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Garry beats Neal by split decision, moves to 7-0 in UFC

Cooper Neill / UFC / Getty

It wasn't the prettiest performance, but Ian Machado Garry emerged as a top welterweight contender with a victory over Geoff Neal.

Garry, a highly touted up-and-comer at 170 pounds, defeated the No. 8-ranked Neal via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27) at UFC 298 on Saturday night at Honda Center in Anaheim.

The Irishman improved his undefeated pro record to 14-0 and now sits at 7-0 in the Octagon. Afterward, he called out former interim 170-pound champion Colby Covington.

"I want to retire you from the UFC, Colby," Garry said in his postfight interview.

The fight between Garry and Neal was fairly underwhelming, and all three rounds were very close. Garry seemed to separate himself from Neal - at least in two of the judges' eyes - by landing solid kicks to the head and body throughout the bout.

Garry and Neal were initially scheduled to fight at UFC 292 last August, but Neal withdrew due to a health issue.

Garry entered Saturday's matchup off a dominant win over Neil Magny. This was the 26-year-old's second win over a ranked opponent in the UFC. Garry was No. 10 in the division coming in.

Neal is now riding a two-fight skid after suffering a submission defeat to Shavkat Rakhmonov in a Fight of the Year candidate last March.

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