On the main card of UFC 269, we saw a showdown in the welterweight division. Two top contenders faced off as Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio (28-4) took on Geoff Neal (13-4).
Both of these men find themselves in a similar spot at UFC 269. At one point, both looked like they were on the path to becoming UFC champion. However, they’ve both been derailed.
Ponzinibbio has been hindered by injuries and a knockout loss to Li Jingliang. However, he did bounce back earlier this year with a win over Miguel Baeza.
Geoff Neal on the other hand has lost his last two UFC fights. Prior to those two losses, he had won five straight which included wins over Belal Muhammad and Niko Price.
Both men were looking to make a statement and show why they are still top contenders.
UFC 269 Recap
The UFC 269 welterweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Ponzinibbio immediately takes the center and he’s looking to pressure Neal. Neal circles on the outside as he tries to gauge the range.
Neal comes forward with double jab but both fall short. Two powerful leg kicks land for Neal. Neal looks for a head kick that just misses. Nice 1-2 down the middle from Ponzinibbio. Left straight lands for Neal.
Nice low kick lands for Ponzinibbio and Neal counters with a high kick. Lots of pressure here from Neal and he lands a combination. Nice jab lands from Ponzinibbio. Two shots land from Ponzinibbio but Neal counters with his own combination.
Two good lead right hooks for Neal and Ponzinibbio is cut. Lots of pressure for Neal and he lands another good combination. Ponzinibbio tries to fire back but Neal is not there to be found. More pressure from Ponzinibbio and he’s trying to make this a brawl.
However, Neal circles on the outside. Lots of forward pressure from Ponzinibbio and he lands a couple of solid kicks. The round comes to a close and it was a close one but I lean Neal at UFC 269.
Ponzinibbio was really finding his rhythm at the end of the first at UFC 269 so it’ll be interesting to watch him here in the second. Ponzinibbio immediately goes back to the pressure to start the second. Nice lead left hook lands for Ponzinibbio.
Low kick from Ponzinibbio. Neal tries to slip and counter but just misses. Both men step in and trade big shots. Ponzinibbio throws a big leg kick but Neal checks it perfectly and that might’ve hurt Ponzinibbio. However, Ponzinibbio resets and he looks okay.
Nice lead left for Neal. Body kick lands for Geoff Neal and he throws a left behind it. Out of no where, Ponzinibbio tries for a takedown. However, Neal defends well and keeps the fight standing. Neal starting to move forward a little ore.
Straight left from Neal and Ponzinibbio lands one of his own. Nice combination from Ponzinibbio backs Neal up against the fence. Neal circles out and he lands a nice right straight. Both men step forward and land good shots.
Back to back 1-2’s for Ponzinibbio. Neal lands a nice shot and Ponzinibbio complains of an eye poke. However, the ref says it’s clean. The round comes to a close and Ponzinibbio looked better in the second. Might be 1-1 after two at UFC 269.
Entering the final round at UFC 269 and whoever wins this round will likely win the fight. Ponzinibbio takes the center to start the final round. Neal continues to circle on the outside. Nice shot from Ponzinibbio and Neal lands a counter left.
Check right hook from Neal and Ponzinibbio goes down briefly. Neal rushes and lands another good shot. However, Ponzinibbio recovers well and he circles out. Low kick lands for Ponzinibbio. Double jabs from Ponzinibbio who is starting to collect points here.
Good combination from Ponzinibbio who has now retaken momentum. However, Neal starts moving forward. Another good check right hook from Neal. Ponzinibbio lands a stiff shot right down the middle.
Both men are looking tired here in the final frame. Pressure from Ponzinibbio and he lands a stiff right hand. Neal counters but Ponzinibbio then lands a good combination. Another combination from Ponzinibbio.
Solid left from Neal but he eats a big kick from Ponzinibbio for his troubles. Ponzinibbio pulling away here in the final round. Big shots from Ponzinibbio. However, Neal takes momentum back a little with a few big shots of his own.
Huge combination from Neal lands and Ponzinibbio looks a little wobbled. Another big combination from Neal. Neal has Ponzinibbio hurt here in the final frame. Ponzinibbio still throwing but Neal lands. Close final round and honestly either could win at UFC 269.
Geoff Neal def. Santiago Ponzinibbio by Split Decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)