The UFC held its first event in the country of Argentina on Saturday, and the crowd went home happy, courtesy of Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Fighting out of La Plata, Argentina, Ponzinibbio (27-3) knocked out Neil Magny (21-7) with a vicious right hand to the chin at 2:36 of the fourth round. The welterweight contest headlined UFC Fight Night at Parque Roca Arena in Buenos Aires.
It was an emotional night for Ponzinibbio, who trains out of Coconut Creek, Florida. The 32-year-old moved to Brazil in his early 20s in pursuit of better MMA training. Before Saturday, Ponzinibbio hadn't fought in Argentina since 2010.
"He was a difficult guy to finish," Ponzinibbio said of Magny. "Long reach, difficult to finish. I keep patient and finish for my people. In 2019, I will give the shot for Argentina. This is my title shot. This is my belt."
Magny, who fights out of Denver, struggled to meet Ponzinibbio's pressure all night. Ponzinibbio hobbled him with leg kicks early, to the point that Magny could barely stand in the fourth round. Ponzinibbio scored three knockdowns in the fourth round alone, all due to leg kicks.
The greatest adversity Ponzinibbio faced came in the form of an accidental head-butt in the second round. The head-butt opened a deep cut on his left eyelid. Referee Herb Dean had the cut checked out, but it did not appear to slow Ponzinibbio's offense.
Ponzinibbio extends his win streak to seven with the victory. Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley does not currently have a fight booked, but he is expected to face Colby Covington in his next title defense. That did not stop Ponzinibbio from calling the champ out.
"Tyron, you are the real champion of this division, but you have not received my power," Ponzinibbio said. "I knock you out, and I am the next champion of the world."
Lamas snaps skid, finishes Elkins late
Lamas, of Chicago, noticeably hurt Elkins with leg kicks in the second round, but Elkins continued to march forward with punches. The pressure paid off for Elkins in spurts, but Lamas scored a key takedown in the final round, which eventually led to the final ground and pound.
It was only the third time Elkins, 34, had been finished by strikes in his 11-year professional career.
"Darren Elkins, I know him from back in the day. We used to train each other. The guy is an animal," Lamas said. "He's a monster. The guy does not stop. The plan was to be aggressively patient. Pick our spots because he can come back and win it at any time."