With Robbie Lawler dropping off the UFC 282 card due to injury, it was Alex Morono stepping up on short notice against Santiago Ponzinibbio.
That resulted in a shift to a 180lb catchweight, but at least the “Argentinian Dagger” Ponzinibbio was staying on the card.
Ponzinibbio went to the body several times in the early-going on Saturday, while Morono landed his right hand once or twice. He was taking some big swings, looking for an early knockout — perhaps an indication that, having taken the bout on short notice, he wanted to wrap things up early and not risk running out of gas.
Working from behind his jab, Ponzinibbio stayed mobile, and showed plenty of feints. Morono went to the body with a kick, while Ponzinibbio did the same with a couple of punches. Santiago fired a leg kick; a spinning backfist attempt by Morono was well wide.
That spinning back fist was attempted by Morono again late in the round, and Ponzinibbio fired one in return. Morono answered by coming underneath with a right hand, dropping Ponzinibbio just prior to the horn.
Morono fired that spinning back fist again early in the second. Ponzinibbio jabbed to the body. A left hand landed for Morono; Ponzinibbio, the more mobile fighter, stayed busy. A right hand for Morono sent Ponzinibbio down! He was right back up, and Morono, meanwhile, appeared to have tweaked his leg — though he would throw both a front kick, and a spinning kick, both of which hit air. Ponzinibbio, a moment later, hit the mark with a right hand.
Round three saw a bit of a slow start, with Morono chasing Ponzinibbio. The Argentinian fired a right hand. He connected with a left. Morono may have lost a step, and ate another left, but he clocked Ponzinbbio in return! Morono went on the hunt, with Ponzinibbio rocked from a right hand by the ear! Ponzinibbio landed a left and a right; he was bloodied, however, but came back and went on the attack, pulling out a late finish! One right hand landed, then an overhand right sent Morono down, just when it looked like UFC 282 would have its first decision of the night. Instead, Ponzinibbio was back in the win column care of a third-round TKO.
Official Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Alex Morono by TKO (punches), Round 3, 2:29