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Breaking down Santiago Ponzinibbio’s violent showcase win at UFC Argentina

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight scrappers Santiago Ponzinibbio and Neil Magny went into battle last night (Nov. 17, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 140 from inside Parque Roca Arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Ponzinibbio entered last night’s bout with a six-fight win streak behind him, a series of victories that carried him from action fighter to contender, preliminary fighter to main event star in his home country. “Gente Boa” was getting very close to the title mix and likely only needed a couple more wins to earn his shot.

Magny’s career has shown something of a pattern: win a bunch of fights and climb through the ranks only to falter in an important fight against a top five foe. Ponzinibbio wasn’t a top five athlete (yet) but this was a high-profile match up for Magny — one he could not afford to lose.

Ponzinibbio pressured hard to open the fight, backing his foe into the fence and throwing hard combinations. Magny stayed tight defensively, looking to flick a jab back to keep Ponzinibbio off him. In truth, Magny did a solid job of defending most of the power shots, but Ponzinibbio did land a few hard low kicks.

Magny managed to get his back off the fence with a couple minutes reamining, but it didn’t take long for “Gente Boa” to place him back there. The Argentinian did some nice work on the counter with his right hand, ducking and firing when Magny tried to jab.

Ponzinibbio finished a dominant round with a big flurry of hard shots.

Magny opened the second round with some aggression of his own, but a hard low kick from the Argentinian knocked him to the mat twice. The entire round continued in similar fashion to the first, as Ponzinibbio’s aggression and power forced Magny into the fence and out of his comfort zone. In addition, the damage to Magny’s lead leg was building quickly, as the lanky fighter looked increasingly unstable in his own stance. The only other story of note from the round came from a bad cut on the eyebrow of Ponzinibbio, caused by an incidental clash of heads.

Heading into the third round, Magny needed a miracle.

Once more, Magny opened the round with a lot of offense — and it served him far better than passively covering up along the fence! On the whole, it was a much better round from Magny technically, but the problem remained that his lead leg was largely destroyed. As such, any time Ponzinibbio did land a low kick, Magny was forced to hop around until the feeling returned from his foot.

It’s difficult to win a round — let alone a fight — like that.

The fourth round was one of the most brutal I’ve seen in combat sports. Magny fell to the floor in agony from leg kicks multiple times. Herb Dean nearly called the fight, but he gave Magny a chance to fight back instead. The result? A crushing right hand from “Gente Boa” sent Magny to sleep.

Santiago Ponzinibbio is proof that a high-level of athleticism and striking fundamentals are still all that’s required to be a world-class fighter. He did nothing overly complex against Magny: jab him into the fence, fire power shots when his stance squared, and kick when Magny covered up or exposed his leg while jabbing. With Ponzinibbio’s power, consistently landed strikes add up quickly, as we saw as Magny’s leg and confidence deteriorated just a few minutes into the fight.

Absolutely violent work from Ponzinibbio, which gave his home country the showcase win they desired and also sets the Argentinian up for a title eliminator next.

As for Magny, he faced a stylistic challenge here. He had to jab to keep Ponzinibbio off him, but jabbing exposed his lead leg to kicks. At the same time, Magny also made his own life more difficult by fighting so passively in the first round. Ponzinibbio is a dangerous puncher and brutal man to fight, so it’s understandable why Magny backed off early on, but it severely hurt his chances.

He allowed himself to be bullied by Ponzinibbio, and once his foe settled into his groove, there was no way to recover.

Last night, Santiago Ponzinibbio scored a vicious knockout win in the main event. Who should Ponzinibbio face next?

For complete UFC Fight Night 140 ‘Ponzinibbio vs. Magny’ results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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