Geoff Neal earns split decision over Santiago Ponzinibbio

UFC 269: Geoff Neal defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio.

Geoff Neal defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27), at UFC 269 on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

“I really needed that. That was what I expect and that’s what he gave to me… Honestly, I’m not in a position to call my shot. That was my first ranked win,” said Neal.

The first round got off to a slow start as both fighters took their time feeling the other out. The fight was briefly stopped as the referee issued a warning to both fighters for leading with his fingers. The two fighters traded punches and kicks throughout a low output first round, with Neal winning most of the exchanges. Towards the end of the first round, the fight was stopped for a low blow from Neal. When the fight resumed with 21 seconds remaining in the round, Ponzinibbio was very aggressive landing a combination of kicks and punches.

The action in the second round picked up with Ponzinibbio continuing to be more aggressive. Ponzinibbio found success landing his right hand, eventually leading to a takedown. However, Neal was able to flip position and get back up to his feet. Ponzinibbio continued to attack with a right-left combination. Neal came forward and landed a left hand. Ponzinibbio was very upset, believing an eye poke was missed by the referee. Ponzinibbio land a powerful inside leg kick to end the round.

Neal opened the final round on a strong note, appearing to hurt Ponzinibbio with an over-the-top right hook. Ponzinibbio was able to fight his way out of danger but Neal landed a near-identical punch. A cut was opened up above the eye of Neal. Ponzinibbio landed a right hand followed by a left hook. Neal continued to push forward and continued to be aggressive. The two fighters continued to stand and trade with both fighters landing. Ponzinibbio landed an inside leg kick but Neal fired back with a straight left. With 75 seconds remaining in the fight, both of the fighters decided to open up and go for it. Neal landed a combination that appeared to hurt Ponzinibbio. The Argentine fighter was off balance. Neal continued to push forward, looking to win the round and the fight.

Despite being arrested and charged with driving under the influence on Nov. 25, Neal was allowed to stay on the UFC 269 card. The arrest only increased the pressure on Neal, who entered the Octagon on a two-fight losing streak, losing to Stephen Thompson and Neil Magny.

Ponzinibbio entered Saturday as the UFC’s 14th ranked welterweight, two spots behind Neal. In his last fight, Ponzinibbio defeated Miguel Baeza and earned a fight of the night bonus. The win was Ponzinibbio’s seventh win in his previous eight fights.

UFC 269 took place on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided MMA, who is on-site, for all your news and highlights.

Source: FanSided

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