UFC Vegas 28: Santiago Ponzinibbio and Miguel Baeza go to war in ‘fight of the year’ level scrap

Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The featured welterweight clash on the UFC Vegas 28 main card pitted a long tenured veteran against a fast rising prospect, and Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner, in a pivotal clash just outside the rankings. After having a seven fight win streak snapped in January, Santiago Ponzinibbio entered the Octagon looking to get back in the win column and hand Miguel Baeza his first defeat.

Santiago Ponzinibbio and Miguel Baeza have fight of the year candidate scrap at UFC Vegas 28

Ponzinibbio came out fast and aggressive looking to wash the bad taste of his loss out. To counter it, Baeza fought composed despite the pressure from a dangerous striker and threw stiff low kicks and punches when the time was right. It was a competitive first round, but Baeza seemed a bit more technical and landed the clear shots more frequently than his Argentinian opponent.

It was more of the same in the second, as Ponzinibbio’s leg was definitely hurt from the low kicks. But he still pressured forward and threw big shots. Baeza continued his momentum in the first half of the round, but in the second half “The Argentine Dagger” discovered an effective jab that he used to great success and worked other offense of f of. By the end of the round, the momentum switched to the veteran’s side and it very well could have been even heading to the final round.

The third was the best round of the fight as neither man left anything in the gas tank. Both did damage on the other and showed outstanding gas tanks as the pace was constant in the round. Ponzinibbio found success with his own low kicks to add to his jab. It was a fight of the night candidate for sure, but the round will be on most lists for “round of the year” on my year-end award lists. The 34-year-old seemingly landed more in the final round, but it was absurdly competitive and close.

In the end, the momentum shift that started in the second round carried Ponzinibbio to a big unanimous decision victory. It’s his first victory since 2018. He moves to 28-4 overall and hands Baeza the first loss of his career. Despite the loss, the 28-year-old put in an impressive performance in a memorable moment from 2021.

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