The wait was long, but the fight came. Santiago Ponzinibbio had his return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the largest mixed martial arts company, after two years of inactivity. The Argentine is well loved by the Latin American community and the sports-loving public looked forward to seeing him again in action against the best on the planet. This Saturday, Rasta was the protagonist in the main billboard of the UFC Fight Island where he lost by technical knockout to Li Jingliang.
After 26 months gone, it was time to return to exchange blows for the platense. The initial round started very measured from both sides: several low kicks that little by little were transformed into more dangerous combinations. There was a lot of respect between the protagonists, but when there was a minute left for the closing of the chapter, the Chinese attacked for the first time and hit a jab from left to the face of the From Argentina who left it on the floor of the octagon. The judge of the fight did not hesitate and gave the victory by technical knockout to the native of Xinjiang.
It is worth remembering that Ponzinibbio had the date of his last fight November 2018 with a great victory against Neil Magny in Buenos Aires. He was the first Argentine in history to be part of a main card in UFC Night Fight: it was with a points loss against the North American Ryan LaFlare at an evening held on November 9, 2013 in Florida.
When he was in full swing within the company, Santiago ran into various health problems who left him outside the cage: it all started with a leg infection who kept him for several months between medical consultations and extreme worry, but once he recovered he fractured a toe during a workout. When everything seemed over contracted coronavirus and he spent four weeks recovering.
His rival Li Jingliang, He was not going to be the Argentine’s rival at first: he had to fight Muslim Salikhov within the framework of the UFC Fight Island 7 but due to symptoms of coronavirus he was removed from the card and Ponzinibbio was assigned to the Asian. Both are off the top welterweight rankings and Rasta he will have to recover from the defeat in order to claim the world title. It should be noted that in this division the nigeriano Kamaru Usman (beat Jorge Masvidal in July of last year) is the owner of the title and his top ranked contender is Colby Covington.
Nicknamed by the UFC as the From Argentina, Ponzinibbio he resumed his career at 34 with a record of 28 wins (14 by KO and 6 by submission) and 4 losses (counting the recent against the Chinese). His rival was born in Xinjiang 32 years ago and entered this fight with a stat of 17 wins (8KO and 4 submissions) and 6 fights lost. The last presentation of the Asian had developed in March 2020 with a fall to the norteamericano Neil Magny by unanimous decision.
In addition, the Argentine took advantage of the weigh-in prior to the fight to pay tribute to Diego Armando Maradona. With a banner that had a picture of the Ten with the World Cup in his hands and the word ‘Forever’. He held it up to the cameramen with the help of his opponent to make the message as clear as possible.