‘The Crank’ duels ‘Handz of Steel’ in UFC 228


Frank “The Crank” Camacho, left, hits Damien Brown on the chin during the first round of their bout in the UFC Fight Night 121 in Australia last year. (UFC TV Photo)

Marianas pride Frank “The Crank” Camacho will return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship stage, as he takes on Geoff “Handz of Steel” Neal in one of the initial nine bouts slated in UFC 228.

Camacho will square off with Neal in a welterweight fight on Sept. 8 (Sept. 9 Saipan time) at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Guam-born and Saipan-raised MMA practitioner signed his fight contract yesterday to seal his date with the 27-year-old Neal.

“It’s always an amazing opportunity to showcase my skills, heart, and grit in front of the world at the world stage in the UFC, most especially to represent the Marianas and where I come from. I wake up every day counting my blessings,” Camacho told Saipan Tribune when asked about his upcoming fight.

“Geoff Neal is a boxer from what I know. I’ve seen a couple of his fights. He fights southpaw (lefty stance) and has really good striking combinations,” he added.

Neal holds a 9-2 win-loss record with five of his victories coming by way of knockouts, two via submissions, and two off decisions. The Texas native has won his last three bouts with the latest at UFC 126 in February this year against Brian Camozzi. He forced his foe to submission (rear-naked choke) at the 2:48 mark of the first round. Neal’s two other triumphs were recorded in 2017 against Chase Waldon (TKO/punches) and Bilal Williams (TKO/punches), while his last lost was versus Kevin Holland (TKO/punches in the third round) on Jan. 28, 20-17.

Camacho, on the other hand, dropped his third UFC assignment, bowing to Drew Dober (decision) in the UFC on FOX 27 in January this year in Charlotte, North Carolina. The defeat against Dober came after the 29-year-old Camacho prevailed over Damien Brown in UFC Fight Night 121 in November 2017 in Australia. Camacho holds a 1-2 record in UFC and has an overall mark of 21-6, with 15 wins via KOs. He debuted in UFC last Junes 17, 2017 and lost to China’s Lingliang Li. All his three UFC bouts were named “Fight of the Night.”

Against Neal, Camacho is expecting another tough battle.

“I’m very confident in my abilities, however, I cannot count his skills out. We are both in the UFC, there is no such thing as easy competition or an easy fight. He is also from Texas. I will be fighting another hometown hero. I ask all the people of the Marianas around the area for support to fly our flags high for UFC 228,” Camacho said.

“My approach for this fight will be slightly different. My strength and conditioning coach has made adjustments to compliment my fighting style. We are also adding more wrestling and ground fighting, too in the event the fight goes to the ground. My mistake against my last opponent, Drew Dober, was I anticipated a standup fight, however, we ended up wrestling a whole lot. Focus for this fight camp is preparedness for anything and everything,” he added.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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