The names may not be all that familiar to you but Santiago Ponzinibbio, a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2, and Ryan LaFlare, an American brought in to oppose him, came to throw down at tonight's (Sat., Nov. 9, 2013) UFC Fight Night 32: "Belfort vs. Henderson" event in Goiania, Brazil.
LaFlare, in particular, was extremely aggressive from the outset, pressuring Ponzinibbio with a crushing grappling attack that included a takedown, top control, and various submission attempts.
Considering his rate as a finisher before signing with the UFC -- 7 for 7 -- it was no surprise to see his relentless attack.
To his credit, the Brazilian fought off all advances to survive the first round, though that's about all he was able to do.
Not much changed in the second stanza, though it was largely contested standing. LaFlare was slipping punches past his opponent's guard, testing his chin repeatedly in the opening minutes. Then, just like that, Ponzinibbio made his comeback, unleashing a flurry of punches that had the American running away from him.
He may have even hurt LaFlare enough to drop him to a knee momentarily.
He definitely hurt LaFlare enough to force a change in his game plan, as LaFlare abandoned exchanging punches in favor of another takedown and control from top position. That's how the second ended.
The final frame saw a drastic change in pace. Ponzinibbio's rush in the second may have been effective in the sense that it put LaFlare in danger for a time, but it came at a cost, namely to the Brazilian's gas tank.
Dude was tired.
LaFlare, meanwhile, snagged another takedown and let loose with some hard elbows. His pressure was really taking its toll on Ponzinibbio.
Then, LaFlare nearly finished the bout with a huge knee that put Ponzinibbio flat on his ass against the cage. A combination of fatigue and lack of killer instinct kept the Brazilian alive long enough to rally with a big shot of his own once they went back to their feet.
But, again, his gas tank was empty. Even when he had his foe hurt, he couldn't follow up with the offense necessary to finish the job. Ultimately, it cost him the fight.
The judges awarded LaFlare the decision unanimously on the following scores: 30-27, 30-27, and 30-27.
For complete UFC Fight Night 32 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.