Alexandre Pantoja believes that a win at UFC Vegas 34 will be enough to guarantee a title shot.
Brazilian flyweight contender Alexandre Pantoja has been a pile of the flyweight division for several years and one of the top contenders since recording back-to-back first-round finals in 2018-2019. Although despite his efforts, Pantoja has yet to compete for UFC gold.
He does not. The third ranked flyweight is six months away from his unanimous decision win over Manel Kape, which served as the first of what he expects to be three fights this year. At UFC Vegas 34, Pantoja will face Brandon Royval, who is at No. 6 in the rankings.
Beating Royval will build Pantoja’s case for his first shot at the UFC title, but it wouldn’t be the first time he’s faced the champion. Pantoja has two wins over Brandon Moreno, one by decision in 2016 The last fighter and one per decision in 2018.
Pantoja hopes that a victory at UFC Vegas 34 will put him in position for a third fight with Moreno.
“I want to fight three times this year,” Pantoja told reporters on UFC media day. “This is my second fight this year and I think if I win, maybe I could make a title shot. Maybe 2021 is a good year for me, right? “
The veteran acknowledges the fact that a loss to Royval this weekend ruins his title hopes.
“But first I have a good challenge on Saturday,” he said. “Brandon Royval is an exciting fighter and when the UFC gave me this fight, I would appreciate it because he fights like me, he is a good style, he comes to fight not only for score. He comes to fight to prove his worth. And I think he and I are going to put on a great show on Saturday. “
Alexandre Pantoja shares take on Cody Garbrandt’s move to flyweight
There seems to be no question in Pantoja’s mind that the flyweight division is one of the deepest and most talented in the promotion.
He has a strong vision of Cody Garbrandt’s insertion into the division. Most notably, the former bantamweight champion makes his flyweight debut in December against Kai Kara-France. Pantoja has a great interest in the fight.
“Now that Cody Garbrandt is trying to go down to flyweight, I hope Kai Kara-France kills that guy you know,” Pantoja said. “Not because I don’t like Garbrandt, but to show the world how good flyweights are.”
Pantoja is well aware of the magnitude that this upcoming fight holds. He wants to put on a show, not just for himself, but also as a good representation of the entire flyweight division.
“Not just for me and Brandon, but for that division, you know,” he said. “A lot of people talk about how maybe this fight should be a co-main event or maybe a main event. I think the flyweights deserve it. Maybe it’s time to put flyweights to another level. “