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Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

UFC Denver Fight Card Preview, Odds and Predictions: Ponzinibbio vs. Salikhov

By meerna Jul11,2024
UFC Denver Fight Card Preview, Odds and Predictions: Ponzinibbio vs. Salikhov

A welterweight bout between two fighters looking to rebound from losses co-mains Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Denver, pitting Santiago Ponzinibbio against Muslim Salikhov.

Neither fighter is currently ranked in the top 15 in the UFC’s 170-pound weight class heading into the event.

UFC Denver takes place on Saturday, July 13 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. ESPN and ESPN+ will broadcast the full fight card. The main event is a women’s flyweight fight between former UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas and Tracy Cortez.

Below we take a closer look at the Ponzinibbio vs Salikhov clash.

Career

Santiago Ponzinibbio

Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-7) was 18-1 when he joined the UFC in November 2013 after his run on The Ultimate Fighter ended with a broken hand in the semifinals of the reality show. But Ponzinibbio’s wins in the “Fight of the Season” and “Knockout of the Season” bonuses impressed UFC brass enough to bring him on board. Ponzinibbio lost his UFC debut, losing a decision to Ryan LaFlare.

Ponzinibbio went 9-1 over the next four years, with his only loss coming via TKO to Lorenzo Larkin in 2015. The Argentine didn’t fight again until 2021, when Li Jingliang knocked him out in the first round. Ponzinibbio’s layoff was due to health issues that left doctors worried he’d ever fight again.

Ponzinibbio is 2-3 since that loss. The 37-year-old is coming off a knockout loss to Kevin Holland in April 2023.

Muslim Salikhov

Muslim Salikhov (19-5) had a 13-1 record when he signed with the UFC in 2017. Salikhov lost his UFC debut when Alex Garcia submitted him in the second round. After that loss, Salikhov went on a five-fight win streak. That streak ended in July 2022 when Li Jingliang knocked him out in the second round of their bout.

Since losing to Jingliang, the 40-year-old Salikhov is 1-2. He is on a two-fight losing streak, losing on points to Nicolas Dalby in 2023 and getting knocked out by Randy Brown in February of this year.

Ponzinibbio and Salikhov were scheduled to fight in 2021, but Salikhov withdrew from the bout after contracting COVID-19.

UFC Denver Betting Odds: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Muslim Salikhov

The initial odds for this fight were relatively close. That’s no longer the case as fight night approaches. When the UFC announced Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Muslim Salikhov, Ponzinibbio was a -148 favorite over Salikhov, who was at +124. Today, Ponzinibbio is a -225 favorite over Salikhov, who is at +150 as the underdog.

Important Statistics

Ponzinibbio is landing 4.90 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy of 41 percent. His strike defense is decent at 61 percent, but he is absorbing an average of 4.67 significant strikes per minute from his opponents. Ponzinibbio is attempting 0.48 takedowns per 15 minutes. He has a takedown efficiency of 30 percent and a takedown defense of 60 percent.

Salikhov is landing 3.36 significant strikes per minute. His striking accuracy is 51 percent. Defensively, Salikhov is absorbing 2.94 significant strikes per minute. His strike defense is 62 percent. Salikhov is landing 1.27 takedowns per 15 minutes and is landing 40 percent of his takedown attempts. Salikhov’s takedown defense is 73 percent.

UFC Denver Predictions and Picks: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Muslim Salikhov

Salikhov may have the speed and technique advantage in this fight, but he doesn’t have the stamina to sustain the kind of performance he’ll bring into the fight. If Ponzinibbio can stay patient and not get frustrated trying to force an attack, this is a fight he can lose. The odds are Ponzinibbio will win by decision.

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By meerna

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