Is Ponzinibbio's fight against his infection the most heroic comeback in UFC history?

Santiago Ponzinibbio stirred up the UFC welterweight division when he went on a seven-fight winning streak back in 2018. Defeating Neil Magny with a knockout put Ponzinibbio on the UFC map. He was all set to fight for the championship title. But fate decided to intervene and Ponzinibbio had his health compromised. 

The Argentinean mixed martial artist had his hand injured back in 2018 and underwent surgery to fix it. However, that wasn’t the only medical problem that he suffered. A dangerous infection came his way right after that, which put him out of action for a couple of years. 

What happened to Santiago Ponzinibbio?


Article continues below this ad

The ‘Argentine Dagger’ faced quite a bit of issues with his health after his phenomenal 4th round victory over Magny. The Argentinean fighter found himself sidelined over the next few years with health issues, and things began to go haywire for Ponzinibbio when he found out that he was infected with two different bacteria.

Poll of the day

What do you think was the most shocking part of Santiago Ponzinibbio's injury story?

The severity of the infection

The long recovery time

Impact on his career

His determination to return

The welterweight star was infected with an epidemic bacteria as well as pseudomonas. Pseudomonas is an opportunistic germ. It is present in the soil and water bodies. And yes, it can cause a pretty serious infection which can also be fatal for patients with a weak immune system.

Ponzinibbio later revealed that he was hospitalized for about 8 days. But that stay wasn’t enough for the welterweight contender to heal. After he was discharged, he began losing weight and later developed a high fever that measured up to 103 degrees. The welterweight had to visit the hospital once again. 

With multiple infections and a constant fever, even the doctors began to panic. Ponzinibbio was hospitalized for an additional 10 days. He was put on medication and the therapy lasted for a month. After concluding the final round of therapy, he was given the green card to return to training. He had just begun working out but then came yet another hurdle.

He wasn’t able to regain the strength that he lost while in therapy. It seemed like his training was simply not working. The intense physical therapy sessions seemed to fail as well. Ponzinibbio was left in worry and as he sought medical help, he was greeted with another piece of bad news. Following an investigative MRI scan, the doctors told him that he had an infection in the bone. Ponzinibbio recollected, “The doctor said that, you have an infection in your bone and they said this is very dangerous. Maybe you can’t fight again.” 


Article continues below this ad

The Argentinean lost his muscle and strength. He was told that he would never be able to return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship and fight. The news doubtlessly devastated the ‘Argentine Dagger’. But that didn’t stop him. Let’s find out how he fared in the Octagon following his recovery.

Argentine MMA star’s record since his injury

Ponzinibbio returned to the MMA promotion in 2021 and fought Jingliang Li at UFC on ABC 1. Unfortunately, he faced a terrible defeat via KO within the very first round. But the next bout against Miguel Baeza was a win for the Argentinean via unanimous decision. He later faced two consecutive losses at the hands of Geoff Neal and Michel Pereira, both via split decision. But were these setbacks enough to take down Ponzinibbio’s spirits? Of course not! He went on to fight Alex Moreno at UFC 282 and rose victorious via a TKO by punches. Howbeit, his last bout against Kevin Holland at UFC 287 resulted in the 7th loss of his career.


Article continues below this ad

Now, Ponzinibbio is all set to turn his losing streak into a winning streak at UFC Denver against Muslim Salikhov. Salikhov is coming off a two-fight losing streak. With 19 victories and just 5 losses on his record, the Russian might give tough competition to Ponzinibbio. But will he be able to overcome it all? Only time can tell.

Do you know of anyone who conquered illness and won over the world after recovery? Let us know in the comments down below.