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UFC Fight Island 7 video: Li Jingliang gives Santiago Ponzinibbio rude welcome back with vicious first-round knockout

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UFC Fight Night: Ponzinibbio v Jingliang Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Li Jingliang has enjoyed plenty of success in the UFC but he’s earned no bigger win than his knockout on Saturday in Abu Dhabi

Taking on Santiago Ponzinibbio, who was riding a seven-fight win streak in his return to action after more than two years away, Li showed no fear whatsoever to engage in a striking battle with the ferocious welterweight from Argentina. After several close exchanges on the feet, Li baited Ponzinibbio into stepping forward and that’s when he unleashed a hellacious left hook that nearly spun his opponent’s head around.

Ponzinibbio fell to the mat from the impact of the punch and the referee was quick to intervene before Li could follow up with more punishment as the end came at 4:25 in the opening round.

“I feel great,” Li said after the win. “It’s really awesome to have fans to watch the fight. Thank you for Dana White to give me the opportunity to prove myself.”

After falling to Neil Magny in his previous fight, Li obviously had something to prove while facing a legit top 10 level welterweight in Ponzinibbio, who was knocking on the door of title contention prior to a health scare that kept him sidelined since 2018.

In the opening moments of the fight, Ponzinibbio appeared to be a little gun shy as he knocked off the ring rust that had surely accumulated in his time off but as each minute passed, he appeared to get a little more comfortable with his striking.

That played directly into Li’s hands as the Chinese welterweight welcomed a fire fight with Ponzinibbio on the feet.

Finally as Ponzinibbio stepped forward while throwing several consecutive punches, Li moved out of the way and then countered with a beautiful left hook that landed flush. Ponzinibbio’s head snapped around as he crumbled to the canvas while Li was elated with his performance while earning his seventh finish by knockout or TKO in the UFC.

Overall, Li is now 4-1 in his past five fights as he continues to prove to be a tough out for anybody at 170 pounds while Ponzinibbio leaves disappointed following a long road back to the octagon that ended in his first defeat since 2015.