Santiago Ponzinibbio has been a rising star in the UFC Welterweight division until his unfortunate lay-off that included him spending a total of 18 days in the hospital over two spells. The first instance was due to a bacterial infection, then he came down with a nasty fever. Whilst that is an incredibly summarized version of the events, Ponzi is feeling incredibly lucky to be fighting.
“After this whole crazy thing, thank god, I am healthy. I’m excited to come back”. Santiago Ponzinibbio talking to MMA FIGHTING in December 2020.
Li Jingliang on the other hand has been healthy and relatively active during the spell Ponzi spent out injured. Back in March, Jingliang fell victim to the resurgence of Neil Magny. Before that fight, the “Violenceweight Champion” had dispatched almost all of his previous opponents via TKO. A true fan-favorite among the more knowledgeable ones, he is starting to make an appeal to the casual fan base also.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Li Jingliang
In terms of styles, this fight is already a contender for fight of the night, and it’s not even happened yet. Both guys match up well together, both have frightening power and ferocity, and both mix in kicks well. In terms of who’s got more tools than who, I’d say Ponzinibbio. His striking is cleaner and more fluid, he shows more intelligence in the pocket as well. Often opting to trade blows, he covers up very well, often opting to slip and rip rather than stand and bang. He has a very solid ground game also, with 6 submissions to his record.
Li Jingliang is a little more boxing orientated. He prefers to stand tall and walk his opponents down. He has a ferocious left hook and a nasty overhand. All this comes with the apt moniker of being the Twitter proclaimed ‘violence-weight’ champion of the UFC. A nickname given to him due to his non-stop violent style of fighting, he’s always walking forward, always looking to knock his opponents out. Overall, I think Li Jingliang is a solid enough fighter technically, although not a fighter known for using his fight IQ. If on the form, Santiago Ponzinibbio should have too much technique and should be able to use his jabs and kicks to set up bigger, more impactful shots, whilst also staying out of the way of Li’s offense.
One thing that may play a huge factor is the amount of time Santiago Ponzinibbio has been out. We don’t know how much the illness has taken its toll on his body. He may have been seriously depleted to the stage he won’t recover. We won’t know until they compete.
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