Ryan LaFlare vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio

Our first welterweight match of the evening features Ryan LaFlare (8-0) putting his undefeated record on the line against Santiago Ponzinibbio (18-1), a veteran of TUF: Brazil.

The referee will be Mr. Heart-Hands, Mario Yamasaki. Ponzinibbio was a finalist on TUF: Brazil, but was forced to withdraw due to a broken hand.

Round 1: We’ve yet to make it the distance through six fights, and these two are both going for the finish early, as well. Perfectly-executed combo from LaFlare to start, and he quickly scores a takedown. As Jon Anik just stated, he was a lacrosse standout in college, along with an accomplished wrestler. LaFlare into the mount and lands a stiff left to the chin. The crowd is urging Ponzinibbio on, but the American is in complete control. Ponzinibbio tries to get out, and LaFlare grabs a heel to bring him back to the canvas. LaFlare gets out of position for an armbar, and it costs him, as Ponzinibbio gets free and takes the back quickly. LaFlare, though, uses his wrestling and scrambles to gain the top position once again.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for LaFlare

Round 2: Nice sprawl by Ponzinibbio, but LaFlare still gets the takedown and is dominating the Brazilian, landing a pair of nice knees while he gets to his feet. Stiff right hand to the body and a follow-up to the head. LaFlare taking advantage of a tired opponent, as Ponzinibbio isn’t able to put anything together; just relying on big rights and kicks to work his offense. LaFlare, meanwhile, is mixing and changing strikes and levels. Just like that, here comes the Brazilian, flying at LaFlare and throwing heavy shots now. Maybe he was just waiting for the right time to attack. Left hook lands and the crowd is getting behind him. LaFlare scores with a takedown as we head under a minute left in this round. If he can do some damage in this position, he might be able to steal back the round.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Ponzinibbio

Round 3: Here we go. This could be the deciding round for the winner, as I have it tied 1-all going to the third. LaFlare hit with an eye poke, but he wants no stop in time. He is moving much better than Ponzinibbio, who is being forced to defend and not attack. Spinning attack by Ponzinibbio and LaFlare telegraphs it into a takedown, slamming Ponzinibbio down to the canvas. LaFlare to side control and he is working to advance his position and look for a potential submission. Nice knee to the body by LaFlare while the two are on the ground. Short elbows find the face of Ponzinibbio, who is clawing and trying to get to his feet. LaFlare lands some big shots as the Brazilian gets to his feet, but a huge knee to the side of the body floors Ponzinibbio. LaFlare attacks, but Ponzinibbio is surviving somehow. Tons of shots by LaFlare are getting through, including knees to the midsection. Elbow gets dropped down on the face of Ponzinibbio, who gets to his feet again. No idea how, and the crowd reacts to his toughness. LaFlare gets caught with an uppercut as we head under 30 seconds.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for LaFlare

Ryan LaFlare def. Santiago Ponzinibbio via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)