This fight looked good on paper and was even better in reality as both fighters battled on the feet for three full rounds tonight at UFC Fight Night 189, until Santiago Ponzinibbio eventually edged out Miguel Baeza to emerge the winner by unanimous decision.
Ponzinibbio takes the center of the Octagon to start. Push kick to the body from Baeza. Now an inside leg kick.
Jab for Ponzinibbio. he lands it again. Calf kick for Baeza and lands another, then tries to get punches over the top.
Another calf kick from Baeza as Ponzinibbio tries to close the range. Jab for Baeza and then back to the leg kick as Ponzinibbio is working the jab.
Baeza staying mobile and then lands another calf kick. Ponzinibbio comes up short with punches. Grazing left hook from Baeza. Now body punches and back to the leg kick>
Ponzinibbio tried a leg kick, but went off-balance and had to back up under fire.
Another leg kick and Ponzinibbio already seems a bit unsettled on that front leg, which is reddening up.
Ponzinibbio just avoids a flurry from Baeza. Jab from Ponzinibbio. Calf kick again for Baeza.
Jab for Ponzinibbio and then again. Inside leg kick for him. Right hand over the top from Baeza. Head kick flashes out from Baeza, but doesn’t connect clean.
Big punch from Baeza stops Ponzinibbio in his tracks just for a moment. Ponzinibbio keeps slipping on his lead leg. Another leg kick lands on the inside from Baeza and Ponzinibbio’s leg buckled a bit there.
Body strike from Baeza. Series of hooks from Ponzinibbio. He backs Baeza up against the cage and lands a few more. His best moments of the round, but Baeza still got another low kick in there and that’s only going to become more of a problem for Ponzinibbio as the fight continues.
Inside leg kick for Baeza. Solid one-two for Ponzinibbio. He’s trying to stay aggressive, but Baeza responds in kind. Calf kick from Ponzinibbio now. He pumps out the jab.
Front kick to the body from Baeza. Now a leg kick. He steps into a calf kick. Jab and then a straight right from Ponzinibbio. Another leg kick from Baeza. A right hand hurts Ponzinibbio.
Leg kick for Baeza and then a body strike. Ponzinibbio with the jab. He tries for a takedown, but Baeza shurgs him aside. Leg kicks on either side from Baeza.
Jab for Baeza. Body punch from Ponzinibbio. Front kick to the body from Baeza. Ponzinibbio fires off some punches. Another leg kick from Baeza backs up Ponzinibbio momentarily.
Solid calf kick from Ponzinibbio now. He blasts another calf kick. Baeza lands a punch, but misses in his follow up strikes as he gets more aggressive.
Hard jab from Ponzinibbio. He triples up on it and then a straight right behind it. Another couple of jabs.
jab from Ponzinibbio stops Baeza’s kick attempt. Baeza lands low with the kick. Hook from Ponzinibbio as he fires back and more punches behind it.
Ponzinibbio with a takedown attempt, but Baeza defends well. Jab keeps getting through from Ponzinibbio. Now a hard calf kick.
Big punches from Ponzinibbio and Baeza’s looking troubled. More jabs from Ponzinibbio. Finally Baeza gets back to landing a couple of calf kicks.
Hook for Ponzinibbio. Kick for Baeza and he was stepping forward to land more offense as the round ends.
Ponzinibbio pumping out the jab. Calf kick from Baeza and then another. He’s trying to get back to the work that helped win him the first round decisively.
More kicks from Baeza. Good right hand for him. Big jabs for Ponzinibbio. Hard leg kick from Ponzinibbio knocks Baeza off-balance. Baeza lands his own leg kick.
Another calf kick for Baeza. Push kick for Baeza. Jabs and a right over the top from him.
Ponzinibbio fires off a couple of hooks. Checked kick by Ponznibbio. Right hand gets through for him. Now a jab. Good body punch from Baeza.
Jab for Ponzinibbio. He gets a calf kick off. Heavy right hand amid a flurry from Ponzinibbio and Baeza felt that.
Ponzinibbio looking to land with a flurry. Baeza bites down and fires back aggressively. Body kick from Baeza.
Kick to the body from Baeza. Hard calf kick from Ponzinibbio. Missed punches from both. Jab for Ponzinibbio. Calf kick for Baeza.
Hard left hook for Ponzinibbio. Right hand for Baeza. Another one-two for him. Baeza with one punch in response.
Solid straight right for Baeza. Right from Ponzinibbio and then the jab. Another clean connection for him.
Heading towards the final seconds of the round and both men are setting out their stall to slug it out. Ponzonibbio with a body kick. Baeza lands. Ponzinibbio with several big punches as he gets the better of this late exchange and we’re headed to a decision here after an action-packed scrap.
Terrific fight then in which Baeza put in a very strong first round, clearly hurting Ponzinibbio with multiple calf kicks, but against the odds, Ponzinibbio endured and by the second-half of the second round he was starting to get the better of the action and by the end of the fight he’d racked up a number of hard calf kicks himself and was slugging it out until the final bell.
Both fighters deserve plaudits here, but there can only be one winner and in the end it’s a fired-up Ponzinibbio who claims a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3) to hand Baeza his first career loss.