Although it’s still two months away as of this writing, the final pay-per-view event of 2021 from the world’s top MMA promotion looks to be a good card, one which continued to take shape late Monday.
A Battle Between Ranked Combatants at 170 lbs. To Take Place Dec. 11
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto mentioned on his social media channels Monday evening that UFC 269 on Dec. 11, forecast to originate in Las Vegas, would feature a welterweight confrontation between No. 12 contender Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) and No. 10 contender Geoff Neal (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC), according to sources.
This pairing had yet to be officially announced by the promotion as of Monday evening, but Okamoto noted that an announcement should be made in the near future and both camps have signed off on the bout.
Although the exact placement on the penultimate UFC card of 2021 is yet to be known as of this time, this fight at 170 lbs. will be a maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round.
The Road to Dec. 11: How Ponzinibbio and Neal Got Here
Even though this bout at UFC 269 two weeks before Christmas is still not yet officially revealed, one key storyline that will be talked about at length in the run-up to the last PPV of the year is the fact that both Santiago Ponzinibbio and Geoff Neal will enter this fight on different trajectories with regard to their recent form.
Ponzinibbio Comes in With Great Form
Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) enters UFC 269 having gone 4-1 in his last five MMA appearances, most recently scoring a unanimous decision against Miguel Baeza on June 5 during UFC Vegas 28.
In an interview with ufc.com before the fight last spring, Ponzinibbio pointed to what could have been a career-ending ailment as his motivation.
“I had a staph infection in May 2019, and so it was October when they did an MRI and they told me, ‘You have an infection in your bone; you probably can’t fight ever again'”, Ponzinibbio recalls. “I had lost almost one year and they told me I couldn’t fight again.”
Geoff Neal Tries To Snap Losing Streak in UFC 269
In the other corner, Geoff Neal (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) will come into UFC 269 having gone 3-2 in his last five bouts, but he is currently experiencing a two-fight losing streak.
Last time out, he sustained a unanimous decision loss at the hands of Neil Magny during UFC Vegas 26 on May 8– this after dropping a unanimous decision vs. Stephen Thompson during UFC Vegas 17’s main event on Dec. 19, 2020.
UFC 269 Overview
These other bouts are also currently slated to take place during UFC 269 on Dec. 11:
Note: The bout order has yet to be finally determined, and thus the exact placement of the fights may not be definitively known until closer to the date of the show. Some bouts may get postponed entirely, while others may remain intact but are instead rebooked for another show. Additionally, fights may be added to this event before the date of the card.
- Main Event: UFC Lightweight Championship: Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier
- Co-Main Event: UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Amanda Nunes vs. Juliana Pena
- Flyweight Bout: Kai Kara-France vs. Cody Garbrandt
- Bantamweight Bout: Pedro Munhoz vs. Dominick Cruz
- Welterweight Bout: Leon Edwards vs. Jorge Masvidal
- Women’s Flyweight Bout: Priscilla Cachoeira vs. Gillian Robertson
- Bantamweight Bout: Randy Costa vs. Tony Kelley
- Middleweight Bout: Dricus du Plessis vs. Andre Muniz
- Flyweight Bout: Ryan Hall vs. Darrick Minner
- Bantamweight Bout: Sean O’Malley vs. Raulian Paiva
Be sure to stay tuned to Overtime Heroics for more information on the latest fights scheduled for upcoming UFC events.