Rafael dos Anjos has fought many, top tier fighters during his carer, but it sounds like Santiago Ponzinibbio isn’t so sure the former lightweight champ was really interested in facing him, November 17th.
Ponzinibbio is booked to fight Neil Magny on that night, at UFC FN 140, which will go down in Buenos Aires. It’s a huge opportunity and platform for Ponzinibbio, who is form Argentina.
Well, originally Santiago challenged RDA to throw hands at the upcoming event. But, the latter countered by saying he’d face the Argentine fighter closer to his home in California, like Las Vegas or Los Angeles. RDA’s wife is reportedly pregnant, and as a result, he doesn’t want to be fighting too far away.
More recently, Ponzinibbio spoke with MMA Fighting, and he had this to say about RDA’s response:
“If you say the fight is in Mexico, OK I understand,” Ponzinibbio said. “You have a big altitude. You need to go two, maybe three weeks before the fight. But in Argentina, you don’t have altitude, you don’t have a different time zone than your country. In Argentina, you fight Saturday and you’re back Sunday. It’s the same shit if he fought in Las Vegas or in LA.”
“This is not a real excuse, this is a stupid excuse,” Ponzinibbio added. “It’s stupid. I don’t know, man. I don’t know what the UFC said to RDA about taking the fight. But the excuse of RDA is ridiculous.”
There you have it. Now, could RDA really be just offering up an excuse? As a means to avoid fighting Ponzinibbio? There’s a couple of things to consider.
While it is true that RDA could in theory, be back the next day after facing Ponzinibbio, and that Argentina’s not that far from Cali, you can understand why the Brazilian star has reservations. After all, logistically speaking, getting to and from Vegas or L.A. is much easier, considering he resides in Cali. Plus, there’s also all the media events to consider, that are tied to a main event.
Further, from a ranking’s perspective, RDA has little to gain from facing Santiago, as the two are ranked #3 and #10 respectively. Yes, RDA was defeated by Colby Covington last time out, but, there’s a lot of risk, and not too much reward, in facing Ponzinibbio right now.
So, did dos Anjos duck Ponzinibbio because he’s worried about getting bombed out by the latter? As noted off the top, when you consider who RDA’s fought to date, that’s hard to imagine. This is a guy, let’s remember, who dominated Robbie Lawler just last December.
When you look at all the factors at play here, it’s hard to fault RDA for passing on this particular bout.