In a close, thrilling co-main event match at UFC Vegas 55, welterweight Santiago Ponzinibbio ended up on the losing side of a split decision against Michel Pereira. It was a widely contested decision, with plenty of fans and pundits declaring both men should have clearly got the victory. The defeat has left the ‘Argentinian Dagger’ seemingly quite frustrated after putting in so much effort.
In an interview with Combate, Ponzinibbio explained why the result affect his mood so much after the fight. Although the match showed how skilled and Santiago still is, the 35-year-old worries that each loss moves him further away from his goal of becoming UFC champion.
“I’m very frustrated. People think I won both fights,” Ponzinibbio explained, speaking of his loss not only to Pereira, but to Geoff Neal as well. “My last fight, when it was over, even Kamaru Usman, who is not my friend, posted a tweet saying I had won it. I don’t even have to talk about this one, because it’s even clearer. So it’s very frustrating, because I work so hard for this. I feel like it’s delaying my career. I know I’m good enough to be at the top. If they hadn’t robbed me of those last two wins, I’d be 10-1 in the UFC. “
“I should be fighting for the title.” Santiago said “There aren’t many people with a record like that in the UFC. My only real loss was to the Chinese guy [Li Jingliang]. I got knocked out in that one, but that’s only because I had been on a long layoff due to a major health issue. I was a different person after that, though. It pisses me off, but I know I’ll overcome this. I know I’m a real one. I’m talented.”
Sandwiched between the losses to Geoff Neal and Li Jingliang, Ponzinibbio picked up a decision win over Miguel Baeza in June of last year. That fight marks his sole victory stretching all the way back to 2018, when he defeated Neal Magny via 4th round knockout—after which a series of injuries kept him on the sidelines for just over two years.
No word yet as to when Ponzinibbio might be back in action, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s just a little more passionate in pursuit of the KO next time he steps into the cage. It’s either that, or leave it once again in the hands of the judges.