UFC Fight Night 140: The Real Winners and LosersNovember 18, 2018
UFC Fight Night 140: The Real Winners and Losers
UFC Fight Night 140 carried a let-down feeling about it.
Two weeks prior to Saturday's event, Daniel Cormier and Israel Adesanya brought down Madison Square Garden for UFC 230. The week after that, Yair Rodriguez hit an elbow for the ages on the Korean Zombie at UFC Fight Night 139.
Talk about tough acts to follow. How could UFC Fight Night 140, airing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, possibly compete?
You knew the fighters would try, even if the cast wasn’t so star-studded. In the main event, perpetually underrated Neil Magny worked to enter the welterweight contender circle with an upset of local kid and hyper-aggressive finisher Santiago Ponzinibbio. In the co-main event, grizzled veterans Ricardo Lamas and Darren Elkins, who was grizzled before he left the maternity ward, vied for continued relevance at 145 pounds.
Those were only two of the evening's 12 fights, and as usual, the final scorecards don't reveal all. These are the real winners and losers from UFC Fight Night 140.
Winner: Santiago Ponzinibbio
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new contender in the crowded UFC welterweight division.
Coming into this main event, according to the official UFC rankings, Neil Magny outranked Santiago Ponzinibbio—No. 8 to No. 10, respectively. However, gambling site OddsShark showed bookmakers had Ponzinibbio as a 27-50 favorite to take care of business in front of his home crowd.
The chalk won the day in Buenos Aires, as Ponzinibbio put on an electrifying performance and handled Magny in a fourth-round knockout victory.
Ponzi set the tone early by forcing Magny back against the cage; he essentially held him there for the duration of the fight. Magny attempted to circle out, but Ponzi stayed with him and wouldn't let him escape.
The Argentine battered Magny's lead leg. People who thought Ponzi would punch himself out were sorely mistaken. He brought it for the long haul, never allowed the smart and talented Magny to get his jab or wrestling game going. And Magny's leg took debilitating damage.
In the end, as Magny's leg was about to give out, Ponzi landed one last heavy right hand. Magny appeared out before he hit the canvas.
"This is for my people," Ponzinibbio told broadcaster Jimmy Smith after the fight. "This is my title shot, you know? This is my belt. This is my belt for 2019."
That's a big goal in such a nasty division. He called out champ Tyron Woodley; he'll need to take a number there.
Nevertheless, he has seven straight wins in the welterweight division. Next fight? How about the only man with a longer streak: Kamaru Usman. If Ponzinibbio wants to make a title run next year, those are the kinds of fighters he's going to have to face.
Winner: Ricardo Lamas
Ricardo Lamas and Darren Elkins are possibly the toughest fighters in the featherweight division.
These two knew each other coming in, having trained together at times. Speaking to Smith after the fight, Lamas acknowledged Elkins' legendary toughness and said his game plan was to be "aggressively patient" with the concrete-headed Indianan.
It worked. Lamas' wrestling has always keyed his attack, and so it went here. Elkins has never had UFC-elite skills in any particular category. Lamas exploited that over time and got the ground-and-pound TKO in the final minute of the fight. Aggressively patient.
We'll see what the future holds. Interestingly, Elkins and his otherworldly toughness may still be a bigger draw. But there are fights for Lamas. A rematch with Josh Emmett, who has an amazing recovery story, would make for compelling TV.
Loser: Alexandre Pantoja
By appearing on Fox Sports 1, this may well have been the defining fight for Alexandre Pantoja.
The Brazilian ran his overall record to 20-3 and his UFC mark to 4-1 when he tapped Ulka Sasaki in the first round with a rear-naked choke.
Pantoja is known more for his heavy hands, so it was impressive that he used his jiu-jitsu to finish a well-regarded grappler in Sasaki.
So what's the problem here? Why the loser tag? Well, unfortunately Pantoja is a flyweight. He can grab all the career-defining Ws he wants to grab, but with the potential dissolution of the UFC's 125-pound class an open secret around Buenos Aires, it may not mean much in a UFC context.
Good win, Alexandre. But you may want to polish up that resume nonetheless.
Winner: Ian Heinisch
Ian Heinisch was arguably the story of the card.
After a life of crime led him to a lengthy prison stay, Heinisch used MMA to help him clean things up. Hard work paid off with a berth on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series. A good showing there led him to Saturday.
In Argentina, Heinisch overcame Cezar "Mutante" Ferreira's grinding offense—if offense is what you want to call it—to earn the unanimous decision in his UFC debut proper. A knockdown in Round 2 and a damaging, if non-finishing, armbar in Round 1 were the signature moments of the fight.
"I needed to dig deep to win this fight," he told Smith after the fight. "And that's what I did."
UFC Fight Night 140 Full Card Results
Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Neil Magny by KO, 2:36, Rd. 4.
Ricardo Lamas def. Darren Elkins by TKO, 4:09, Rd. 3.
Johnny Walker def. Khail Rountree by KO, 1:57, Rd. 1.
Ian Heinisch def. Cezar Ferreira by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Marlon Vera def. Guido Cannetti by submission (rear-naked choke), 1:31, Rd. 2.
Cynthia Calvillo def. Poliana Botelho by submission (rear-naked choke), 4:48, Rd. 1.
Michel Prazeres def. Bartosz Fabinski by submission (rear-naked choke), 1:02, Rd. 1.
Alexandre Pantoja def. Ulka Sasaki by submission (rear-naked choke), 2:18, Rd. 1.
Austin Arnett def. Humberto Bandenay by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27).
Laureano Staropoli def. Hector Aldana by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Jesus Pinedo def. Devin Powell by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Nad Narimani def. Anderson dos Santos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Scott Harris covers MMA for Bleacher Report.