A welterweight showdown between Gunnar Nelson (16-2-1) and Argentine Santiago Ponzinibbio (24-3) has been announced as the featured attraction for the UFC’s return to Glasgow in July.
The match-up between Nelson and Ponzinibbio seems to have come somewhat out of left-field, since the Icelander and his team had been vocal in recent weeks about seeking a fight with a high-ranking opponent following Nelson’s second round submission of Alan Jouban in London last March. However, Thompson’s camp made it clear they weren’t interested in a bout with Nelson at this time and that has left the door ajar for Santiago Ponzinibbio to step in for his maiden UFC main event fight.
Ponzinibbio, a former cast member on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, has 6 UFC wins against 2 defeat on his ledger, including a current four-fight win streak which includes wins over Nordine Taleb, Zak Cummings and Court McGee. Indeed, it looked as though the Argentine was on his way to winning his season of TUF but a broken hand suffered in the semi-final win over Leonardo Santos ruled him out of the finals. Santos, who took his place, was eventually crowned the victor.
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Nelson, meanwhile, has won two straight since dropping a decision to Demian Maia 18 months ago and has looked to be in the form of his life while doing so. A year ago, Nelson put in a career best performance when he neutralised the potent striking game of Albert Tumenov before winning by submission in the second round. His bout with Jouban two months ago followed the same blueprint.
In addition to Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio, a women’s strawweight contest between Cynthia Calvillo and hometown favourite Joanne Calderwood has also been announced for the Glasgow event. Yeterday, the UFC announced that Dubliner Neil Seery would face Alexandre Pantoja in his retirement bout on the same card.
The event takes place inside the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 16th.