UFC Vegas 55 Co-Main First Look: Ponzinibbio vs. Pereira, Betting Picks, Odds and Predictions

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Santiago Ponzinibbio of Argentina. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

The UFC returns to our screens for another action-filled Fight Night event. Welterweight contenders Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michel Pereira will compete in the evening’s co-main event. Read on for our complete betting guide taking a first look at Ponzinibbio and Pereira, including updated UFC odds.

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Michel Pereira  

UFC Welterweight Co-Main Event Bout  

Saturday, May 21, 2022 – 09:05 PM at UFC Apex

Santiago Ponzinibbio  

  • Pro MMA Record: (28-5-0) (17 KOs, 6 submissions) 
  • Age: 35 
  • Height: 6'0" 
  • Reach: 73.0" 
  • Trains With: American Top Team 
  • Origin Fighting Style: Kickboxing 

Argentine kickboxing standout Santiago Ponzinibbio has enjoyed a successful tenure inside the UFC for the most part, debuting in the promotion following his impressive outing on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 2 in 2013 – which subsequently came to an end due to an injury in the semi-finals.  

Ponz has obtained a 9-4 record over the previous eight years fighting under the UFC banner, but after a lengthy layoff between 2018-2021, the American Top Team member has recorded a 1-2 losing streak. With that said, his previous split decision loss to Geoff Neal is still up for debate, and I believe he should’ve walked away with the nod.  

Aged 35, it seems like Ponz has surpassed his prime fighting years; however, this doesn’t remove the offensive striking prowess he’s capable of delivering, and it wouldn’t be crazy to believe a top-10 ranking is obtainable during this stage of his career.   

Santiago Ponzinibbio Odds: (+104) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review

Michel Pereira   

  • Pro MMA Record: (27-11-1) (12 KOs, 2 submissions) 
  • Age: 28 
  • Height: 6'1" 
  • Reach: 73.0" 
  • Trains With: Scorpion Fighting System 
  • Origin Fighting Style: Karate  

If you aren’t familiar with the name Michel Pereira by now, you’ve likely been living under a rock. Despite toning down his wild style in recent contests, Pereira made a name for himself inside the UFC octagon with a unique flair and unorthodox skillset.

To make sure nobody would forget his name, Pereira was throwing showtime kicks and superman punches in his UFC debut to eventually win the bout via knockout.  

Pereira’s initial two UFC bouts were awarded Performance of the Night bonuses; needless to say; he enjoys entertaining the fans with his fighting style.  

As Pereira is on the brink of reaching a top-15 ranking, his unpredictable antics have undoubtedly been toned down, and this should be no surprise as this approach was taxing on the body. With that said, his game planning has obviously worked as he’s on a four-fight win streak.

Don’t count out Pereira from throwing an illusive attack or two, but the 28-year-old has grown inside the octagon and has become more composed since gaining a notable streak of successive victories.   

Michel Pereira Odds: (-120) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

Ponzinibbio Fight Style and How Can Ponz Defeat Pereira? 

Ponzinibbio is naturally a kickboxer who enjoys picking his shots at range; he fights best when moving forward whilst keeping a distance and maintaining a range where his combinations can reign down.  

I expect the pressure game to be a viable path to defeat Pereira. Ponz should avoid scrappy slugfests inside the pocket where his chin has been previously tested and do what he does best by dictating the range and pace of the fight.  

Pereira Fight Style and How Can Pereira Defeat Ponzinibbio? 

Pereira has delivered many entertaining striking battles that we often neglect his jiu-jitsu and grappling attributes. Should he turn a striking battle into a grappling one, it could turn out to be the best path to victory for the Brazilian.   

Ponzinibbio vs. Pereira Betting Prediction and UFC Vegas 55 Odds 

The available odds at Bookmakers Review are slightly in favor of Pereira, but this is basically a pick’em. And I agree that it’s difficult to predict a winner between these two talented fighters.  

Argentina vs. Brazil is usually a South American rivalry that takes place on the soccer pitch. Still, this weekend the world of mixed martial arts is likely to produce an absolute war between the Argentine in Ponzinibbio and the Brazilian Pereira.   

When combining the extensive professional records of both fighters – that exceeds 60 pro bouts – you’ll notice that a mere three knockout losses have taken place. Pereira has evolved into a sensible fighter, and his durability is solid; likewise, Ponzinibbio has the defensive mindset to keep himself away from those sticky situations inside the pocket.

For this reason, wagering on the over 2 ½ rounds feels like the spot in what could be a close split decision contest.   

UFC Pick: Over 2 ½ Rounds (-160) [1.60u returns 1u profit] at Heritage Sports 

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.