A bout between veteran welterweights that has been booked twice before and never materialized is finally going to happen as “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit and Matt “The Immortal” Brown will throw down this weekend.
Condit ended a nearly two-year hiatus in October, returning to the Octagon and the win column with a unanimous decision victory over Court McGee, snapping a five-fight losing streak that stretched all the way back to his UFC 195 title fight loss to Robbie Lawler. The former interim champion and WEC titleholder looked sharp and engaged, taking the best McGee had to offer and responding in kind en route to a sweep of the scorecards.
Brown ended a two-year hiatus the previous year, returning at UFC 245 to collect a second-round stoppage win over Ben Saunders, but wasn’t as fortunate in 2020. After rocking youngster Miguel Baeza early in their May clash in Jacksonville, the former Ultimate Fighter contestant landed on the wrong side of a rally, as the promising newcomer regained his wits, turned the tables in the second half of the first round, and earned the finish 18 seconds into the middle stanza.
While their days as title contenders are certainly behind them, both of these veterans have made a career of delivering entertaining fights each and every time they grace the Octagon, and no one should expect any different this weekend.
A returning contender looks to re-establish his place in the welterweight pecking order on Saturday as Santiago Ponzinibbio makes his first appearance since the end of 2018 in a clash with Chinese stalwart Li Jingliang.
The 34-year-old Ponzinibbio hasn’t fought since earning a fourth-round stoppage win over Neil Magny on November 17, 2018, a victory that pushed his winning streak to seven. The Argentinian has faced numerous medical hurdles since then but is finally healthy and eager to continue his march towards the top of the division.
Li also hasn’t fought since facing Neil Magny, but that came last March at UFC 248, when the veteran landed on the wrong side of the cards against the durable Elevation Fight Team member. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for “The Leech,” who has won seven of his last nine bouts and is beginning his eighth year on the UFC roster.
This is an incredibly compelling and critical fight in the 170-pound weight class as Ponzinibbio was in the thick of the title chase before encountering his various medical issues and could be an immediate dark horse contender in the division if he adds an eighth consecutive victory to his resume this weekend.
That said, Li has made considerable strides over the last couple years and entered his UFC 248 bout with Magny as the betting favorite, so a return to the win column and an impressive outing against the “Argentine Dagger” could quickly get him moving in the right direction again.