A new welterweight contender has officially emerged in Argentina’s own Santiago Ponzinibbio.
In front of a home audience on Saturday night in Buenos Aires, Ponzinibbio absolutely battered Neil Mangy for three plus rounds before finishing the fight with a jaw-dropping face plant knockout in the main event
While the fight took place at nearly 3 a.m. local time, the Argentinean audience was alive and well to root on Ponzinibbio in arguably his most complete performance in the UFC.
Ponzinibbio set the pace early by establishing his lead jab that was constantly popping Magny in the eye and giving him some vision problems during those exchanges. Magny continued to move and circle away from Ponzinibbio’s power hand but he just couldn’t seem to get his offense going.
Ponzinibbio remained in control throughout the opening round, mixing in some stinging leg kicks and then ending the five minute session with a flurry of power punches against the cage.
Magny was able to get a faster start in the second round as he quickly took the center of the Octagon at the urging of his corner. Unfortunately it was short lived success with Ponzinibbio absolutely punishing his lead leg with a series of brutal kicks.
From there it was all Ponzinibbio with a punishing attack with a continued assault on that lead leg while also going up high with that left jab that constantly found a home on Magny’s right eye.
The third round saw more of the same with Ponzinibbio acting as the aggressor, walking Magny down and just unloading with a huge barrage of punches and then battering that lead leg with kicks.
As time ticked away, Magny was noticeably limping on the leg that was being absolutely eaten alive by Ponzinibbio’s kicks.
Finally in the fourth round, Ponzinibbio’s assault dropped Magny to the mat several times with those same vicious leg kicks. Still, Magny was allowed to continue but the end was near after the last knock down.
Ponzinibbio once again had Magny trapped up against the cage and that’s when he uncorked a brutal overhand right that blasted the former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ contender and sent him face first into the canvas.
Referee Herb Dean rushed into stop the fight with the end coming at 2:36 into the fourth round.
Following a huge win in his home country, Ponzinibbio was quick to call his shot as he hopes to bring the UFC welterweight title back to Argentina in 2019.
“This right hand will KO everyone in the division. I’m the next world champion. 2019, the belt will come to Argentina,” Ponzinibbio shouted.
“Tyron [Woodley], I knock out you, I am the next champion.”
It’s unlikely that Ponzinibbio will get a title shot in his next fight but he’s definitely put his name into the contender’s race with this latest statement victory. He’ll likely be staring at a top five opponent when he makes his return in 2019 following his knockout win on Saturday night.