Santiago “Argentine Dagger” Ponzinibbio, aged 36, is set to take on late replacement Alex “The Great White” Morono, who accepted the fight with less than a week’s notice. Ponzinibbio has lost his last two fights by split decision and is 2-3 in his last five fights. 21 of his 28 professional wins have come by way of knockout or submission, while three of his six losses have come by knockout. Morono, aged 32, is on a four-fight win streak, three of which were by decision. In his professional career, Morono has finished 12 of his 22 wins, and has been knocked out twice.
Despite being a late replacement fighter, Morono is a shorter dog than Ponzinibbio’s original opponent.
- Ponzinibbio: -180
- Morono: +155
Ponzinibbio has been in back-to-back close fights, which he arguably won. His fights are often close because of his blow-for-blow style. “Argentine Dagger” has real power, varied boxing, and a chin that can weather a storm, but, he is defensively porous, moves linearly, and struggles to absorb damage without reacting. In short, Ponzinibbio can dish out punishment but he tends to absorb a lot in return as well. Typically, Ponzinibbio looks to pressure forward with a wide boxing stance that helps him generate power in his strikes and keep the fight standing. He looks to take the center of the octagon and exchange heavy combinations with a willing dance partner; or, if he faces someone with a less brawl-focused mindset, Ponzinibbio will happily back his opponent up where he can tee off on them against the cage. When he lands cleanly, he lands with power and can deal real damage. But, as stated earlier, his action-packed offense comes at the expense of his defense. When Ponzinibbio is in a 50/50 brawl, he struggles to defend strikes and rarely moves his head. He becomes a stationary target that relies on his chin compared to defense. Once a successful strategy, as he’s aged and put more miles on the tires, Ponzinibbio has worn damage less successfully. He has only been knocked out once since 2015 but has been clipped and staggered with more regularity. Ponzinibbio is an experienced fighter who always has the danger factor of putting his opponent out cold but his lack of defense may be catching up with him.
Morono, always game for a fight, is taking this fight on less than a week’s notice. The first obstacle he’ll need to overcome is the weight cut; if he can successfully make weight without draining himself, this matchup against Ponzinibbio is a chance to take down a big name and possibly get a fight against a ranked fighter. Morono’s style makes this fight interesting because he is so well-rounded. Morono, like Ponzinibbio, is a crafty veteran who chains basic striking with basic wrestling to create a successful game plan. Typically, Morono fights with patience on the feet, picking his spots. Then, he’ll almost lunge forward and tries to land big looping power shots that can stun an opponent if they land. The problem is, these power shots are often slow and telegraphed so more technical or athletic strikers can successfully evade them. Once he blitz’s forward, Morono is adept at following his momentum into a clinch or takedown attempt. He may not always be successful with the attempt but the ability to mix up his game plan forces opponents to have a well-rounded defensive game. Defensively, himself, is where Morono struggles. He keeps a high but strangely wide striking guard that technical strikers can pierce through with straight punches. Moreover, because of his less-than-athletic blitz striking, athletic opponents or opponents with fundamental footwork are able to step out of the way of his strikes and counter him cleanly. Like Ponzinibbio, Morono has only been knocked out once since 2014; so, despite him being hittable, he can and has absorbed damage even if he doesn’t always wear it well.
Ponzinibbio and Morono fight in a similar way: linear striking with minimal defense but a reliable chin. But, athletically and technically, these two are worlds apart. Even at his age, Ponzinibbio is quick and explosive. He is also the much more technical fighter. Morono could win this fight by capitalizing on Ponzinibbio’s poor movement, backing him in the cage, and clinching for long periods of time. But I think Ponzinibbio will be able to tag Morono on his entries and Morono won’t have the cardio, on six days notice, to keep the pressure up. Look for Ponzinibbio to take over late for a 3rd round finish or decision win.
Pick: Ponzinibbio to win
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.