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Gunnar Nelson says uncalled eye poke led to loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio

Gunnar Nelson lost via first-round knockout to Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC Fight Night 113.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Despite suffering an 82-second knockout loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio in the main event of UFC Fight Night 113, Gunnar Nelson still made it to the post-fight press conference in Glasgow.

And he had a message to deliver: He believes he was the victim of an uncalled eye poke before the huge left and right hands which ended the fight.

“I don’t like to make excuses, but this is the truth, how I feel anyway, is I should have stopped the fight when I got poked,” Nelson said. “I should have stopped it then because I’m seeing two Ponzinibbios in front of me. And that was like that until I remember standing up and the fight was over.”

Nelson says that he doesn’t want to detract from Ponzinibbio’s accomplishment. But in hindsight, Nelson believes he should have made an attempt to get a timeout called rather than trying to fight through things, which led to a disastrous result.

“I should have stopped it then and I’m not saying, like, he did a good job and maybe it would have happened anyway,” Nelson said. “Maybe my reflexes just wouldn’t have been enough to move away from the punch, but this is how I felt, like, I’m kind of kicking myself in the head for not just stopping the fight and being greedy, because I caught him and I thought he was on the run.”

So it’s back to the drawing board for the SBG welterweight, who is now 3-3 in his past six fights after winning his first four UFC bouts.

“I should have just stopped the fight, recovered my eye, and carried on from there,” he said. “But I didn’t, and here we are now. You win or you learn, and I’ll definitely learn from this.”

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