Li Jingliang
The Leech

China

Floors Santiago Ponzinibbio
WelterweightUFC
January 16, 2021
Li defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio via KO (punches) at 4:35 of Round 1 at UFC on ABC 1 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
Entering as the biggest (+295) underdog on the entire card, Li took full advantage of the circumstances. Going up against an opponent who hadn't fought in well over two years, Li kept his feet moving and limited Ponzinibbio's ability to throw much of anything. He eventually uncorked a sweeping left hook that found the mark and effectively ended the fight. It will rightfully earn him a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus. Li has tended to struggle when tasked with facing better competition, but he blew by Ponzinibbio here. Li rarely gets talked about as a top welterweight, but this is a guy who is 8-2 in his past ten bouts dating back to July 2016. He fights often and effectively. Li should get a high-profile opponent his next time out.
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Draws Ponzinibbio on Fight Island
WelterweightUFC
December 21, 2020
Jingliang (17-6-0) is scheduled to face Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-3-0) in a welterweight fight scheduled for Jan. 16 at the UFC's event in Abu Dhabi, Guilherme Cruz and Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com report.
ANALYSIS
Jingliang was added to the Jan. 16 card as a replacement for Muslim Salikhov, who withdrew from the fight while continuing to experience symptoms of COVID-19. The 32-year-old Jingliang recently had a fight of his own cancelled due to an opponent (Dwight Grant) testing positive for the virus, but both he and Ponzinibbio look on track to participate in the promotion's first event on Fight Island of the new year. Before losing in his last fight in March to Neil Magny via unanimous decision, Jingliang had won seven of his previous eight bouts.
Removed from UFC 256 card
WelterweightUFC
December 9, 2020
Jingliang won't be included on the card for Saturday's UFC 256 event after the promotion was unable to find a fighter to replace his opponent, Dwight Grant, Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Grant didn't withdraw from the fight until Monday after testing positive for COVID-19, so the promotion's inability to secure a replacement in less than a week isn't overly surprising. The UFC will presumably work with Jingliang to find another opponent for him at a different event within the next few weeks.
Opponent out of fight
WelterweightUFC
December 7, 2020
Jingliang will no longer fight Dwight Grant on Saturday at UFC 256 after his opponent tested positive for COVID-19, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
It's not clear at this point whether the UFC will look to reschedule this bout or whether they can find Jingliang a short notice replacement. Jingliang will be hoping to bounce back from a unanimous decision loss to Neil Magny back in March.
Fighting Grant Dec. 12
WelterweightUFC
October 13, 2020
Jinliang will take on Dwight Grant in a welterweight bout at the UFC event Dec. 12, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Jingliang last fought in early March when he fell via unanimous decision to Neil Magny. Prior to that Jingliang had won three straight bouts. He will hope to get back to that form in December against Grant.
Not competitive against Neil Magny
WelterweightUFC
March 7, 2020
Li lost to Neil Magny via unanimous decision (27-30, 27-30, 27-30) at UFC 248 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Li's first fight in the United States since January 2017 was an unmitigated disaster. Entering on a three-fight win streak and sporting a 7-1 record in his past eight bouts, Li was thoroughly dominated by Magny. He was unable to land his trademark power shots with any consistency and he really struggled with the length of the bigger Magny. Other than a pair of first-round takedowns in which he did nothing with the positional advantage, Li was invisible. This was a clear cut and massive step back for a fighter who entered Saturday's fight with a ton of helium. Li has to rebound in a big way his next time out.