Santiago Ponzinibbio has been on a tear since 2015, and the welterweight believes a win over Neil Magny at UFC Argentina tomorrow should deliver him a title shot. But, will a win over the rugged contender Saturday send “Gente Boa” a title shot? The Argentinean could be out of luck.
Ponzinibbio has been tapped for the headlining bout in his native country, as he’s riding a six-fight winning streak. The hard-hitting welterweight hasn’t fought since last December, however, when he earned a decision win over Mike Perry. That victory followed Ponzinibbio’s stoppage win over Gunnar Nelson in July.
Well, leading up to Saturday’s pivotal bout, Ponzinibbio had this to say about what he’s hoping to accomplish at UFC Argentina (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“If I win this fight, it will be seven wins in a row, 15 fights for the company, amounting to a total of 13 wins, numerous knockouts,” Ponzinibbio said. “I would be ready to fight for a title. I would deserve it. I would be ready.”
“I know this may or may not happen, because there’s no exact math or logic in the UFC,” Ponzinibbio added. “So, now my title shot is Neil Magny. I have to beat him. That’s my goal. I will win this fight and then I’ll focus on my next step. Whether it’s a title or another opponent, that’s how it goes. There’s no way around it.”
There you have it. Now, there’s a couple of things to look at here, in terms of Ponzinibbio’s title shot aspirations. Does he ‘deserve’ a title shot? If he defeats Magny? Well, there’s no question that the 32-year-old is on a ridiculous roll, and if he’s victorious on Saturday, that would leave his official UFC record at 9-2 (that’s excluding his bouts on TUF Brazil 2). So, that’s definitely the type of record, at first glance, which warrants title shot consideration.
But, when you consider that Ponzinibbio is currently ranked #10, it’s hard to imagine him leapfrogging into a title fight next. Even if he goes out and cruises through Magny. Especially when you have Colby Covington knocking on the title shot door, and Kamaru Usman getting set to fight Rafael dos Anjos.
Further, the only current, top 15 ranked welterweight Ponzinibbio has defeated is Nelson. So, if he defeats the #7 ranked Magny, then a fight with a top-five ranked contender next is more likely.
But, you never know, if everything breaks right for Ponzinibbio, his next fight could be for the belt. If Colby faces the champ Tyron Woodley in the not too distant future and loses, and if dos Anjos gets by Usman, then maybe Ponzinibbio will get the call.