The UFC Vegas 55 co-main event on Saturday was very much a numbers game. Specifically, the number 14 next to Santiago Ponzinibbio’s name, and Michel Pereira’s hopes of cracking the top 15 of the welterweight division, hung in the balance.
Round 1 began with Pereira moving laterally forcing Ponzinibbio to chase him around the cage. Front kicks down the middle for Pereira were the main portion of his attack, but he mixed in a lot of big right hands. He landed one big shot that stunned Ponzinibbio for a moment. Santiago was able to land some shots on Pereira, but the latter was able to get the knock down which likely won him the round.
Round 2 was more of the same, but Ponzinibbio stayed patient until he was able to land on his opponent. After stunning him with a right hand Ponzinibbio began to damage Pereira on the feet. With 20 seconds left in the round Ponzinibbio scored a takedown and that’s where the round ended.
Round 3 Both men decided that it wasn’t for sure that they had two rounds in the bag. Pereira continued to load up on his shots with Ponzinibbio working jabs and leg kicks waiting to set up a takedown. Ponzinibbio tried two takedowns that were unsuccessful, but with about 1 minute left in the fight both men decided to bite down on their mouth pieces and brawl.
Both men landed heavy on each other as the minute counted down, but neither took the upper hand to end the fight. The decision was left up to the judges.
Official Result: Michel Pereira def. Santiago Ponzinibbio via (29-28, 30-27, 29-28) Split Decision