The UFC Vegas 28 main card features a welterweight matchup in Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Miguel Baeza that has a performance bonus written all over it. Baeza puts his perfect record on the line versus the Argentinian powerhouse.
It’s entirely possible that the winner of Ponzinibbio vs Baeza will catapult themselves into the division’s top-15. “The Argentine Dagger” suffered an opening-round knockout defeat to Li Jingliang in his return to action in January. Meanwhile, “Caramel Thunder” earned his third consecutive finish victory since joining the UFC, submitting Takashi Sato via arm-triangle last November. Don’t blink once the octagon door shuts behind these two certified finishers.
Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-4, 9-3 UFC) earned the coveted UFC contract following a very impressive showing on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2, in which he recorded four straight wins before breaking his hand in the semifinals. After beginning his UFC tenure just 2-2, Ponzinibbio rattled off seven wins in a row, including TKOs over both Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny. Unfortunately, a slue of injuries kept the Argentinian sidelined for over two years, but the American Top Team affiliate possesses a ton of talent when healthy. The time must be now for the 34-year-old to make another run up the rankings.
Miguel Baeza (10-0, 3-0 UFC) was awarded his contract after grinding out a decision victory on the Contender Series in 2019. Since then, the MMA Masters trainee has taken out a fellow up and comer in Hector Aldana, a bona fide veteran in Matt Brown, and a division mainstay in Sato. The 28-year-old carries a versatile bag of tricks with him at all times, making him one of the most feared unranked fighters on the roster.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Miguel Baeza Breakdown
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Miguel Baeza is a clash of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts, but both guys enjoy standing and banging. In order to see success, “The Argentine Dagger” must dictate the pace and lead the dance. When he’s at his best, Ponzinibbio stalks his opponents as he throws every strike with fight-ending intentions. In his last outing versus Jingliang, it was evident that he was reacting rather than attacking and it ultimately led to him getting finished.
“Caramel Thunder” is the more feared grappler of the two, despite them both holding BJJ black belts. Moreover, his hands are a bit more unpredictable in terms of the angles that his punches come from. Baeza is crisp and precise on the feet while hardly ever loading up too much on his strikes. It’ll be fascinating to see how he handles the power of his UFC Vegas 28 opponent, who’s undoubtedly the hardest hitter that he’s faced thus far.
A key detail to look out for during Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Miguel Baeza is how the latter responds if and when he encounters adversity. In all honesty, Baeza has faced little tribulation over the course of his 15 pro bouts. Seeing how he composes himself after getting hit by a hard right hand from Ponzinibbio will be a massive factor in the outcome of the contest.
Ponzinibbio vs Baeza Final Thoughts
Expect the vast majority of this fight to take place on the feet. If it turns out to be a fairly clean kickboxing fight, Baeza will have the advantage. However, if it becomes more of a murky style then give the edge to Ponzinibbio. Keep a close eye out for clinch scenarios, as “Caramel Thunder” has proven to be very effective in the Thai clinch.
This welterweight matchup might be the most electric bout slated for UFC Vegas 28. There’s a good amount of pressure on the shoulders of “The Argentine Dagger” as he looks to get his name back in the win column.
Who do you see gaining an edge in Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Miguel Baeza? Drop your prediction in the comment section!
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