For 26 months Santiago Ponzinibbio was without a fight. From November 2018 until January this year. And then, when he finally returned, he suffered a heavy knockout defeat in the fight against Li Jingliang. Apart from the fact that his series of seven victories was interrupted and he failed to return to the official order of the welterweight challenger ladder, from where he was removed due to inactivity, his biggest disappointment was that he failed to show anything.
The first real blow ended the fight. Still, it was even worse for him that before the next fight he was written off in advance by many. Matchmaking wasn't good for him, he was awaited by Miguel Baeza, an undefeated fighter who solved his first three UFC fights with a stoppage.
A difficult exam, but also a real test of whether "Gente Boa" can do a few more fights at the previous level. When it was most important, he showed that he could. Maybe Santiago started a little slower and lost the first round, but in the other two he got up, and he had a partner ready to dance against him, so everyone could enjoy one of the best fights in 2021, with crowded action on their feet.
Ponzinibbio was able to enjoy the victory in the end, with the inevitable bonus for the fight of the evening. Emotions after the announcement of the victory were very expressed, and when he managed to gather himself, he revealed to the media what his plans are now.
"I want to come back in late August or September, we'll see what the plans are. I want to get back in the rankings so I also want a serious opponent." "Maybe, Vicente Luque, he's the guy who's doing really well.
We can afford an exciting fight. I respect him very much and our fight would be great." "Or maybe a defeated fighter from the fight of Stephen Thompson and Gilbert Burns, which will take place at UFC 264. The winner of that fight will probably go to the belt, and the loser is a good fight for me, to show everyone how I returned and how I can be a champion."
"I have no doubt that my next fight will be just as exciting, "confirmed this great Argentine. We will see if the victory over Baez will be enough to return to the ranking, where at the time of the previous victory he was in seventh place.
With eight wins in the last nine fights, he certainly deserved it, regardless of the break during which he struggled with several serious health conditions and the words of the doctor that he might have to end his career. He managed to get through it all and come back.