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UFC Fight Night 78 results: Neil Magny bests Kelvin Gastelum in controversial decision

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The first three rounds were clearly for Neil Magny. The last two were obviously for Kelvin Gastelum.

But there was a lot of gray area in the fourth round and that's what people will be talking about after a fun, split decision win for Magny (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 78 in Monterrey, Mexico.

Gastelum definitely dominated the fourth, dropping Magny twice and getting solid position on the ground. It could have been scored 10-8 in favor of Gastelum, which would have made the result a draw. However, no judge saw it that way and Magny walked away with the hard-fought victory.

The entire bout, though, was a surprise. Magny used his range to control the striking game in the first part of the fight and, most shocking, easily outwrestled and outgrappled Gastelum when things went to the floor. Gastelum was around a 3-to-1 favorite coming into his return to welterweight after a one-fight stint at 185 pounds.

Gastelum came out with a vengeance, though, in the fourth, clearly understanding that he needed to swing things in his direction in a big way. And he did, too, clipping Magny with a punch that dropped him early in the round. Gastelum attempted to finish on the ground, but was never really close. When Magny got up minutes after, Gastelum dropped him again.

It was obviously a dominant round, but Magny still had his druthers and even got in some offense of his own as the round closed. There is a significant lack of understanding of what makes a round a 10-8 in MMA and this will only further it.

Either way, Magny (17-4) picked up the biggest win of his career. He has won two straight and nine of his last 10. After a tough loss to Demian Maia at UFC 190 in August, Magny has clearly made improvements to his grappling and he's certainly one of the top 15 welterweights in the world.

Gastelum (11-2) was thought to be that -- before weight-cutting issues forced him up to middleweight and even after. New nutritionist George Lockhard had Gastelum looking to be in fantastic shape, but that didn't necessarily translate into his best performance. Magny seemed to have a major strength advantage n the ground, which was surprising. Gastelum, still just 24, has lost two of three.

Diego Sanchez was as tough as ever; Ricardo Lamas was just better.

In the co-main event, Lamas beat Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in dominant fashion to cement himself as one of the top featherweight fighters in the world. Lamas completely took over in the second round when a leg kick he landed buckled Sanchez's left leg. "The Dream" was not the same after that and Lamas teed off the rest of the way. A limping Sanchez has to be helped out of the cage by his longtime coach, Greg Jackson.

Lamas (16-4) had now won three of his last four fights. His only losses since 2010 have been to Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes -- the half-Mexican, half-Cuban fighter has beaten everyone else. Sanchez (25-8), legendary for his toughness and chin, was bloodied up and battered by the end. The 33-year-old Ultimate Fighter 1 alum was making his featherweight debut. He has lost three of five and four of six.

It wasn't the most impressive victory, but Henry Cejudo put himself firmly in line for a title shot with a split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27) win over Jussier Formiga. Cejudo landed a big right hand in the first round, worked Formiga over in the clinch throughout and hit a huge slam in the third. Formiga kept it close, but Cejudo was always in control.

Afterward, Cejudo (10-0), the former Olympic wrestling gold medalist, called for a title shot against Demetrious Johnson, someone he said he can showcase his full arsenal of MMA weapons. The Mexican American fighter has won all four of his UFC fights. Formiga (18-4), a Nova Uniao product, won three in a row coming in and was closing in on a title shot himself.

The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 winners were also crowded Saturday night. Enrique Barzola beat Horacio Gutierrez in a unanimous decision upset (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) to win the TUF Latin America lightweight crown and six-figure contract. Barzola is the first Peruvian TUF champion in UFC history Erick Montano beat Enrique Marin in the welterweight TUF Latin America 2 final.

Leandro Silva spoiled Efrain Escudero's return to Mexico with a solid, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Escudero came back to tight it in the second after a very lackluster first round, but Silva did more in the third. Escudero seemed to think he won, but the judges felt differently.

Silva (19-2-1, 1 NC) is unbeaten in his last four fights. Escudero (24-10) had won two in a row coming in.

On the prelims, Erik Perez won one for his Mexican fans, besting Taylor Lapilus via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). After a strong finish in the third, Perez stayed on his knees and broke down in tears. This was the UFC's first event in Monterrey and he wanted nothing more than to experience a victory in his hometown.

Perez (15-6) has now won two of his last thee fights. Lapilus (10-2) had won five in a row coming in and it was the 23-year-old's first loss in the UFC.

Also on the prelims, Bartosz Fabinski beat Hector Urbina by unanimous decision, Alejandro Perez beat Scott Jorgensen via TKO (injury) and Andre Fili defeated Gabriel Benitez by TKO. Michel Prazeres defeated Valmir Lazaro by split decision in the opener.