When Mike Perry steps inside of the Octagon at UFC on FOX 26 on Dec. 16 live on FOX from inside Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Canada, he’ll have the opportunity to overthrow rising welterweight contender Santiago Ponzinibbio.
The main card tilt is undoubtedly Perry’s biggest test to date and a challenge he’s been waiting to conquer for a long time. In fact, the idea of defeating Ponzinibbio, who is coming off a scintillating knockout win over Icelandic contender Gunnar Nelson, offers a sense of redemption for “Platinum.”
“I seen that fight with Gunnar Nelson and it’s just another blessing, man,” Perry said during a Facebook Live interview with Dan Hardy ahead of UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk, Poland. “I guess I love that word, huh? It’s just a true thing that so many good things happen to me. It’s the fight I want. I got a game opponent that steps forward. We all know I come forward. I come to fight. I’m down to take one or two just to land one good one. Santiago [Ponzinibbio] is going to move forward and I’m going to hit him and we’ll see what happens when that happens. It’s kind of redemption for me to beat the guy, who beat the guy, who beat the guy.”
Perry, 26, has quickly ascended the UFC’s 170-pound ladder with four crushing knockout victories, including a Performance of the Night finish over veteran Jake Ellenberger. The hard-hitting gunslinger was scheduled to step up in competition and fight former title challenger Thiago Alves at UFC Fight Night 116 this past September, but “Pitbull” pulled out and Perry was left to quickly dispose of Octagon newcomer Alex Reyes.
With Ponzinibbio on deck, “Platinum” again has an opportunity to defeat a contender higher than him in the pecking order. And considering Ponzinibbio locked down the biggest win of his career when he flattened “Gunni” back in July, Perry finds himself in a good position entering UFC on FOX 26.
“People thought Gunnar Nelson was definitely the next champ,” Perry explained. “For sure. His ability in the Octagon, ground game, striking, trains with Conor McGregor — the super notorious biggest fighter in MMA, the biggest draw, the money man — and he’s right there with him. Calm and relaxed. That’s a weird thing that he has, how clam and relaxed he is that people fear. And here comes this Argentinian and he knocked him out in the first round and I’m going to do the same to him. It’s funny how the world turns.”
If “Platinum” is able to continue winning fights in devastating fashion and puts the Argentinian to sleep this December, he’ll put himself on a growing list of exciting title contenders entering 2018. But Ponzinibbio is an extremely dangerous opponent who packs a similar punch, so Perry must proceed with caution.
UFC on FOX 26 will be headlined by a welterweight clash between former divisional king Robbie Lawler and former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.
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