Li Jingliang vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio Targeted for UFC Fight Night 184

Li Jingliang UFC
Li Jingliang Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

Santiago Ponzinibbio has a new opponent for next month’s UFC Fight Night 184. In the form of “The Leech” Li Jingliang.

The Fight Night card, taking place January 16, is the first event of 2021 for the promotion. Originally, Argentina’s Ponzinibbio had been scheduled to face off with Muslim Salikhov. However, earlier this month, Salikhov announced he was out of the fight due to complications from COVID-19.

Jingliang’s involvement was first reported by MMA Fighting.

The Chinese welterweight will look to get back in the win column in the bout, after having a three-fight win streak halted by Neil Magny at UFC 248. Overall, Jingliang (17-6) is 7-2 in his last nine trips to the octagon. Five of those have resulted in Performance or Fight of the Night bonuses.

Ponzinibbio (27-3) at one point looked like a potential title contender in the welterweight division. And he very well still could be — however, inactivity has derailed things for the time being. Having won seven straight fights under the UFC banner, the Argentinian appeared on the cusp of something big, but has not fought since November 2018, when he knocked out Neil Magny.

UFC Fight Night 184 is expected to take place on Fight Island (Yas Island) in Abu Dhabi. That will mark the UFC’s third trip to that locale since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.