Santiago Ponzinibbio is a violent finisher. (Photo: Josh
(26-3) is an Argentine fighter who competes in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
’s welterweight devision. His
next appearance will see him headline
UFC Fight Night 140
in his home country opposite Neil Magny
the Parque Roca Arena, in Buenos Aires on Nov. 17. It is the first
time the UFC has held an event in the country.
In the build-up to the pivotal contest, here are five things that
you might not know about the
American Top Team
representative known as “Gente Boa.”
1. He was on “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.”
In 2013, Ponzinibbio was a cast member on “The Ultimate Fighter:
Brazil 2.” Having won his elimination bout to enter the “TUF”
house, he beat Thiago
by first round TKO. In his next encounter, the Argentine
prospect bested Marcio
by TKO. This was followed by a unanimous decision win
. In the semi-finals, “Gente Boa” defeated Leonardo
, again by unanimous decision. However, Ponzinibbio broke
his hand in the clash and was unable to participate in the final.
It was not all bad news for the Argentine though. His TKO of
was chosen as Knockout of the Season. It earned
Ponzinibbio a $50k bonus.
2. He started out in kickboxing.
Ponzinibbio was 13 when he commenced training in kickboxing in his
homeland. His origins in the striking sport are evident from
Ponzinibbio’s preferred method of dispatching his opponents. The
welterweight’s first three professional contests were won with
strikes; and across his career to date, 14 (54 percent) of his wins
have come by KO/TKO. Of the remainder, 6 (23 percent) have been
submissions, with a further 6 by decision.
3. He used to live in Brazil.
Ponzinibbio started his professional MMA career back in Argentina.
But, intent on finding better training, he made the move to Brazil.
With no family, friends or financial resources, the new arrival
initially found life extremely difficult. However, he eventually
settled in, and ended up spending seven years living in the
country. Despite facing considerable hardship in Brazil,
Ponzinibbio credits this period for honing his impressive MMA
skills. He displays his respect for the country by brandishing a
flag for his walkouts, one side of which is Argentinian, the other
4. He has worked numerous jobs.
Prior to earning enough money from MMA to make it his full-time
career, Ponzinibbio worked at various jobs. During his stint in
Brazil, he was a masseur, sold sandwiches, worked as a barman and
as a kitchen assistant. Other positions he has held include doorman
and book salesman.
5. He calls Florida home.
In 2015, Ponzinibbio left his adopted home of Brazil and moved
north to South Florida, where he joined up with the vaunted
American Top Team in Coconut Creek. In June of that year, he made
his first U.S. appearance, a losing effort against Lorenz
, at UFC Fight Night “Machida vs Romero.” To this day,
Ponzinibbio continues to call South Florida home. There, he lives
with his girlfriend and keeps up a relentless training regime at
ATT, a gym where he feels at home. The results speak for
themselves. Since that first loss on American shores, Ponzinibbio
has been unbeaten across six stateside appearances with the Las