Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Michel Pereira Odds, UFC Picks, Predictions: How To Bet Saturday’s Fight (May 21)

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Michel Pereira Odds, UFC Picks, Predictions: How To Bet Saturday’s Fight (May 21) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Santiago Ponzinibbio, Michel Pereira

  • The next edition of UFC Fight Night features a co-main event between welterweights Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michel Pereira.
  • Our betting analyst breaks down the fight below, complete with picks and predictions based on the odds.

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Michel Pereira Odds

Ponzinibbio Odds+122
Pereira Odds-150
Over/Under2.5 (-215 / +164)
TimeApprox. 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday and via FanDuel.

Michel "Demolidor" Pereira takes on "The Argentinian Dagger" Santiago Ponzinibbio in the co-main event on Saturday night. This one promises tons of actions, with both welterweights packing big power and throwing with above-average volume.

Pereira is known for his flashy fighting style, mixing in superman punches, flying attacks, and even a backflip guard pass into his arsenal. Will Pereira's unorthodox striking rule the day? Or will Ponzinibbio be able to solve his tricky style?

I'll break it all down below, with my favorite bet for the fight.

Tale of the Tape

Record29-527-11 (2 NC)
Avg. Fight Time10:2812:48
Weight (pounds)170170
Reach (inches)73"73"
Date of birth9/26/8610/6/93
Sig Strikes Per Min4.794.71
SS Accuracy40%55%
SS Absorbed Per Min4.513.24
SS Defense61%60%
Take Down Avg.0.511.84
TD Acc33%55%
TD Def60%100%
Submission Avg0.00.7

Pereira's unorthodox striking has served him well on his current four-fight win streak. He's a tricky puzzle for opponents to solve, as it's impossible to tell where the next attack is coming from.

What's been particularly impressive, though, is his ability to sustain his style deep into fights. In his most recent fight against Andre Fialho, he won both the second and third rounds on all three judges scorecards.

Strikers like Pereira use far more energy in their attacks than a more traditional boxer or kickboxer, but it hasn't been an issue for him thus far in his UFC career.

He also does a great job of mixing in takedowns to seal close rounds, which could be a big factor if this one goes to a decision. It's expected to, with -150 or so odds, depending on the sportsbook.

Ponzinibbio, on the other hand, has very little interest in bringing fights to the ground.  He has average takedown defense, but it's likely that Pereira is able to find one of two throughout this one.

What Ponzinibbio has, though, is big power — his knockdown rate is roughly three times the UFC average. If he can find Pereira's chin, Ponzinibbio can have some success here. While that's easier said than done, Ponzinibbio is a very active striker who will give himself plenty of chances.

Ponzinibbio does tend to wear down a bit later in fights, though.

In his recent split decision loss to Geoff Neal, the only unanimous round on the judges' scorecards was the third — all for Neal — which isn't surprising, given the vicious intent with which Ponzinibbio throws everything. His best shot is getting Pereira out early, or at least hurting him enough to give himself the edge as the fight wears on.

Ponzinibbio vs. Pereira Pick

Ponzinibbio carried a seven-win streak from 2015 to 2018, but has dropped two of his last three. At 35 years old, it's quite possible that his best days are behind him. On the other hand, Pereira is still just 28 despite having 38 fights under his belt. He is still young enough to be improving, and has certainly looked like it during his current four-win streak.

Beyond the career progression angle, the cardio and grappling advantage from Pereira could be important. He has a handful of submission wins in his career, but the real appeal is his ability to steal rounds. These fighters are fairly closely matched on the feet, so a takedown and some control time should sway the judges in his favor if need be.

That also gives him the ability to preserve cardio, as the top fighter can rest to a degree while his opponent works hard to get back to his feet. He certainly seems to have the better cardio anyway, but forcing Ponzinibbio to work harder will amplify that.

Ponzinibbio certainly has a puncher's chance, but I don't see many other paths to victory for him. Pereira is the better defensive fighter on the feet, and thus should land more shots throughout this one — as well as having all of the grappling upside.

For those reasons, I'm willing to lay the slight juice on Pereira at -124. This is a bet I'd make sooner rather than later, though, as it's starting to move Pereira's way on most books as of writing. I wouldn't take it past -135 or so — Ponzinibbio has enough power to make it a bit scary to lay much juice.

I also have some interest in Pereira live after Round 1. While I generally don't like double-dipping with my live bets, if he gets to plus-money after the first frame, it will be too good to pass up.

The Pick: Michel Pereira ML (-124) | Bet to: -135

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