Ponzinibbio vs Baeza Analysis and Prediction

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Ponzinibbio vs Baeza Analysis and Prediction

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Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-4) vs Miguel Baeza (10-0)

Welterweight (170)

Santiago Ponzinibbio

After a two-year lay-off, it was sad to see Ponzinibbio crushed in a round by Jingliang Li. The Argentine had been soaring through the Welterweight top-fifteen before his hiatus, comprehensively defeating the likes of Neil Magny and Gunnar Nelson. It has been easy to write off the former boogeyman at Welterweight, especially when considering his plethora of illness and injuries. Perhaps it was just a spot of ring rust and an excellent performance on the night by Li?

The flowing lateral movement seems to have slowed in Ponz’s return. While his stalking pressure is still the gameplan, Ponz hips looked set in stone as he failed to cut off the octagon effectively against Li. While Ponz accuracy was a key aspect of his success pre-2018, his lack of volume in his return leaves question marks over his precision. Gun-shy due to the series of feints that Li was throwing or ring rust leaving him unable to fast reads? Regardless, Ponz is at his best when he is popping out strikes to compliment his excellent footwork and positioning.

Miguel Baeza

Miguel Baeza is a decent fighter but he is yet to fight anyone of Ponz’s calibre. After going to war with Matt Brown over a couple of rounds, the jury is not yet out on the prospect. Baeza foolishly engaged in the clinch with Brown and was almost stopped by the trademark elbows. Eventually, Baeza’s youth and durability out-endured Brown and crushed him on the outside with speed. Silly mistakes such as against Brown won’t be so easily forgiven as he climbs the ranks, however.

Baeza’s best work appears during clean kickboxing match-ups. Fighting extremely side-on, Baeza out-works opponents with calculated single shots. A snapping right leg kick often lands on an opponent’s guard, forcing them to keep a high guard and opening their mid-rift. Baeza is far too easily backed against the cage, however, and we are yet to see how he reacts to sweltering pressure.

Predicted Result: Baeza Decision

Baeza is a very flawed fighter who should have no real chance of winning this fight, but Ponz sadly looked over the hill against Jingliang Li. While “you’re only as good as your last fight” often plays a role, it needs to be considered Ponz had also spent two years off with a plethora of illnesses and injuries. The ranked Welterweight that tore apart competitors like Neil Magny and Gunnar Nelson, was not the athlete who entered the octagon against Li. Baeza is a clean kickboxer on the outside but struggles under the pressure. Matt Brown was able to exploit holes in Baeza’s defence and decision making, but Ponz’s lack of volume in his return worryingly suggests he doesn’t have enough anymore to crush Baeza under pressure.

After suffering an early scare, Miguel Baeza eventually overwhelmed Matt Brown with relentless volume during the second round. | Ponzinibbio vs Baeza

Want to view analysis and predictions for all the match-ups on UFC Fight Night 189: Rozenstruik vs Sakai?


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By JBrayne

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