’s 42 of 79 (53 percent). Neal also had the advantage in significant strikes with 41 of 61 (67 percent) to Price’s 24 of 57 (42 percent. Neal landed 27 significant strikes to Price’s four in the ground and pound position.