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Debate

Is Santiago Ponzinibbio's striking overrated, or is he the real deal in the UFC?

It’s been an up-and-down experience for 170-pound stalwart Santiago Ponzinibbio, who hasn’t found much success recently. But in the quest to make it to the title picture, the Argentine is returning to action this weekend after a 14-month hiatus. As he’ll but heads against Muslim Salikhov, someone who’s had a recent record similar to Ponzinibbio, we’ll take a look at ‘Argentine Dagger’s fighting style and credentials.

Santiago Ponzinibbio’s been in the fight game for a lot more than most guys in the UFC – 16 years. And guess what? For almost 11 of those years, he’s been associated with Dana White‘s $12.1 billion promotion. That’s a serious amount of experience the 37-year-old’s got there. Now, here’s a look at the evolution of Ponzinibbio’s fighting style over the years.

What type of fighter is Santiago Ponzinibbio?

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Santiago Ponzinibbio’s UFC profile simply states that he’s a striker. His record substantiates that fact as the ‘Argentine Dagger’ has 16 career knockouts, and he has registered six of them fighting under the UFC banner since 2013. Ponzinibbio’s striking prowess comes from his background in kickboxing, which he started back when he just made the leap to becoming a teenager – at 13 years old.

Poll of the day

What defines Santiago Ponzinibbio's fighting style the most?

Striking

Wrestling

Versatility

Aggressiveness

In addition to kickboxing, boxing was also essential for Santiago Ponzinibbio to develop a better grip on his striking skills because most of his knockouts have come from his ability to throw some precise and strong punches. The Argentine’s striking accuracy, according to his UFC Stats page, is 42 percent and his striking defense is even better, standing at 62 percent.

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That, however, is not the only aspect of his fighting style because Ponzinibbio possesses skills that would make most people call him a complete fighter. We’re referring to the fact that he’s also pretty good at grappling, especially in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Does the South American MMA star have a BJJ Black belt?

Yes, Santiago Ponzinibbio has achieved the coveted black belt status in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but under which instructor he earned his belt is not known. Recording a tally of 22 career finishes, not many UFC fans would know that the 37-year-old has 6 victories that he earned from submissions. Another fun fact is that the ‘Argentine Dagger’ has never tasted submission defeat in his entire UFC career so far.

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Many fighters, past and present, have shown how grappling can change the game, helping take control of a fight in MMA, as we’ve seen with Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jones and so many more. But it’s safe to say that’s not Santiago Ponzinibbio’s cup of tea. The welterweight star’s preference lies in making the most out of his striking and staying on his feet at all times. But will his striking be enough to edge past Muslim Salikhov, whose KO record is not that far behind?

This is a question that can only be answered this Saturday when the UFC comes to the Ball Arena in the Coloradan capital of Denver for UFC on ESPN 59. Nevertheless, what do you predict for this welterweight clash? Drop your comments below.