Longtime UFC welterweight veteran Li Jingliang probably thought he was making a good decision by stepping in to face Santiago Ponzinibbio on short notice, part of the UFC Fight Island 7 event this Sat. night (Jan. 16) on ESPN+ and ABC from Abu Dhabi.
It may turn out to be the worst decision of his life.
“There were a lot of feelings but thank God it’s over, and now someone has to pay for all that,” Ponzinibbio told MMA Fighting. “I’m sorry this guy accepted the fight because that was the worst decision he’s ever made in his career. I’ll make him feel pain until he can’t take it anymore and I knock him out. I’ll come back with everything I got in the first card of the year so I have good rhythm and can fight for the world title, which I know I will win. I deserve it, and I will give it to my people of Argentina and all Latin America.”
Why so serious?
Ponzinibbio, now 34, lost two years of his fighting prime under a landslide of injuries and medical maladies, including a broken toe, COVID-19, and a bone infection that nearly killed him. During his absence, “Gente Boa” lost his place in the division rankings along with his spot in the 170-pound title hunt.
It’s hard to say where a victory over Jingliang puts the 27-3 Ponzinibbio because “The Leech” is unranked. That said, the Argentinian was ranked No. 7 before losing his spot and already holds a win over the No. 9-ranked Neil Magny.
We’ll find out in just a few days.