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UFC Vegas 28 results: Santiago Ponzinibbio wins decision over Miguel Baeza in possible ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate

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

Santiago Ponzinibbio had something to prove in his return at UFC Vegas 28.

After his career was nearly ended with a bacterial infection that kept him sidelined for more than two years and then suffering a loss in his first fight back, the Argentinean was determined to get back to form on Saturday night. Ponzinibbion then delivered a possible “Fight of the Year” candidate as he went to war with Miguel Baeza over three rounds before ultimately winning a unanimous decision.

All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Ponzinibbio, who earns his first win since 2018.

“I said to UFC, I lost too much time of my life in the prime. I know my potential,” Ponzinibbio said following the victory. “I know who I am. I won eight of my last nine fights. I do a good job, hopefully I come back to the top 10. I know one day I’m going to be champion.”

Ponzinibbio was pure aggression when the fight started while taking the center of the cage and just moving forward but Baeza was quick to counter with a series of stiff leg kicks. By the midway point of the opening round, Ponzinibbio was showing a lot of damage to his calf with Baeza constantly attacking with that same kick in repetition.

In an attempt to negate those kicks, Ponzinibbio began closing the distance with continued pressure and using fast hands to go headhunting after Baeza. While he did get trapped against the cage a couple of times, Baeza was slick enough to avoid any serious trouble.

Once the second round got underway, Baeza really started to sit down on those same kicks, which were tearing up Ponzinibbio’s lead leg. While he was still eating a lot of kicks, Ponzinibbio finally established a well-timed jab that began snapping Baeza’s head back in rapid-fire succession.

As time passed, Ponzinibbio’s volume striking was really paying off and Baeza struggling to keep up with his conditioning also being tested. Ponzinibbio then established his own leg kicks, which opened up Baeza for punches to the chin.

Ponzinibbio was just relentless as he kept coming after Baeza with everything in his arsenal as the fighters were determined to throw heavy leather at each other until the final horn sounded. The final 30 seconds was just a blur as Ponzinibbio and Baeza left nothing in the tank with each of them attempting to sway the judges in a furious exchange to end the fight.

It was a jaw-dropping battle but it was the punishment dished out by Ponzinibbio in rounds two and three that helped him secure the win while handing Baeza the first loss of his professional career.