Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has tapped Jingliang Li to replace the ailing Muslim Salikhov against Santiago Ponzinibbio for the upcoming “Fight Night” event on Jan. 16, which is expected to take place on ESPN+ in Abu Dhabi.
That’s according to MMA Fighting.
Ponzinibbio (27-3) has not competed for over two years, thanks to a variety of injuries and professional setbacks. “Gente Boa” was last seen beating the brakes off Neil Magny at UFC Fight Night 140, a performance that vaulted him to No. 7 in the official rankings.
As for Li (17-6), his last fight also came against Magny, a unanimous decision defeat at UFC 248 last March. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for the welterweight “Leech,” who was unable to crack the 170-pound rankings despite winning seven of his last nine.
The Jan. 16 event will mark the promotion’s first card of 2021 (see it here) and is expected to be headlined by the featherweight showdown between Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar. Elsewhere in the lineup, Omari Akhmedov battles Tom Breese at 185 pounds.