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The co-main event comes in the Welterweight division, as Santiago “Argentine Dagger” Ponzinibbio takes on Michel “Demolidor” Pereira. Coming off a close defeat to Geoff Neal, Ponzinibbio returns to the octagon for the first time in 2022. Once a contender, who had rattled off seven straight, Ponzinibbio now finds himself a loser of two of his last three. At 35 years old and with a litany of lost time due to injuries, the time is now for the former contender to get things going. Meanwhile, Pereira comes into this fight a winner of four straight. Having tempered his wildness, Pereira has molded himself into a well rounded fighter. One who isn’t afraid to blend his striking and wrestling abilities.
As for a prediction, I have Pereira winning. While this is an excellent fight and could possibly be similar to when Ponzinibbio weathered the storm and defeated Miguel Baeza, I feel that Pereira’s game has evolved past fading in fights. No longer as wild as when he entered the UFC, Pereira has vastly improved his energy output in fights. Being technical, yet still showing burst of explosion, Pereira has shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with anyone. Adding wrestling to game, Pereira has landed a takedown in each of his last six fights. The knock on Pereira has always been cardio, something which Ponzinibbio carries plenty of. However, Pereira has vastly improved in that area. In three of his last four fights, the Brazilian has landed 115 of the 287 significant strikes in round three alone. Obviously every fight is different, but Ponzinibbio seems to be on the downswing. Unfortunate too, as his cardio, volume and durability had led him to being in the Welterweight title conversation at one point. With all that said, I predict Pereira to win his fifth straight via decision.
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