Santiago Ponzinibbio, a welterweight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, will fight for the pride of Brazil in whatever arena. The MMA fighter appears to have taken Canelo Alvarez’s warnings seriously after the boxer recently commented on Lionel Messi’s celebration after Argentina’s World Cup victory over Mexico.
Canelo’s tweet may have been removed, but it was still visible to many, including Ponzinibbio. After Alvarez urged Messi, “pray God that I don’t find him,” the two exchanged some heated words.
“I was pissed,” Ponzinibbio said.
“No point threatening Messi. Everybody knows Messi’s career. If [Canelo] doesn’t know he shouldn’t say a thing. It’s normal for players to throw jerseys on the ground, they are all sweaty, but he didn’t do anything disrespectful. Everybody that knows Messi knows he’s an impeccable athlete and a very respectful person,”
“[Messi] had an excellent match,” Ponzinibbio continued.
“I was upset. Brother, if you want to fight, I’m ready, but leave Messi be. You mess with Messi, you mess with the entire Argentina. Don’t bother the kid.”
Ponzinibbio, who has a career record of 28-6, is now on a two-fight losing streak after splitting decisions losses to Michel Pereira and Geoff Neal. The 36-year-last old’s victory came in June 2021, when he won a unanimous decision against Miguel Baeza.
On December 10 at UFC 282 in Las Vegas, Ponzinibbio is scheduled to face off against former champion Robbie Lawler. The main event of the evening will be a fight for the vacant light heavyweight belt between former champion Jan Blachowicz and rising challenger Magomed Ankalaev.