BRASILIA, Brazil -- The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 finalist Santiago Ponzinibbio finally returned to the Octagon, and he impressed in his welterweight bout against Wendell Oliveira.
Ponzinibbio, who had multiple injuries that forced him out of three different UFC cards, including the TUF: Brazil 2 Finale spot against Leonardo Santos, stopped Oliveira in 80 seconds during the UFC Fight Night 51 card on Saturday night, and he wants to show more of his arsenal as soon as possible.
"I didn’t fight in my debut. I wasn’t the Santiago I could have been," Ponzinibbio told MMAFighting.com about his UFC debut against Ryan LaFlare in November 2013. "This time, I showed who I am. And I have a lot more to show. I had several injuries that kept me sidelined. But I’m back, and I’m happy."
The Argentine welterweight was initially scheduled to take on grappling wizard Sergio Moraes in Brasilia, but the jiu-jitsu black belt was replaced by Oliveira due to a knee injury.
"I had to change my strategy a bit, but I had a great training camp at American Top Team with Gleison Tibau and ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. My camp was great," he said. "I was training for a grappler and they changed my opponent for a striker, but I was ready. I really wanted to fight."
Ponzinibbio will return to Florida for his next training camp, and he eyes the upcoming UFC card in Mexico, on Nov. 15, for his return to the cage.
"I would do it. I can fight again in November, no doubt about it. I just want to fight," he said. "I’ve been through a lot of bad stuff recently, so I just want to get in there and fight."
With the UFC targeting the Latin America market for future cards in 2015, Ponzinibbio wants to be one of the faces of those events.
"The UFC is growing a lot in Latin America, and I was the first Argentine in the UFC," he said. "Having the opportunity to fight in the UFC opened a lot of doors for me, and I’m glad to be here. It motivates me a lot."