UFC books return of Santiago Ponzinibbio against Li Jingliang

May 14, 2016; Curitiba, PR, Brazil; A view of the octagon ring before UFC 198 at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC is finalizing a big time matchup in their welterweight division. MMA Fighting was first to report that the promotion is finalizing a welterweight contest between Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-3) and Li Jingliang (17-6).

The fight is expected to take place on the first event of 2021 on Fight Island. That UFC card is being headlined by the featherweight showdown between Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar.

The welterweight contest will be the first UFC fight in over two years for Ponzinibbio. Starting in 2015, Ponzinibbio started a run where he looked like he was going to be a serious problem in the UFC‘s welterweight division.

Entering the fight on Fight Island, Ponzinibbio will be carrying in a seven-fight winning streak. In his last fight which took place in 2018, Ponzinibbio knocked out Neil Magny in an incredibly impressive performance.

Injuries and other health issues have kept the Argentinian outside of the octagon for the last couple of years. However, if Ponzinibbio shows that he’s back to his original form on January 16th, the welterweight division has another exciting contender.

UFC Welterweight Matchup

However, getting a victory in his UFC return will not be easy. Ponzinibbio will be taking on the Chinese contender, Li Jingliang. Jingliang fights out of China Top Team and he’s 7-2 in his last nine fights inside the octagon.

We last saw Jingliang back in March when he took on Neil Magny. Both of these welterweight contenders share a final opponent in Magny. However, Jingliang wasn’t nearly as successful as Ponzinibbio was against Magny.

Over the course of three rounds, Magny was able to get the unanimous decision win over Jingliang. This loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for Jingliang inside the UFC. The Leech is getting a good opportunity welcoming Ponzinibbio back into the UFC.

Whoever wins this matchup on January 16th should jump into the rankings in the welterweight division. I’m very excited and curious to see how Ponzinibbio looks after over two years off from competition.