Michel Pereira had to battle it out through all three rounds but he fought his way to a split decision win over Santiago Ponzinibbio in the UFC Vegas 55 co-main event.
The fight’s main difference was Pereira’s power, as he attacked Ponzinibbio using the more difficult shots. However, both welterweights connected with many strikes in 15 minutes. When it was over, two judges scored the fight 30-27 and 29-28 for Pereira with the third official going 29-28 for Ponzinibbio.
Pereira won the fight and took home his fifth win in succession in UFC.
“Ponzinibbio, thank you very much my friend,” Pereira said. “You’re very strong, my friend. Thanks so much.”
With Ponzinibbio looking for kicks it was Pereira who connected with the first big strike in the fight after he caught the Argentinean fighter with a hard right hand counter punch. Ponzinibbio took the shot and continued forward, looking to make his opponent shorter and more powerful.
Pereira continued to find the right hands, and Ponzinibbio was forced to take extra care not to be tagged with one those flush-on-the-chin punches. Ponzinibbio seemed more willing to continue the fights than Pereira, but Pereira still had more power behind his punches.
Just when Pereira seemed to be on the brink of taking control, Ponzinibbio made a series of stinging lefts. This caught Pereira off guard. For a moment it looked like Pereira was rattled or perhaps losing some team.
In return, Pereira turned it around after he fired back with a straight punch that opened a cut on Ponzinibbio’s nose as the welterweights continued trading shots on the feet. A brief reset between the second and third rounds also allowed Pereira just enough time to get some energy back as he came out firing at the start of the final five minutes.
Once again, Pereira found success with his right hand over the top that just kept landing on target but Ponzinibbio had no plans to fade away. Ponzinibbio started to really up his output, which allowed him to clip Pereira with several combinations as he really began pouring on the pressure.
Pereira was not to be outdone. The welterweights traded blows right up until the last horn. Although it was an intense fight, two judges decided in favor of Pereira. Ponzinibbio, who seemed to be dejected after reading the scores, left the octagon shortly after they were announced. He clearly believed that he had earned the victory.
After getting his hand raised, Pereira was quick to target a couple of notable names in the welterweight division for his next fight.
“Now, I’m looking for top 15, Ponzinibbio. “Hey Nate [Diaz],, I’m available. Hey, Jorge Masvidal, come my friend. I’m talking. I need a fight with you.”