Santiago Ponzinibbio will remain on the UFC’s first card of 2021 as he will met Li Jingliang on Jan.16. MMA Fighting was first to report the news of the fight.
Originally, Ponzinibbio was scheduled to fight Muslim Salikhov, but Salikhov withdrew from the fight after having COVID-19 symptoms.
Li was scheduled to fight at UFC 256 on Dec. 12 against Dwight Grant, but Grant was forced out of the fight when he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Ponzinibbio (27-3) has been inactive as of late with his last fight coming in November 2018. That fight was a main event in his home country of Argentina against Neil Magny. Ponzinibbio won the fight by a fourth-round knockout.
Following the win over Magny, the 34-year-old was going to fight Robbie Lawler in December 2019, but he was unable to fight after undergoing emergency surgery which left him hospitalized twice. He was finally cleared by a doctor to resume training in 2020 and as he was building up for an octagon return, he caught the coronavirus. He spoke to MyMMANews about his health issues in an interview in July.
Despite being unlucky outside of the cage as of late, he’s been dominate whenever he does fight as he’s currently on a seven-fight winning streak.
Li (17-6) is currently on an impressive run himself. He is 7-1 in his last eight outings and is coming off a third-round knockout win over Elizeu Zaleski in August 2019.
The UFC’s Jan. 16 event will be held on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi. The card will be headlined by featherweight bout between former champion Max Holloway and Calvin Katter.