‘The Crank’ eyes big finish vs Neal


Jun 17, 2017; Singapore, Singapore; Frank Camacho (blue gloves) competes against Li Jingliang (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Singapore Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports

Frank “The Crank” Camacho will have the final bout of his four-fight deal with Ultimate Fighting Championship next month when he sees action in UFC 228 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Camacho will be pitted against Geoff “Handz of Steel” Neal on Sept. 8 (Sept. 9 on Saipan) and is aiming for a strong finish to land more fights under UFC.

“This is the last fight on my UFC four-fight contract. It is very important to have a dominant performance. I am currently 1-2 and want a win to be in good standing with the UFC. Coming off three fight of the nights, I am confident for another great performance for the UFC and the fans,” Camacho told Saipan Tribune.

The Marianas fighter had his UFC debut in June 2017 and challenged China’s Jiangliang Li in UFC Fight Night 111 in Singapore. Camacho was a last-minute replacement fighter, but was impressive in his first UFC appearance despite having less preparation and losing to Li via unanimous decision.

Then about five months after his UFC debut, Camacho won over Australia’s Damien Brown (split decision) in front of the hometown crowd in Sydney. For this third UFC fight, the 29-year-old fighter went to North Carolina early this year to square off against Omaha, Nebraska native Drew Dober in UFC on Fox 27. Camacho lost to Dober, but got the Fight of the Night title for the third straight time.

The defeat at the hands of Dober dropped Camacho’s win-loss-draw record to 21-0-6. Despite the loss, the Marianas pride still has more fights and experience than his upcoming opponent, who holds a 9-2-0 mark.

Meanwhile, the tale of the tape for the Camacho-Neal bout is out and though the former wants to capitalize on the areas where he has an advantage, he insisted on preparing for any kind of fight style Neal will throw at him.

“Training is going great. We are right on schedule with conditioning and game planning. The theme of this fight camp is to be prepared for everything. Working my striking, wrestling, and ground game together. I never know where the fight will end up,” said Camacho, who has a better TKO/KO percentage against Neal, 71-56.

If the bout will be a grappling affair, all the advantages point to Camacho who has 1.67 and 55.56 percent takedown average and takedown accuracy, respectively, against zero from Neal in both categories. The Marianas fighter also has a better percentage in takedowns defended, 80-66.67.

Neal, who has the advantage in reach (75 inches against Camacho’s 73) and height (5’11”-5’9”), is expected to go for a standup fight where he has strong chances of winning. The Texas native’s strikes has an accuracy of 51.92 percent and he knows how to defend well against them, as his past opponents’ landed punches is only at the 1.9 per minute ratio against Camacho’s 7.62. Neal’s defense against strikes is at 70 percent versus the 54.21 of the Guam-born and Saipan-raised fighter. However, Camacho’s percentage on landed strikes per minute is better than Neal, 6.56-5.7.

Regardless of how the Camacho-Neal bout will turn out, the former vows to put on a show in his fourth, and hopefully not the last, UFC fight.

“We can expect a more patient and methodical ‘Crank,’ still carrying the island fighting heart and spirit all the time. I’m excited to put everything I’ve learned in the past three UFC fights into this next one,” he said.

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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