UFC Vegas 55: Michel Pereira defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Michel Pereira defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio via split decision (28–29, 30–27, 29–28), at UFC Vegas 55 on Saturday, May 21, 2022, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV.
The first round got underway with a touch of the gloves. Only 38 seconds into the fight and it was stopped after Ponzinibbio accidentally poked Pereira in the eye. Pereira landed a cracking overhand right.
Ponzinibbio continued to be aggressive and push forward but missed the majority of his strikes. Pereira missed a wild strike but landed a low leg kick. Ponzinibbio landed a jab and then missed with a big left hand. Pereira briefly stunned Ponzinibbio with a right hand that landed right behind the ear. Ponzinibbio recovered and landed a kick. The two fighters traded right hands as the first round came to a close.
Pereira landed a nice combination to start the second round. Ponzinibbio continued to push the action but struggled to land. Periera landed a big body shot and followed it up with a powerful kick to the body. Periera was significantly more accurate with his punches. Ponzinibbio landed a nice combination but Periera returned with power. Ponzinibbio landed a trio of big lefts that slowed Periera down. Both fighters noses started to bleed in the middle of the second round. Ponzinibbio landed a double leg takedown with 17 seconds remaining in the round.
Periera opened the final round aggressively coming across the cage. Periera landed a big right hand and a knee but Ponzinibbio was able to survive. Ponzinibbio landed a left hand but ate a leg kick. Ponzinibbio landed a combination. The two fighters continued to trade punches. Ponzinibbio landed more punches than Periera, who landed the more powerful punches.
With less than two minutes remaining both fighters started swinging wildly. The two traded jabs and kicks to the body. Ponzinibbio landed a big left hook with less than a minute remaining. Periera returned with power. The final 30 seconds were all action as the two fighters traded punches as they attempted to win an extremely close fight.
UFC Vegas 55: Michael Pereira wins by split decision over Santiago Ponzinibbio
At the end of 2018, Ponzinibbio was on a seven-fight winning streak and looked like a future title contender. However, injuries would derail Ponzinibbio’s career and keep him sidelined for 26 months. Since returning to action, Ponzinibbio has struggled, losing two of his three fights in 2021. In his last fight, Ponzinibbio lost a split decision to Geoff Neal at UFC 269, dropping him to 14th in the rankings.
Pereira entered Saturday’s fight on a four-fight winning streak. The unpredictable Brazilian fighter defeated Andre Fialho by decision at UFC 270.