Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look ahead to the main event of UFC Fight Night 140 as top fifteen welterweights square off as Neil Magny heads down to Buenos Aires, Argentina to take on the best Argentine fighter in MMA today in Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Neil Magny (Record: 21-6, +262 Underdog, Power Ranking: B)
TUF alumnus Neil Magny lost in the semifinals of that season of the show. Nearly 20 fights into his UFC career, Magny is going strong having won three of his last four fights including victories over former welterweight champions Carlos Condit and Johny Hend
A USA Army veteran and Elevation Fight Team fighter, Neil Magny showed right away in his UFC career that he has a tremendous gas tank. Magny certainly won’t beat most fighters with power, but he’ll work at a consistent pace throughout a fight. Magny makes his opponents work and does an excellent job of wearing down his opposition. Another factor that works in Magny’s favor is that he has the longest reach in the welterweight division. At 80 inches, he’s a nightmare for opponents on the feet as they can’t get inside to land without taking damage of their own. Magny is excellent defensively absorbing just 2.04 significant strikes per minute; one of the lowest totals in the welterweight division. On the mat, Magny has been exposed by good grapplers. At just 60% takedown defense, Magny can be taken to the mat by strong wrestlers. Magny has some holes in his armor, but there’s also a lot to like about him as he has exceeded expectations during his time in the promotion.
Santiago Ponzinibbio (Record: 26-3, -332 Favorite, Fighter Grade: B)
The Argentine born fighter debuted TUF Brazil Season 2 making it to the finals, but broke his hand in the semifinal bout and was unable to compete for the top prize. Ponzinibbio has made the most of his time in the UFC. He has really turned it on over the last couple years having won six fights in a row in the promotion including wins over Gunnar Nelson and Mike Perry.
Santiago Ponzinibbio is one of the most exciting fighters in the welterweight division. He’s an action-oriented fighter that is always the aggressor on the feet. Ponzinibbio has good footwork and does well to force his fighters to strike with him. He throws with excellent volume landing 4.23 significant strikes per minute. In addition, he has good power with four knockouts during his time in the UFC. Ponzinibbio has made improvements to his takedown defense, but it’s still rather low compared to other ranked welterweights at just 57%. Ponzinibbio is durable having only been finished once in the last seven years; a 2015 TKO loss to Lorenz Larkin.
In what should be an excellent bout, top fifteen welterweights Neil Magny and Santiago Ponzinibbio square off in the first ever UFC main event in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is a bout between two fighters who have had their most success on the feet. Ponzinibbio will certainly be the aggressor, however he’s facing a fighter who has been difficult to hit. I would expect the Argentine to be buoyed by the home crowd and to real get after it early on this fight. He will be looking for the finish in the first two rounds as that is best opportunity to win this fight. The longer this fight goes on, the more it favors Magny who has a major endurance edge in this bout. Ultimately, this is a tough fight to call as Magny can be clipped and finished, but since he’s hard to hit there’s a possibility he survives early on and takes over in the later rounds. As currently priced, there’s value on Magny at +262. He may get knocked out in this fight, but he does have some big wins in enemy territory most notably Kelvin Gastelum in Mexico City. The moment is not too big for the US Army Veteran and as currently priced there is value on him to win the bout.