This past weekend at UFC Fight Island 7, the MMA world was excited for the return of Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-4). Ponzinibbio was one of the top welterweight prospects in the promotion when the calendar closed in 2018.
However, injuries have kept Ponzinibbio out of the UFC since then. The promotion put him on this card and gave him Li Jingliang (18-6) in his return. The last we saw of Ponzinibbio, he was incredibly sharp and did well with counterstriking.
Li is the type of opponent who is going to be in your face from the moment the fight starts. With the styles of the two, I figured it was a great matchup for Ponzinibbio to return to and I expected him to pickup the win.
However, I was dead wrong. From the opening bell, Ponzinibbio was incredibly tentative. Li on the other hand was fighting as he normally does. Aggressively moving forward and looking for hooks to start his combinations or counter Ponzinibbio.
During one of the exchanges, Ponzinibbio overextended and Li put his lights out with a flush left hook. The UFC crowd was stunned and Li pulled off a massive win for him. Tough night for the returning Ponzinibbio but a sensational night for The Leech.
What’s next after UFC Fight Island 7?
Normally after a UFC event, you look at the winners and there are a number of options for their next fight. However, this is not the case with Li. To me, there is one clear option that I think the promotion should go with.
I think the next fight for Li Jingliang should be a matchup with Geoff Neal (13-3). Neal just suffered his first loss inside the octagon, but he’s still ranked inside the top 15 at welterweight. He’s currently ranked 11th in the division.
The new UFC rankings just came out and Li is currently ranked 12th. Given their styles and their positions within the division, it makes all the sense in the world to book these guys against each other. Not too mention it would be an insanely fun matchup for the fans.