Gunnar Nelson has long fought in the shadows of his famous teammate Conor McGregor. With the Notorious one fighting outside MMA next, Nelson gets his chance to shine in the spotlight when he headlines UFC Fight Night 113 against Santiago Ponzinibbio on July 16th, 2017 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Not A High Profile Opponent
This wasn’t the high profile fight that Gunnar Nelson would’ve wanted but he’s headlining his second UFC event. Nelson is currently 8th in the welterweight rankings and he was hoping to fight someone above him to move him closer to a title shot. Instead he faces the dangerous Santiago Ponzinibbio who is ranked 6 spots lower than him at #14.
Nelson has a 7-2 UFC record and has lost just once since 2014. He has won two in a row since losing to Demian Maia in 2015. Nelson submitted Alan Jouban in his most recent bout last March. Ponzinibbio meanwhile has put together a string of four consecutive wins. His last defeat came against Lorenz Larkin in 2013 and has won six of his last seven bouts. The TUF Brazil alumnus is looking to barge into the Top 10 and a high profile win over Nelson will get him noticed.
Identical Size, Different Styles
Gunnar Nelson is the slight favorite in this contest at -227. His opponent Ponzinibbio is currently the underdog at +175. These are two welterweights who are almost identical in size but very different in styles. Ponzinibbio is a very aggressive volume striker who lands 4.03 significant strikes per minute. Nelson meanwhile, averages just 1.98 significant strikes per minute but has the significant advantage in grappling. The SBG Ireland product averages 1.67 takedowns per fifteen minutes while Ponzinibbio almost has a non-existent takedown game at just 0.19 per fifteen minutes.
Everyone knows what they’re getting with Gunnar Nelson. He’s an excellent grappler who will grind you to the ground. Gunny has won his last five bouts by submission and has earned performance of the night honors in his last two victories. Gunnar Nelson has never been finished in his career.
Ponzinibbio has never lost by submission and has finished 11 of 14 opponents so it will be interesting to see which style gives here. Look for Ponzinibbio to keep the fight standing up, with him utilizing a lot of leg kicks to score points. Nelson meanwhile will try to make this a grappling contest and force Ponzinibbio to fight on the ground where he isn’t really comfortable at. Nelson will make Ponzinibbio fight out of the clinch to limit his striking and movement. We think it’s going to be a frustrating night for Ponzinibbio.
We’re picking Gunnar Nelson to win by submission or ground and pound stoppage.