UFC Buenos Aires: Magny vs Ponzinibbio Preview
By Jon Prentice
This weekend will see the UFC once again enter new territory as they head to Argentina for the first time for UFC Fight Night 140 which will go down from the Estadio Mary Terán de Weiss in Buenos Aires. The card will be headlined by top 10 welterweights Neil Magny (21-6) and Argentina’s own Santiago Ponzinibbio (26-3).
Magny is coming into the fight following back to back wins. He most recently disposed of short notice opponent Craig White in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Till in Liverpool, outclassing his opponent to pick up a TKO finish via knees and punches late in the first round.
In his previous fight, Magny got the better of another veteran in Carlos Condit as he utilised his superior wrestling on the way to a unanimous decision victory at UFC 219. That win saw Magny get back in the win column having being completely dominated by Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 215 where he lost via arm triangle in the first round.
Magny is one of the most active competitors in the welterweight division. He holds notable wins over the likes of Kelvin Gastelum, Johnny Hendricks, Hector Lombard and Carlos Condit. Having suffered only 3 defeats in the last 4 years over top competition in Demian Maia, Lorenz Larkin and Dos Anjos, Magny has established himself as one of the most consistent welterweight’s on the roster.
Ponzinibbio heads into his second UFC main event riding a 6-fight win streak dating back to December 2015. Out of action for nearly 12-months, Ponzinibbio last stepped foot in the octagon at UFC on Fox: Lawler vs Dos Anjos in December 2017, as he utilised an excellent gameplan to defeat the heavy handed Mike Perry via unanimous decision.
The previous fight, Ponzinibbio’s first UFC main event, drew some controversy as the Argentine defeated Gunnar Nelson via KO in the first round in Glasgow in July 2017. Nelson unsuccessfully appealed the result, citing multiple eye pokes for the reason behind the KO. Video evidence did back up Nelson’s claim as there appeared to be three separate pokes in the lead up to the finish, however the original result was upheld and Ponzinibbio was credited with the win.
Ponzinibbio holds wins in the UFC over Nordine Taleb, Zak Cummings, Court McGee, Andreas Stahl, Sean Strickland and Wendell Oliveira. He has tasted defeat just 3-times in his career with his most recent loss being back in 2015 to Lorenz Larkin. He did lose his UFC debut to Ryan LaFlare in 2013 and has a solitary defeat on the regional scene, however, undefeated in his last 6, he is one of the most in form fighters in the welterweight division.
This is an extremely close fight to predict between two very consistent and dangerous welterweights. Ponzinibbio holds the power advantage and can put Magny away with a single punch or kick so he will have to be on his guard throughout the fight, especially in the first two rounds.
Magny at 6ft 3in, holds a significant height and reach advantage over his Argentine counterpart which I think will be a key to victory for him. He will have to maintain range utilising his long jab and level change for the takedown when Ponzinibbio flurry’s. Magny is a cardio machine so will be able to keep up the pace for the entirety of the bout if it lasts that long.
I have the underdog Magny winning this fight if he avoids the power of Ponzinibbio. I think he will be able see out the first couple of rounds which will be Ponzinibbio’s most dangerous, dragging it to the later stages and utilising his cardio advantage. I imagine Magny will stick and move with his jab and take Ponzinibbio down on every available opportunity, eventually taking a decision as I don’t see him getting the finish over the course of the 5 rounds.