Michel Pereira beat Santiago Ponzinibbio by split decision tonight in Las Vegas after three hard-fought rounds.
Ponzinibbio takes the center of the Octagon immediately as Pereira utilizes movement on the outside.
Pereira steps in with a brief flurry of punches, but gets poked in the eye in the process and that forces a brief stoppage.
Front kick to the body from Pereira. Leg kick for Ponzinibbio. Ponzinibbio targets the body with a punch now.
Hard right hand over the top from Pereira. He grazes again with the right hand and then lands a leg kick.
Body punch from Ponzinibbio and then a grazing right hook. Ponzinibbio looks to attack, but Pereira presses forward and throws a combination of his own.
One-two from Pereira. Now a couple of front kicks to the body. Jab for Ponzinibbio. Leg kick for Pereira. Both men swinging and missing at close range.
Ponzinibbio backs him up to the cage and launches a salvo of punches, but doesn’t find the target cleanly.
Ponzinibbio again letting his hands go without much success. Right hand for Pereira does connect and get Ponzinibbio’s attention though.
Still Ponzinibbio continues to take the center of the Octagon. He steps into a hard inside leg kick. Now a body kick.
He misses with a hook and Pereira returns with a kick to the body. Right hand for Ponzinibbio, but Pereira returns the favor and lands a front kick.
One-two for Ponzinibbio and then a leg kick. Another outside leg kick for him and Pereira comes over the top with a punch.
Front kick to the body from Pereira. Now punches from him as he presses forward and a solid body kick too.
Body punch from Pereira. Jab for Ponzinibbio. Big swing and a miss from Pereira. Knee upstairs from Pereira grazes the target.
Left hook from Pereira as Ponzinibbio was trying to land. Leg kick for Pereira. Jab to the body from Ponzinibbio. Right hand for Pereira.
Right hand gets through for Ponzinibbio. He lands a leg kick too. Good left hook for Ponzinibbio. Now another left hand scores for him and Pereira tries to fire back.
Ponzinibbio still pressuring and lands a two-piece combo. High guard from Pereira as Ponzinibbio throws again.
Much better round from Ponzinibbio. He slips on the canvas, but is ok. Right hand and a heavy left from Pereira. Body kick for him too.
Glancing right hand from Ponzinibbio and Pereira returns fire. Clean left hand from Ponzinibbio and then lands a takedown. Pereira stands, but Ponzinibbio is clinched to his back and landing a knee to the back of the leg as the round ends.
Leg kick for Pereira. He tries to land a punch to the body. Now back to the leg kick. Head kick from Pereira just grazed the target.
Pereira lands to the body. Nice jab from Ponzinibbio as his opponent was coming forward. Right hand over the top from Pereira.
solid calf kick from Pereira. Both men firing off shots at close range without cleanly finding the mark.
Kick from Ponzinibbio. Now a few jabs. Pereira threatens with an uppercut. Right hand for Ponzinibbio. Back to the jab now.
Calf kick for Ponzinibbio. Reaching right hand from Pereira. calf kick from Ponzinibbio. Right hand for Ponzinibbio and a left to the body.
Jab for Pereira. Ponzinibbio with a left hand. Sticking jab from Ponzinibbio as Pereira was coming forward. Ponzinibbio pushing the pace.
Pereira with a couple of winging strikes. Both men swinging a bit wildly there. Body kick for Ponzinibbio. Now a low kick. Jabs from him.
Another jab for Ponzinibbio and Pereira lands too and then works to the body. Right hand for Ponzinibbio and then one over the top from Pereira.
Final minute of the fight. calf kick for Ponzinibbio and then one from Pereira. Big punch from Ponzinibbio. He tries for a takedown without success.
Pereira lands a punch. Both men swinging tired punches with as much energy as they can muster. Ponzinibbio emptying the gas tank with punches in the final seconds of the round.
That was a close, hard-fought fight then with Pereira appearing to get the better of the early action, while Ponzinibbio turned things up in the second half of the fight and had a good third round in particular.
It’s down to the judges to score it and they don’t all agree, with Pereira emerging victorious via a split decision verdict (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).