Neil Magny’s night started out rough at UFC Argentina — and it only got worse from there.
Magny suffered a brutal fourth-round knockout loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio on Saturday night in the main event of UFC Argentina, which took place at the Estadio Mary Teran de Weiss in Ponzinibbio’s hometown of Buenos Aires. Ponzinibbio battered Magny with his jab and ripped apart the American’s legs with low kicks throughout the contest, to the point where Magny was barely able to stand throughout the latter half of the fight.
Due to the lopsided nature of the bout and Magny’s compromised lower half, there were plenty of critics online who voiced concern that either Magny’s corner or referee Herb Dean should’ve stopped the fight earlier to help protect Magny from himself. But speaking Saturday night at UFC Argentina’s post-fight press conference, Magny said that he was content with Dean’s stoppage and would’ve been disappointed if the contest was halted prior to Ponzinibbio’s fight-ending knockout shot.
“Live by the sword, die by the sword,” Magny explained. “I’m in there, I know to protect myself at all times. If I’m still in there, I’m still fighting. That choice is up to me or the referee, in case I’m not in the position to fight back or protect myself. But I think I would’ve been more disappointed in myself if I would’ve quit or if my coaches would’ve called it early. I’d rather fight tooth and nail until the last possible second and give it all I’ve got.”
Magny (21-7) has shown an ability to come back from a hellacious beating before, most notably in his 2016 win over Hector Lombard, but there were no such heroics to be had at UFC Argentina. Ponzinibbio outclassed Magny on the feet throughout the entirety of the contest, and even put Magny on notice early with a stiff jab that impeded Magny’s vision.
“That guy has some impressive timing and location on his punches,” Magny said. “He threw that jab and it caught me right in the eye and it made it pretty difficult to see, but hat’s off to him. He threw that punch perfectly. It landed right where it’s supposed to.”
Ponzinibbio continued to pour on his offense as the rounds went on, mixing in low kicks with powerful straight punches to drop Magny several times. His final shot was a thing of beauty: With Magny on wobbly legs and concerned about more low kicks, the Argentine connected with a monster right hand to the jaw that sent Magny tumbling to the canvas face-first. The official time of the stoppage was 2:36 of round four.
“His power’s impressive,” Magny said of Ponzinibbio. “Whether it was a jab or a cross or a hook, I was still looking up wondering where that punch came from. He has power in both hands, he speed in both hands, and he has good precision.
“The biggest thing was his own jab,” Magny added. “The placing of his jab was perfect. He landed it right on the eye, made it pretty difficult to see, and then he did a great job of timing my own jab and throwing that leg kick. I think the majority of the jabs I threw, he was able to counter with the leg kicks, so that was one of the main things that shut down my jab, my offense, and kinda forced me to retreat a little bit.”
Despite the scary nature of the knockout and the repeated damage Magny sustained to his legs, the 31-year-old welterweight veteran said his escaped from his battle against Ponzinibbio without suffering any significant injuries to his lower half.
“So far I [don’t seem to have] any injuries in my knee or ankle,” Magny said. “Mainly just bruising around my shins and calves, but that’s about it there.”