Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight scrappers Santiago Ponzinibio and Zak Cummings battled last night (Aug. 6, 2016) inside UFC Fight Night 92 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Ponzinibio has shown clear improvement throughout his UFC career, increasing his pressure and becoming a much more difficult fighter to take down. Opposite Cummings, the Argentinian was hoping to take another step toward the Top 15. Similarly, Cummings has won most of his UFC fights and continues to get better. Like his opponent, Cummings was closing in on the top of the division, but he needed a signature victory to take that final step.
Cummings opened the bout by playing the matador. Attacking his opponent with outside kicks, Cummings landed a few nice counter shots early in the bout when his foe pushed forward.
However, at about the halfway point, Ponzinibbio landed a hard right hand and stuffed a takedown attempt. Not long after, he landed a scorching high kick, though Cummings ate it. With more confidence, Ponzinibio began to throw at a higher volume.
It was a reasonably close round, but Ponzinibio’s late surge likely earned him the round.
Cummings opened the second round with some aggression, and Ponzinibbio responded in kind. Both men took lots of straight power punches, and their faces wore the damage.
The exchanges were quite close throughout the round. Each time Cummings began to find his range and land consistently, Ponzinibio would storm back and throw a higher volume of strikes.
After 10 close minutes of combat, tensions were high heading into the final frame.
Ponzinibio stepped up the pace and pressure, walking his foe down and throwing heat. Cummings, who may have been tiring a bit, was throwing far fewer counter punches, which allowed Ponzinibbio to start to take over with his quicker punches.
Additionally, Ponzinibio was able to stay in range and keep landing. He frequently started exchanges, dodged or absorbed his opponent’s punches, and landed immediately after. An opponent that can stay in the pocket and consistently get the better of exchanges is always a problem, but Cummings’ troubles were compounded by the fact that his eye was nearly swollen shut.
It was a strong finish to a great performance.
Ponzinibio did a lot of things very well in this fight. First and foremost, he was able to keep it on the feet. Without his quick sprawl and ability to angle off, he wouldn’t have been able to utilize his pressure striking.
Speaking of, Ponzinibbio’s pressure boxing was on point. He may have leaned into a few too many punches and gotten a bit sloppy at times, but that doesn’t really matter. Ponzinibbio consistently pushed forward and cut off the fence, which slowed down his opponent and allowed him to land more often as the fight wore on.
Now on a pretty solid win streak, it’s fair to say that Ponzinibbio should face a Top 15-ranked opponent. For example, a slug fest with Jake Ellenberger would be reasonable.
Cummings came in with a pretty smart game plan. Working the outside with low and body kicks, Cummings intended to capitalize on his opponent’s eagerness with sharp counter lefts and reactive takedowns.
Initially, it worked.
Unfortunately, Cummings failed to adjust once Ponzinibio found his range and began throwing a higher volume. Instead of switching it up and going on the offensive — which did lead him to some successful moments — Cummings became a bit hesitant, making it easier for Ponzinibio to unload.
In addition, Cummings probably should’ve kicked more. His opponent was doing an excellent job of slipping the left hand and getting off the center line when throwing his own left, but those traits put him in danger of eating a high kick.
Last night, Santiago Ponzinibio earned a very solid win opposite Zak Cummings. How high can the Argentinian climb in the Welterweight division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 92: "Rodriguez vs Caceres" results and play-by-play, click HERE!