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Santiago Ponzinibbio of (South Florida) American Top Team is back.
At UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai on June 5, 2021, Ponzinibbio beat undefeated fighter Miguel Baeza of MMA Masters Miami in the Fight of the Night. The see-saw battle easily became a Fight of the Year contender, too.
Fans, peers, media, UFC hierarchy praised the efforts of both warriors. Ponzinibbio improved to 28-4, and Baeza is now 10-1.
It marked Ponzinibbio’s second fight after missing 2-plus years of competition because of a staph infection, which nearly cost him his career.
Upon his return, Ponzinibbio was slated to face Muslim Salikhov on January 16, 2021 at UFC on ABC, but Salikhov contracted Covid. Li Jingliang replaced him on short notice. Ponzinibbio, in his first fight in 2-plus years against this new opponent last minute, did not do well, losing via first round knockout.
Prior, Ponzinibbio won seven consecutive fights.
The “Argentine Dagger” was schedule to face Robbie Lawler on December 14, 2019 at UFC 245. However, on October 12, 2019, it was revealed that Ponzinibbio pulled out of the fight because of that staph infection.
Doctors told him his career might be over. Ponzinibbio lost his muscle mass but was not ready to quit. A fighter thru and thru, he fought the prognosis, too, and won, defying the odds. Still, it took a while to make a complete return to MMA.
After the Jingliang defeat, he longed to fight again, wanting to prove himself.
UFC offered Baeza.
Ponzinibbio accepted. He trained harder, felt stronger, and it showed in the bout.
With the hard-fought victory over Beaza, a very good fighter, Ponzinibbio recorded his eighth win in nine UFC fights, but more importantly he proved himself once again.
He is back and ready for the next challenge.
Alex Donno of https://www.fivereasonssports.com/ and https://twitter.com/CalcioConPod and I interview Ponzinibbio about his epic UFC Fight of the Night win, his return, his staph infection, Copa America soccer and more.
Ponzinibbio, 34, is originally from La Plata, Argentina. A welterweight, he is trained in kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He bettered his MMA skills after joining American Top Team in South Florida (Coconut Creek). He is also residing in South Florida.
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