It has been a tough road back to the Octagon for Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Since he knocked out Neil Magny in the main event of UFC Buenos Aires on November 17, 2018 Ponzinibbio has had to battle for his career and even his life. Before he was able to make his return to action this past weekend the Argentinian suffered from near fatal blood and bone infections.
In addition to those major illnesses, Ponznibbio also suffered a broken toe and a long bout with COVID-19.
When he finally got back to the Octagon, which was located on the so-called ‘Fight Island, he was met by China’s Li Jingliang. The resulting contest at UFC Fight Island 7 did not go well for ‘Gente Boa’.
In a ferocious exchange towards the end of round one, Ponznibbio whiffed on a punch and was punished with a crushing counter from Li. The punch knocked Ponznibbio out cold and ended the fight he’d been waiting over two years for.
After the loss Ponznibbio took to Instagram to share his thoughts on what transpired.
“I have no words to describe the sadness I feel. I wanted to return giving a victory, yours deserve it for so much support. I worked very hard for this event, a whole year of preparation but this sport is like that, there is a part out of control, a blow that comes in and everything ends. I want to thank all the messages and the love of always! All my life I forged it on adversity, this time it will be no different. I’m coming back stronger than ever”
Hopefully Ponznibbio doesn’t have to wait two years for his next fight. Before being stopped by Li, and the myriad of medical complications he faced, Ponznibbio was riding a seven fight winning streak that had seen him break into the top ten of the UFC welterweight division.
His win over Magny came after victories versus Mike Perry, Gunnar Nelson, Nordine Taleb and Zak Cummings.
Ponznibbio joined the UFC all the way back in 2013, via The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2. Ponznibbio cruised through that tournament with two TKOs and two unanimous decisions to set up a finale date with William Macario. However, Ponznibbio had to withdraw from the finale with a broken hand.
Since then he’s amassed a 9-3 record in the UFC (27-3 overall).