Santiago is expected to make his Octagon return against Russian bruiser Muslim Salikhov at the upcoming “Fight Night” event on Jan. 16 in Las Vegas.
The power-punching Ponzinibbio (27-3) blasted his way to seven straight wins inside the Octagon, including back-to-back wins over Mike Perry and Neil Magny, but then lost nearly two years of his fighting prime due to injuries and other health-related issues.
"Santiago Ponzinibbio, you've been out for like 25 years. I don't know how you're still in the rankings. Hit my line."@bullyb170 wants Ponzinibbio to say his name 🕶 #UFCVegas3 pic.twitter.com/4AaDvpR67v
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 21, 2020
As for Salikhov – his UFC career got off to a rocky start following a submission loss to Alex Garcia at UFC Fight Night 122.
Then “The King of Kung Fu” has since rattled off four straight victories, including his decision win over Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos last July.
The UFC event on Jan. 16 will also feature a bantamweight showdown pitting Ricky Simon against Brian Kelleher, while Justin Tafa collides with Carlos Felipe in heavyweight action.