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Report: Santiago Ponzinibbio forced out of Robbie Lawler fight at UFC 245 due to staph infection

UFC Fight Night: Magny v Ponzinibbio Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The upcoming welterweight clash between former UFC champion Robbie Lawler and streaking contender Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC 245 on Dec. 14 live on ESPN+ PPV from Las Vegas, Nevada, has been scrapped, per a report by MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn.

Ponzinibbio is reportedly dealing with a staph infection and fill be unable to compete. UFC officials are looking for alternatives to keep Lawler on the card.

Ponzinibbio, 33, hasn’t competed since last November when he defeated Neil Magny via fourth-round knockout. The streaking welterweight contender has won his last seven Octagon appearances and was hoping to parlay a win over Lawler into a potential title shot in 2020. It now looks like “Gente Boa” will have to heal up first before he gets back inside of the cage.

Lawler, 37, is coming off a rough unanimous decision loss to current title challenger Colby Covington back in August. The former UFC welterweight champion has now lost three fights in a row and could have used a win over a red-hot contender like Ponzinibbio to get himself out of the hole. “Ruthless” will now have to wait and see who UFC finds to fill in on eight weeks notice.

Luckily for Lawler, welterweights Geoff Neal and Curtis Millender have already thrown their hats into the ring:

UFC 245 will feature three championship fights in total, including a main event clash between welterweight king Kamaru Usman and the aforementioned Covington, a co-headliner pitting featherweight titleholder Max Holloway against streaking challenger Alexander Volkanovski, and a women’s bantamweight rematch between current champion Amanda Nunes and top-flight striker Germaine de Randamie.

For more UFC 245 fight card news click here.

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