Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, a new welterweight contender was born. Santiago Ponzinibbio continued his winning streak dominating the bout as the UFC Fight Night 140 headliner.
The spotlight was on Ponzinibbio (27-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) as the UFC visited Argentina for the for time. UFC Fight Night 140 took place at Parque Roca Arena in Buenos Aires and featured a six-fight main card on FS1. Ponzinibbio is from Argentina and the local hero closed out the lineup in definitive fashion dominating Neil Magny (21-7 MMA, 14-6 UFC) to a fourth-round knockout win.
This win pushed Ponzinibbio’s winning streak to seven and according to MMA Junkie, it was the standout performance of the night. Prior to Ponzinibbio’s solid performance, Ricardo Lamas (19-7 MMA, 10-5 UFC), Johnny Walker (15-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Ian Heinisch (12-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Marlon Vera (12-5-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC), and Cynthia Calvillo (7-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) all were victorious over their opponents.
According to MMA Junkie, after each event, fans wonder who the winner will be fighting next. There is another UFC night of action coming. “It’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes and play UFC matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 139’s winning fighters.”
MMA Junkie believes that Cynthia Calvillo should fight Michelle Waterson. The reason MMA Junkie believes they should fight is because Calvillo has returned to the octagon successfully and showed her dominance when she used her grappling advantage to put down Poliana Botelho from Britain.
Calvillo took a year off due to personal issues and suspension. However, she did not need a full round to beat down Botelho on the mat and finish with a submission hold. Calvillo’s impressive performance should distance her from the memories of missing weight by two pounds.
She started her career in 2017 and after her first career loss to Carla Esparza in her previous bout, Calvillo sent a reminder that she is a promising talent to watch, says MMA Junkie. If she can sort out future weight-cutting woes, she will be a real player in the strawweight division.
Calvillo called out Waterson (16-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC) for her next fight. Apparently, they were already matched up earlier this year, but plans fell apart.
MMA Junkie Predictions
Marlon Vera should fight Ricardo Ramos. Vera rallied from a poor performance in the first round to gain a thrilling finish in the second frame of the bantamweight fight.
He submitted Cannetti with a rear-naked choke hold. Afterward, he pined for the UFC to make its debut in Ecuador. It is not known if a visit to Vera’s home country is in the works for the UFC, however, it would be a dream come true for Vera.
Ten fights into Vera’s UFC career, MMA Junkie reports he is a proven commodity when it comes to delivering entertaining fights. That will keep him around for some time. The 25-year-old fighter appears to be training hard and getting better, and he has won five of his past seven fights.
MMA Junkie predicts that Vera will bring it every time he steps into the octagon and Ramos (12-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has a similar reputation. This would not be a pairing that would bump either fighter into the rankings at 135 pounds, however, it would provide the momentum that could lead to a future bout with that type of upside.
Ian Heinisch should face off against Krzysztof Jotko. Heinisch was victorious in his debut when he won over established fighter in “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” winner Cezar Ferreira.
Heinisch took the fight on short notice but he stepped up with a gutsy unanimous decision victory. Afterward, Ferreira faded hard in the fight despite having the advantage of a full camp.
“The Hurricane” has a tumultuous story that led to him landing in the UFC. He has the potential to be a factor in the middleweight division.
Heinisch would prefer to have a complete training camp for his sophomore UFC appearance. Hopefully that will happen soon, so his true potential can be seen. However, beating Ferreira is a huge starting point. MMA Junkie predicts he will only move up from here. He would do well against another UFC veteran like Jotko (19-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC).
Johnny Walker should fight Sam Alvey. Walker announced his arrival in the UFC octagon when he annihilated Khalil Rountree in the first round. It was difficult to gauge Walker due to his goofy personality. However, once he stepped into the cage, he proved he can fight.
Walker was the first fighter to knock out Rountree in MMA and he did it with a finish that was setup by a devastating elbow from the clinch, according to MMA Junkie.
He stands at six feet, six inches tall and is the new name to watch at 205 pounds. Rountree was a solid opponent for Walker to beat in his debut bout. It might not be long before he finds himself in the octagon with some of the best fighters in his weight class. MMA Junkie says he is not ready for that yet, but the matchup against Alvey (33-11 MMA, 10-6 UFC) might be what he needs to get him there.
Ricardo Lamas should fight Jeremy Stephens. Lamas came back from a two-fight losing streak to beat the “always durable” Darren Elkins. It is not easy to look good against Elkins, however, Lamas did well and had a third-round victory. This moved Lamas into second place on the all-time stoppages list in UFC featherweight history.
There were some questions about where Lamas stood in his career being on a skid and the age of 36. Nevertheless, “The Bully” proved that he is still relevant. This will line him up for a big fight at 145 pounds that could help him re-enter a title discussion.
Lamas and Stephens (28-15 MMA, 15-14 UFC) have been together in the featherweight division for some time but they have not fought. With a combined 44 UFC appearances between the two, it is time that changed.
Santiago Ponzinibbio should go toe-to-toe with Stephen Thompson (14-3-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC). MMA Junkie did not give a reason in words, but provided a video that expresses why Ponzinibbio should fight Thompson. That video is provided below.
By Jeanette Smith
MMA Junkie: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for Santiago Ponzinibbio and UFC Fight Night 140’s other winning fighters?
Image Courtesy of Andreas Arcabic’s Flickr Page – Public Domain License