UFC welterweight contender Santiago Ponzinibbio has become the latest mixed martial arts fighter to test positive for COVID-19.
Ponzibbio is a member of American Top Team in Florida, which has seen a number of its team members including coach Mike Brown and bantamweight Pedro Munhoz test positive for the novel coronavirus. According to AG Fight, which confirmed the story, Ponzinibbio tested positive for the coronavirus during a recent test.
The news of Ponzinibbio testing positive for COVID-19 comes as a blow to the Argentinian, who was looking to make a return to the Octagon after a significant long layoff. A perennial top-15 welterweight, Ponzinibbio was removed from the rankings recently due to inactivity, as he hasn’t competed since a November 2018 KO win over Neil Magny. Overall, the 33-year-old Ponzinibbio has a 27-3 record in MMA including a mark of 9-2 in the UFC. In addition to Magny, he has notable wins over Mike Perry and Gunnar Nelson.
Ponzinibbio is currently riding a seven-fight win streak and whenever he does test negative for COVID-19 and can get back to training, he will be looking forward to getting his next fight in the Octagon booked. He was supposed to fight Robbie Lawler back at UFC 245 last December but fell off the card due to staph infection. Most recently, Ponzinibbio was called out by Geoff Neal, who is also without an opponent and having a hard time staying active.
If Ponzinibbio can get back to health in a timely fashion, there’s no reason he can’t make a run for the welterweight title. Although the division is stacked, his seven-fight win streak and his exciting fighting style mean the UFC will likely book him for a big fight upon his return. He will likely need another win or two to really jump into title contention in the stacked 170lbs division, but based on what we’ve seen from him in the Octagon over the years, there’s no reason he can’t make a run for the belt once he gets healthy again.
What do you think is next for Santiago Ponzinibbio?