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When COVID-19 forced Muslim Salikhov to step out, Jingliang Li stepped up.
Li will confront Santiago Ponzinibbio as a short-notice replacement when the two men lock horns in a welterweight showcase at UFC on ABC 1 this Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The China Top Team standout finds himself on the rebound following a unanimous decision loss to Neil Magny in March—a setback that put an end to his three-fight winning streak. Ponzinibbio, meanwhile, has not competed since he knocked out Magny in the fourth round of their UFC Fight Night 140 main event in November 2018.
As Li and Ponzinibbio make their final preparations, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
34: Years of age for Ponzinibbio, who was born on Sept. 26, 1986 in La Plata, Argentina—the capital city of the country’s Buenos Aires province.
15: Ponzinibbio wins by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 56% of his career total (27). His list of victims includes Gunnar Nelson, Court McGee and Andreas Stahl. Ponzinibbio has six other victories by submission.
2,030: Days since Ponzinibbio last suffered a loss. He has rattled off seven straight wins since being punched out by Strikeforce and Bellator MMA veteran Lorenz Larkin at UFC Fight Night 70 on June 27, 2015.
14: First-round finishes on the Ponzinibbio resume. His 80-second knockout of Wendell de Oliveira Marques at UFC Fight Night 51 in September 2014 remains the fastest official stoppage of his career.
.773: Cumulative winning percentage between the three men—Larkin, Leonardo Mafra Texeira and Ryan LaFlare—who have defeated Ponzinibbio. They own a combined record of 51-15.
32: Years of age for Li, who was born in Tacheng, Xinjiang, China, on March 20, 1988.
4: Submission wins to Li’s credit, providing him with 24% of his professional total (17). All four resulted from guillotine chokes, as he throttled Liu Jin Wen, Yun Tao Gong, Tony Rossini and Luke Jumeau with the maneuver. Li has eight other victories by knockout or technical knockout.
5: Post-fight bonuses banked by Li in his 13 appearances since joining the UFC roster. He has been awarded “Performance of the Night” three times and “Fight of the Night” twice, resulting in $250,000 of additional income.
7: Countries in which Li has competed as a mixed martial artist during his 23-fight career. He has gone 11-2 in China, 3-1 in the United States, 2-0 in Singapore, 1-0 in the Philippines, 0-1 in Canada, 0-1 in Japan and 0-1 in Australia.
1: Submission loss on Li’s ledger. He was rendered unconscious by a Keita Nakamura rear-naked choke at UFC Fight Night 75 on Sept. 26, 2015. Li’s five other losses have all resulted in decisions.