This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 55, we saw a helluva fight in the welterweight division. Entertaining top contenders battled it out as Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio (28-6) took on Brazil’s Michel Pereira (28-11).
Entering UFC Vegas 55, Ponzinibbio was looking to bounce back after a split decision loss to Geoff Neal. It was a razor close fight and I would venture to say that a good amount of people who watched that fight thought Ponzinibbio won.
However, two judges gave the fight to Neal and it was a loss in the record books. That loss dropped Ponzinibbio to 1-2 since returning from a lengthy injury layoff. He had a willing dance partner on Saturday and wanted to show off that he’s still a top UFC contender.
However, throughout the first couple of rounds, Ponzinibbio wasn’t as crisp as I was expecting. He wasn’t moving forward and striking the way that he needed to and as a result, Pereira was able to pull ahead on the scorecards.
The fight was incredible, but entering the final round, I thought that Ponzinibbio needed a finish. He did a really solid job of landing the better shots and he won the final round. However, he was too far behind and lost another split decision at UFC Vegas 55.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 55?
Just a few years ago, many were looking at Ponzinibbio as a future UFC champion. He was 27-3 and he was coming off of a big knockout win over Neil Magny. The promotion moved him up the ranks and booked him against former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler.
However, injuries kept delaying his return to the octagon. His fight against Magny took place in November of 2018. He didn’t fight again until January of 2021 when he took on Li Jingliang. Starting with that fight, he’s just 1-3 inside the octagon.
Now, you could make an argument that he should’ve won his last two fights. However, that’s not the way things work. Two judges in both fights said he lost, so he’s on a two-fight losing streak and he’s 1-3 in the UFC since returning.
With that in mind, who should be next for him? Personally, I like Ponzinibbio against someone like Niko Price next. Someone outside the rankings, but someone who will push him and give him an entertaining fight.
If he wins that one, then we can look at booking him against someone in the top fifteen again.