Main Card (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
– #6 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-120) vs. #9 Augusto Sakai (+100) – Heavyweight Bout
– #8 Walt Harris (+140) vs. #11 Marcin Tybura (-170) – Heavyweight Bout
– Roman Dolidze (-140) vs. Laureano Staropoli (+115) – Middleweight Bout
– Miguel Baeza (-120) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (+100) – Welterweight Bout
– Dusko Todorovic (-165) vs. Gregory Rodrigues (+135) – Middleweight Bout
– Tom Breese (-250) vs. Antonio Arroyo (+200) – Middleweight Bout
Prelims (4 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
– Makwan Amirkhani (-275) vs. Kamuela Kirk (+220) – Featherweight Bout
– Tanner Boser (-200) vs. Ilir Latifi (+160) – Heavyweight Bout
– Muslim Salikhov (-265) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (+210) – Welterweight Bout
– Mason Jones (-300) vs. Alan Patrick (+235) – Welterweight Bout
– Montana de la Rosa (-280) vs. Ariane Lipski (+225) – W. Flyweight Bout
– Manon Fiorot (-170) vs. Maryna Moroz (+140) – W. Flyweight Bout
– Sean Woodson (-190) vs. Youssef Zalal (+155) – Featherweight Bout
– Jordan Leavitt (-210) vs. Claudio Puelles (+170) – Lightweight Bout
Miguel Baeza (-120) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (+100)
Two welterweights looking to stamp their names in the top 15 rankings occupy this main card slot, as Miguel Baeza (10-0) takes on Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-4).
With an undefeated record and an 80% finish rate, Baeza is quickly becoming one of the hottest prospects on the roster. An alumnus of Dana White’s Contender series, Baeza made his UFC debut in October 2019, where he earned a TKO victory over Hector Aldana. He carried that momentum straight into 2020, where he knocked out Matt Brown and submitted Takashi Sato, earning Performance of the Night bonuses for each finish. Baeza is an elite striker with a multitude of attacks. He loves to inflict damage to all areas of his opponent’s body, often mixing body and leg kicks into his crisp punch combinations.
Ponzinibbio’s style is very similar to Baeza’s, which is what makes this matchup a legitimate Fight of the Night candidate. If you’re looking for an uplifting career path story, don’t look at Ponzinibbio. Early in his pro career, Ponzinibbio dominated the regional scene, putting together a nearly flawless record and earning The Ultimate Fighter Brazil in 2013. After winning that season, he lost his UFC debut, but then went on to 9 of his next 10 fights and it appeared as though a title shot was soon in order.
Then, disaster struck. Ponzinibbio was diagnosed with a nasty bone infection which kept him sidelined for over three years. He finally returned to the Octagon this past January but was knocked out by Jingliang Li in the first round. He’s back once more, trying to steer his career back onto the road to a title shot, but he has a long way to go and I’m not sure if he still has what it takes to be in the elite tier of the welterweight division.
At his best, Ponzinibbio is an unconventional striker with frightening knockout power. He primarily moves side to side and has the innate ability to throw strikes from all different angles. Of his 9 UFC victories, 5 of them came via knockout, 4 of which came inside the first round. Needless to say, the dude hits hard.
This is really an “old guard vs. new guard” matchup. Baeza is on an absolute tear and has hardly shown any weaknesses in his game. He’s a promising, flashy young prospect who seems to have the potential to become a serious contender at 170 pounds. On the other hand, Ponzinibbio is a seasoned veteran with a lot of fight experience trying to right the ship on his UFC campaign before it becomes too late.
It’s difficult to determine exactly what Ponzinibbio is capable of anymore. Frankly, he looked pretty bad against Li in his last outing, which could be ring rust or it could be the fact that his long hiatus caused him to lose a step. If it’s the latter, I think Baeza dominates this fight.
I expect there to be a feeling out process early on in this one, but once Baeza finds his rhythm and range, he should have no issues landing clean strikes.
Baeza has all the tools to pick apart Ponzinibbio on the feet and assuming neither of them is inclined to take this fight to the canvas, I think Baeza is the pick here.
Best Bet: Miguel Baeza moneyline (-120)
– Nick Stavas (@nickstavas)