After leaving home to pursue MMA, Ponzinibbio returns as a headliner

After leaving home to pursue MMA, Ponzinibbio returns as a headliner

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Any time a UFC athlete will get to battle at home, it’s a big deal. That is notably the case, nonetheless, for Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Ponzinibbio (26-Three) will headline UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Buenos Aires, reverse American welterweight Neil Magny (21-6). The televised event will mark the UFC’s first journey to Argentina.
The possibility to headline in his home nation is a specific one to Ponzinibbio, 32, notably since he wanted to depart the nation to pursue the sport.
“After I started, the sport was not trendy proper right here,” Ponzinibbio instructed ESPN. “People didn’t understand it. In case you wanted to review MMA method, you wanted to switch to America or Brazil. Finding out positions like ground-and-pound, working in a cage, specific to MMA – you wanted to go someplace else to get that knowledge.”
So, in his early 20s, that’s what Ponzinibbio did. Up until that point, his MMA teaching consisted of working with single-discipline companions, much like a boxer, kickboxer or wrestler. He studied straightforward strategies on the internet and took fights the place and when he might get them.
Even all through that time, he knew he needed to hunt greater teaching. So when a pal in Argentina instructed Ponzinibbio he was going to Brazil on journey, Ponzinibbio bummed a expertise with him. He ended up staying there until four years up to now, when he moved to the USA to educate at American Excessive Crew.
“Plenty of folks instructed me I was crazy,” Ponzinibbio acknowledged. “In my metropolis, school is free. You presumably can look at freed from cost. My mother and father instructed me, ‘You go to high school.’ Nonetheless I’ve quite a few energy and I knew this sport was my life.
“I went to a seaside in Brazil, appeared for guys with jiu-jitsu shirts and requested the place I’ll put together. It was crazy. Two or three guys instructed me nothing, then one man gave me a spot to educate. I had no papers. I lived for months on the seaside, transferring to utterly completely different locations. I purchased beer on the seaside. After that, I acquired paperwork to work, so I started working in a restaurant. There was no experience. I didn’t title my mother for one 12 months. New nation. New language. It was powerful.”
Neil Magny is coming off two consecutive wins moving into his headlining bout in Argentina this weekend. Alexandre Schneider /Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLCOn Saturday, plenty of Ponzinibbio’s relations and longtime buddies will see him compete dwell for the first time. Solely his two brothers have ever seen him battle dwell. His father may be in attendance for the first time.
A win will lengthen Ponzinibbio’s streak to seven and switch him nearer to a 170-pound title shot. It moreover will showcase Argentinian experience on the very best diploma of MMA – one factor Ponzinibbio was as quickly as instructed was unimaginable.
“As a result of the gyms get additional knowledge on this nation, Argentina will export additional fighters,” Ponzinibbio acknowledged. “I do know that. This is usually a nation of warriors.”

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