UFC Fight Night 61 Fight Breakdown: Sean Strickland vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio

SeanStrickland One of the main card bouts at UFC Fight Night 61 is a three-round welterweight bout between Sean Strickland and Santiago Ponzinibbio. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Strickland is a -165 favorite (bet $165 to win $100) while Ponzinibbio is a +145 underdog (bet $100 to win $145). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Strickland at -210 and Ponzinibbio at +160 and the public is on the dog Ponzinibbio so far. I actually like the favorite Strickland in the matchup and expect him to get his hand raised. Here’s why. Strickland (15-0) was a top prospect at middleweight and he will be making his welterweight debut in this fight. The 23-year-old American is undefeated in his career and has won 11 fights via stoppage. He is 2-0 in the UFC with a decision win over Luke Barnatt and a submission win over Bubba McDaniel. He looked incredible against McDaniel and although the Barnatt fight was lackluster for the spectators, Strickland did what he had to do to win. I am very high on Strickland and I see a bright future in the sport for him. At welterweight, I think he could soon break into the top 15, and with a standout win over Ponzinibbio, would prove all the doubters wrong. Ponzinibbio (19-2) is 1-1 in the UFC with a knockout win over Wendell Oliveira and a decision loss to Ryan LaFlare. The 28-year-old Argentinian is a product of TUF Brazil 2 and overall looks like a promising prospect. He looked awesome in his last outing against Oliveira, collecting a first-round knockout win, and overall has won eight of his last nine fights with the lone loss during that stretch coming to Ponzinibbio. With 11 T/KO and six submission victories to his name, Ponzinibbio is indeed a finisher, but you have to look at the opponents he’s defeated. He’s beaten mostly no-name fighters and in his highest-profile fight, was outpointed by LaFlare. Ponzinibbio is a good fighter but going up against a top prospect like Strickland, I can totally understand why he is the dog heading into the fight. Ponzinibbio is solid but I think Strickland is a special prospect who could really go far at 170lbs. I believe he will use a complete game of mixed martial arts to defeat Ponzinibbio, and I think this could look similar to Ponzinibbio’s fight with LaFlare. I think Strickland is going to use his striking and wrestling in conjunction with one another to really put on a statement performance for the fans and for the matchmakers and I think he could even get a stoppage. Ponzinibbio is tough and has heart so this fight could go to decision, but I think Strickland is going to get his hand raised at the end of 15 minutes or less, and I like him for a bet this weekend at the current price.

Written by Adam Martin.

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