Santiago Ponzinibbio has power.
That was the biggest takeaway as the Argentine welterweight took out Gunnar Nelson in the first round in UFC Fight Night 113's main event from The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Nelson—who is known for his world-class grappling—actually stunned Ponzinibbio with an early combination and left hand. However, Ponzinibbio wasted little time in showing his ability to stop a fight with a single punch.
As Nelson attempted to land a looping left hand, Ponzinibbio hammered home a straight right that shut out the lights on his opponent:
FOX Sports: UFC @UFCONFOX
LIGHTS! OUT! Santiago Ponzinibbio gets the biggest win of his career with a HUGE KO over Gunnar Nelson! #UFCGlasgow https://t.co/FTyjGX5j2z2017-7-16 21:44:07
Winning in the first round is nothing new for Ponzinibbio, who is now on a five-fight win streak. He's now racked up 15 wins inside the first round.
Meanwhile, defense has not always been Nelson's strong suit, as noted by Connor Ruebusch of Bloody Elbow:
Connor Ruebusch @BoxingBusch
Nelson came out pressuring, and Ponzinibbio resolved to meet him with a counter. Smart move. Defense is a serious weak point for Gunni.2017-7-16 21:46:05
After the bout, Ponzinibbio didn't shy away from putting the rest of the division on notice:
UFC Europe @UFCEurope
"I am the next champion of this division!" - @SPonzinibbioMMA at #UFCGlasgow https://t.co/geL5CuexKz2017-7-16 21:49:45
Ponzinibbio is a bit of an under-the-radar contender coming from Argentina. As the Guardian's Josh Gross notes, the country has a history of developing boxers, but Ponzinibbio is one of few MMA threats from the country:
Josh Gross @yay_yee
Gunner Nelson punched out by Santiago Ponzinibbio. Big tradition of Argentine boxers. Nice to see MMA fighters emerging from there as well.2017-7-16 21:47:17
The welterweight clash was just one of many fights from Scotland, though. The card offered an eclectic array of fights. From an emotional performance from a lightweight veteran to the emergence of a new challenger in the women's strawweight division, this card had a little bit of everything.
Here's a look at the complete results and a closer look at each of the main card bouts.
UFC Fight Night 113 Quick Results
Main Card (Fox Sports 1)
- Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Gunnar Nelson by KO at 1:22 of the first round
- Cynthia Calvillo def. Joanne Calderwood by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Paul Felder def. Stevie Ray by KO at 3:57 of the first round
- Jack Marshman def. Ryan Janes by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Khalil Rountree def. Paul Craig by KO at 4:56 of the first round
- Justin Willis def. James Mulheron by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
- Danny Roberts def. Bobby Nash by KO at 3:59 of the second round
- Alexandre Pantoja def. Neil Seery via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:31 of the third round
- Galore Bofando def. Charlie Ward by KO at 2:10 of the first round
- Danny Henry def. Daniel Teymur by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-26)
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
- Brett Johns def. Albert Morales by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
- Leslie Smith def. Amanda Lemos by TKO at 2:53 of the second round
Joanne Calderwood vs. Cynthia Calvillo
The co-main event was a high-stakes bout in the women's strawweight division. No. 8 Joanne Calderwood was fighting for a win in her home country, while No. 14 Cynthia Calvillo was fighting to prove that she belongs in the next tier of title contenders.
Calvillo's blend of athleticism and ground skills turned out to be the deciding factor in a unanimous decision win.
The first round showcased just how fun this matchup could be. Calderwood's gritty stand-up took the early parts of the round, but a Calvillo takedown opened up grappling exchanges that ended with her working for an armbar to close out the round:
UFC Canada @UFC_CA
OH! @cyn_calvillo goes for the armbar, but time runs out in the first at #UFCGlasgow! https://t.co/sehpAUcSsi2017-7-16 21:15:12
The second round was a collision of combinations as both fighters went to work on the feet. Calderwood controlled much of the round in terms of pace and spacing, but Calvillo proved she could hang with her in the stand-up department.
Calvillo's speed was enough to land hard shots and create a difficult round to score. Brett Okamoto of ESPN gave the round to Calderwood but acknowledged it could have gone either way:
Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN
I've got it tied ... although I didn't think that 2nd round was EASY to JoJo. Calvillo landed some hard punches there.2017-7-16 21:22:40
The third round looked a bit more like the first round as Calvillo engaged in the striking exchanges before finally moving on a takedown late in the round. After taking Calderwood's back, it was clear that the 30-year-old was going to secure the decision win.
The win makes Calvillo a perfect 6-0 in her career with three of those wins coming in the UFC. It's safe to say she'll be making a significant jump from No. 14 when the new UFC rankings come out. It might be time to see what Calvillo can do against elite competition.
Paul Felder vs. Stevie Ray
Stevie Ray came into his fight against Paul Felder as a hometown favorite fighting in front of his native Scotland. But he fought Paul Felder in the clinch.
Never fight Paul Felder in the clinch.
Ray went for an early takedown of Felder but found himself clinched against the cage. Rather than look to separate and set up his takedown attempt again, Felder was content to remain in the clinch game.
That's a place where Felder is great at attacking with elbows and knees. Ray found that out the hard way. Felder knocked out Ray with a vicious knee to the head, then followed up with even more strikes to create a somewhat late stoppage:
OOOHHHH!! Strong knee sets up the KO for @FelderPaul #UFCGlasgow https://t.co/qfE3S7xSOX2017-7-16 20:46:46
After the fight, Felder had nothing but positive things to say about Ray and the Scotland crowd:
UFC Europe @UFCEurope
Nothing but class from @felderpaul at #UFCGlasgow! https://t.co/Eh0BMrbany2017-7-16 20:51:41
It was a cool moment to see Felder win the fight. He dedicated the performance to his father, who died at the beginning of Felder's preparations for the bout. In addition to being a great tribute, this win should give Felder some forward momentum.
For Stevie Ray, this is a disappointing setback. Wins against Joe Lauzon and Ross Pearson had Ray ready to step up in competition, but the power and creativity of Felder are hard for any lightweight to deal with.
Jack Marshman vs. Ryan Janes
The middleweight bout between Jack Marshman and Ryan Janes was an all-out brawl.
There wasn't a takedown to be found in this one as both fighters were looking for the knockout. Marshman played the role of shorter, stockier power puncher, while Janes controlled the pace and looked to back Marshman up against the cage.
The action was fast-paced from the first round on:
They're going at it! Strong exchanges by both fighters! #UFCGlasgow https://t.co/FUjJWYyjNc2017-7-16 20:13:59
The difference between the two in this slugfest was defense. While Marshman was able to fend off a lot of Janes offensive, his opponent didn't use much head movement. This allowed Marshman to tee off and take two of the three rounds on the judges' scorecards.
UFC color commentator Kenny Florian noted the lack of defense from Janes:
Kenny Florian @kennyflorian
Janes is a one tough dude. Didn't move his head much but backing Marshman up certainly helped him take less damaging shots. #UFCGlasgow2017-7-16 20:28:04
This was a big bounce-back win from Marshman, as he was knocked out by Thiago Santos last time out. He'll need to continue to put together performances like this if he wants to make his mark in the middleweight division.
Paul Craig vs. Khalil Rountree
Paul Craig is an excellent submission fighter. Khalil Rountree gave him very little time to prove this fact.
Rountree established his power early on, and it paid dividends as Craig did little to engage the 27-year-old. With Craig unable to close the distance and get the fight to the ground, the dynamic striking of Rountree was on full display.
Ultimately, that's not a recipe for staying in the cage with the light heavyweight. UFC Canada passed on the finishing combination for Rountree, who stood over Craig's body for a while after watching him crumble to the mat:
UFC Canada @UFC_CA
BIG SHOTS! @War_khalil gets the KO win with seconds left in the 1st at #UFCGlasgow! https://t.co/acOJwUb9Yg2017-7-16 19:53:52
This is a big win for Rountree's stock as a prospect. His UFC run got off to a rough start with back-to-back losses, but he seems to be figuring things out. He's now won two fights in a row by first-round finish, with Craig representing one of his toughest outs yet.
The former BAMMA champion finds himself in a two-fight skid. After that showing, he's going to need to show some promise his next time out. This was simply not a good performance for him, as he did next to nothing before getting knocked out.
Justin Willis vs. James Mulheron
The card was kicked off by a matchup between UFC newcomers in the heavyweight division where Justin Willis showcased some promise with a unanimous-decision win.
Willis—who is every bit of the 265-pound weight limit in the class—was able to pick up the win according to all three judges. The big man showcased strong wrestling to pair with effective striking as he smothered the smaller James Mulheron.
Ruebusch suggested that the 243-pound Mulheron might not want to call heavyweight home in the UFC:
Connor Ruebusch @BoxingBusch
Welp, Willis was just too big and too powerful for Mulheron, who really should drop to 205 or lower (call Jared Cannonier for advice).2017-7-16 19:33:12
Willis, however, looked like a fighter to keep an eye on. The heavyweight division is one void of prospects, so it doesn't take much to make an impact. As the highlights provided by UFC on Fox show, Willis has a well-rounded game that should only get better against better competition.
FOX Sports: UFC @UFCONFOX
Justin @BigPrettyMMA Willis racks up another big win to raise his stock in the heavyweight division! #UFCGlasgow https://t.co/5Z6qaUORCm2017-7-16 19:37:51
The Scotland crowd saw the beginning of a heavyweight prospect's career in the UFC that could very well become something if he continues to improve.