Argentinian welterweight Santiago Ponzinibbio expects to be featured at the upcoming UFC Fight Night 140 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which tales place Sat., Nov. 17, 2018 inside Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“Gente Boa” is hoping to make a statement in that fight in order to secure the next crack at the 170-pound crown, but he might need the right opponent to seal the deal, which explains his recent callout of top contender Rafael dos Anjos.
“I can’t leave a young kid with my wife alone here,” Dos Anjos told MMA Junkie. “She’s going to get a C-section, so she’s going to need help. I’m the man. I need to be here supporting my wife and my family. That’s my job, and I’m not going to leave my family to fight in another country and fight far away from home.”
Dos Anjos and his wife will welcome their third child in September and since paternity leave is nothing new ‘round these parts, it’s not unreasonable to keep the former lightweight champion stateside for the remainder of 2018.
“I’m not afraid,” he continued. “I told him to come to my gym – we’ll fight here. We’ll fight in Las Vegas. I’m not afraid of that guy. I just don’t want to take an 18-hour flight. Even in Brazil – I don’t want to fight in Brazil. It’s too far. I don’t want to take a 15- or 16-hour flight to leave my family for that long. I want to fight in the U.S., that’s what I said.”
After a 2-2 start to his UFC career, Ponzinibbio (26-3) put together six straight wins at welterweight, including last December’s unanimous decision win over fan-favorite Mike Perry. That followed his knockout win over Gunnar Nelson in summer 2017.
Dos Anjos (28-10), meanwhile, used his victory over ex-champion Robbie Lawler to catapult himself into an interim title fight opposite Colby Covington. “Chaos” would wrestle his way to a win on the scorecards, dropping the Brazilian to No. 3 in the official rankings.
It should be noted that Dos Anjos has competed in the United States just once over the span of his last five bouts, and that was his UFC 225 defeat to Covington, so he may have earned another spot on American soil.