On the main card of UFC 287, we saw a fun battle between welterweight contenders. The popular “Trailblazer” Kevin Holland (23-9, 1 NC) was back as he had a tough challenge in taking on Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-6).
Holland entered the octagon trying to snap a two-fight losing streak. After two straight finishes to start his UFC welterweight run, he lost back-to-back fights against Khamzat Chimaev and Stephen Thompson. He was looking to right the ship against Ponzinibbio tonight.
Santiago Ponzinibbio looked like he was potentially going to be the UFC’s first champion from Argentina a few years ago. However, injuries derailed his career and he hasn’t been able to get it really going since returning. He defeated Alex Morono in his last fight, but even with that win, he’s just 2-3 in his last five.
UFC 287 Recap
The UFC 287 welterweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Long jab from Holland starts things out. Low kick now from Holland. Side kick to the body from Holland and now a low kick. Ponzinibbio trying to find his way on the inside and eats a check left hook.
Another left hook from Holland who is really bothering Ponzinibbio with the range in the opening minute. Low kick from Ponzinibbio. Lots of low kicks from Holland and Ponzinibbio answers. Another calf kick from Ponzinibbio. Stance switch from Holland and he lands a jab.
Stiff jab from Holland but he eats another calf kick. Ponzinibbio upping the pressure here halfway through the round. Head kick attempt from Holland is blocked. Body kick from Ponzinibbio. Ponzinibbio works his way in but he’s out of range with his punches. Front kick from Holland and a big low kick.
Now Holland is really throwing a lot of kicks. Good volume here from Holland. Ponzinibbio tries for a big right hand and Holland just gets out of the way. Lots of heat from Ponzinibbio but nothing big is landing. Another big throw from Ponzinibbio but Holland’s defense is sharp.
Jab from Holland and he throws a kick that’s caught. However, Holland drops Ponzinibbio on one leg and the round comes to an end. Huge moment to seal the round for Kevin Holland.
Entering the second at UFC 287 at Ponzinibbio was really hurt in between rounds. He seems okay now as we start the second round. Ponzinibbio holding the center here but he eats a left. Long jab from Holland lands. Left hook now from Holland. Holland working a lot of feints in the opening minute.
Low kick from Holland and a body kick from Ponzinibbio. Right hand from Holland inside. Huge calf kick from Ponzinibbio slows the pressure from Holland. Lead uppercut from Holland. Head kick now from Holland. Both men throw left hooks in the center.
Jab from Holland and another calf kick from Ponzinibbio. Big combination from Ponzinibbio and another kick lands. Holland is trying to cut off the cage but he’s having trouble pulling the trigger right now. Another calf kick from Ponzinibbio forces a combination from Holland.
Ponzinibbio throws a nice combination. Long jab from Holland and he doubles up on it. Calf kick from Ponzinibbio. Body kick from Holland. Right hand from Holland might’ve hurt Ponzinibbio and Ponzinibbio forces a clinch. Holland breaks away and goes back on the pressure.
Ponzinibbio seems okay here with 20 seconds left. Big elbow from Holland in tight. Round comes to a close and it was competitive but I think Holland is up here at UFC 287.
Entering the final round and Ponzinibbio might need a finish here at UFC 287. They touch gloves and here we go. Jab from Holland and he doubles it up. Lots of pressure here from Ponzinibbio. Two hard calf kicks land for Ponzinibbio and Holland might’ve buckled there.
Big left hook from Ponzinibbio and a vicious calf kick from Ponzinibbio. Right straight from Holland but Ponzinibbio has the advantage here in the third. Holland tries to throw but the defense of Ponzinibbio is looking good. Another calf kick from Ponzinibbio.
Halfway through the round and Ponzinibbio lands a clean left. Brutal calf kick from Ponzinibbio and he’s taking over here in the third round. Another calf kick. Holland wings a left and it misses wildly. Left hook from Ponzinibbio lands. Huge left hook out of now where from Holland and Ponzinibbio goes down face first. The referee jumps in and Holland gets the TKO win out of no where.
Kevin Holland def. Santiago Ponzinibbio by TKO – Round 3