Santiago Ponzinibbio: From Near Death to Nearing a Return

Jan 12, 2021
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On Jan. 16, at UFC on ABC 1, Santiago Ponzinibbio will step inside the Octagon for the first time in 26-months. The Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight’s odyssey back to action was not about a few torn ligaments or a nasty contract dispute. Sure, 2020 was not a good year for him either—for obvious reasons—but before a global pandemic put many lives in danger, the 34-year-old had a battle with a mystery illness that took him most of 2019 to solve, and even made him ponder his own mortality.

“They put me in a separate room that nobody could go inside, and they tried to figure out what’s happened. I had a [high fever] for three days. I can’t eat, and I start to lose [weight]. I lost, maybe 25-pounds. I remember, the doctor was very scared and made me think I was going to die. They didn’t understand what was happening, they couldn’t bring my fever down. I stayed in the hospital eight or nine days.”

In his conversation with Sherdog, the Argentinian talent went into detail about the various stages of his 2019 from hell, fearing for his life and his return fight on Fight Island with Jingliang Li.

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