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Santiago Ponzinibbio set to undergo surgery on injured hand, anticipates 2018 UFC return


Just when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight picture was starting to pick up steam following a slew of fight announcements, the division was dealt a major blow after Santiago Ponzinibbio, 31, suffered a hand injury during training.

As a result, the Argentinian was forced to pull out of his scheduled showdown against Kamaru Usman, which was all set to headline UFC Fight Night 129 on May 19 from inside Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile. Instead, he will have to undergo surgery on May 9 to get him back on track for an Octagon return in 2018.

Demian Maia agreed to step in and face “The Nigerian Nightmare” on three weeks notice in a bout that will save the UFC Chile card from being a complete disaster after a co-main event fight between Volkan Oezdemir and Mauricio Rua was pulled due to “No Time’s” legal issues.

Ponzinibbio (26-3) has won six straight fights inside the Octagon dating back to 2015 and has climbed into a top 10 spot in the middleweight division thanks to impressive victories over Mike Perry and Gunnar Nelson.

Now, the hard-hitting 170-pound juggernaut will have to go through a few months of rehab before he can get back into the thick of things in a highly-competitive welterweight division.

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