Li Jingliang got himself back to the win column after defeating Santiago Ponzinibbio in the third fight of the UFC Fight Island 7 main card. The Chinese MMA veteran now expects to enter the welterweight top-15 ranking after tonight's performance.
It was Ponzinibbio's first performance since 2018. The Argentine stayed out of the Octagon battling health issues for over two years.
Round 1: Promising to end the fight before the second round, Ponzinibbio took the initiative in this UFC Fight Island 7 welterweight bout.
Not showing any signs of rust after spending so much time out of action, Ponzinibbio displayed good reflexes and agility in his first few movements inside the Octagon.
The two fighters spent some time studying each other until engaging in the fight more actively. Li Jingliang connected some low kicks to Ponzinibbio's left leg throughout the first minutes of the battle.
Li Jingliang kept his hands moving and shifting his head side to side, canceling out Ponzinibbio's boxing game. The Chinese threw a couple of punches too, but none connected.
The trend continued until the last minute of the first round when Li Jingliang counter-attacked a missed punch from Ponzinibbio with a powerful left-hand hook.
Ponzibbio fell flat to the ground, unable to express any reaction.
Result: Li Jingliang defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio via knockout in the first round.
What's next for Li Jingliang?
Li Jingliang adds another positive performance to the 18-6 record he's accumulated with the UFC since joining in 2014. The 32-year-old UFC welterweight contender expects that the solid result against Santiago Ponzinibbio will get him a spot in the top-15 ranking.
Like Ponzinibbio's, Li Jingliang's last appearance in the UFC came against Neil Magny. But he did not have the same positive result as his tonight's opponent on that occasion, as Magny defeated him via unanimous decision.