Santiago Ponzinibbio was down but never out.
After likely dropping the first two rounds in his fight against Alex Morono at UFC 282, Ponzinibbio came storming back with a devastating knockout to score the victory and stop his two-fight losing skid. The end came at 2:29 in the third round after Morono hit the canvas hard after eating a pair of blistering right hands from Ponzinibbio.
“Too many ups and downs, too many crazy things in my life,” Ponzinibbio said after the win. “So many problems but my last two fights, two split decisions. I thought I won both.
“I said I don’t care who, I don’t care what weight. I know inside the cage, my heart is big. I know I’m a real fighter. I have a killer instinct.”
It was a tactical striking affair as the first round got started with Morono focusing on his lead jab while Ponzinibbio was firing back with stiff kicks to the body. The exchanges were all fairly even until time was running short when Ponzinibbio attempted a spinning back-fist and Morono snapping off a right hand as the fight hit the floor for a moment before the horn sounded.
Morono was continuously focusing on that same right hand that kept landing consistently with Ponzinibbio starting to counter with a series of calf-kicks to his lead leg. With a welt forming on his calf, it appeared that Morono was started to favor that leg but Ponzinibbio wasn’t attacking with as much ferocity and that allowed his opponent to avoid too much damage.
Instead, Ponzinibbio was really focusing on body shots so he could then target the head but Morono was doing a good job coming right back at him during nearly every exchange.
With the fight swaying in Morono’s favor, Ponzinibbio got more aggressive with the knowledge that he might need a finish to get the win. That led to a wild exchange as Morono clubbed Ponzinibbio with a staggering overhand right that wobbled the Argentine fighter.
Just when it looked like Morono might get a finish of his own, Ponzinibbio came back at him with a slick right hand of his own that blasted the Fortis MMA fighter and twisted his head around from the force of the impact. One more punch followed as Morono crashed to the canvas, which forced the referee to rush in and stop the fight before any more punishment was dished out.
It was an important win for Ponzinibbio, who had come out on the wrong end of a pair of split decisions in his past two outings. As for Morono, it’s doubtful he’ll lose too much stock despite the outcome because he accepted this matchup on just six days’ notice after ex-champion Robbie Lawler suffered an injury that knocked him out of UFC 282.