Alexandre Pantoja is entering a crucial matchup with Brandon Royval later tonight (Sat., Aug. 21, 2021) at UFC Vegas 34 live on ESPN/ESPN+ from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the winner inching closer towards a UFC flyweight title shot.
Pantoja, who has been a staple in the division since his Octagon debut back in 2017, is coming off a huge win over Manel Kape this past February. It was the first victory for Pantoja since scoring a knockout win over Matt Schnell back in Dec. 2019. The Brazilian hasn’t been able to stay as active as he’d like over the past few years, but Pantoja is hoping 2021 brings more consistency.
“I want to fight three times this year,” Pantoja told reports during UFC Vegas 34’s media day (h/t MMA Junkie). “This is my second fight this year, and I think if I win maybe I can get the title shot. Maybe 2021 is a good year for me, but first I have a good challenger on Saturday.
“Brandon Royval is an exciting fighter, and when the UFC gave me this fight, I really appreciated it because he fights like me. It’s a good style. He comes to fight – it’s not just to score. He comes to fight to prove himself, and I think on Saturday him and I will make a big, big show.”
This is certainly a big opportunity for Pantoja at 125 pounds. Not only is he making an appearance on a ESPN main card, but he’s taking on one of the more promising young talents in the division. Adding a name like Royval to his resume will only help Pantoja’s chances of securing a title shot heading into 2022.
Remember, Pantoja already holds a decision win over current UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno from back in 2018. Moreno believes there’s no clear-cut No. 1 contender in the division right now, but a few more wins is all Pantoja needs to lock down a potential rematch with the champ.
“I think Moreno said that because he respects all the guys in the division,” Pantoja said. “But of course, if I win Saturday … I hope I win. I worked a lot with my team, and maybe it’s a good fight for the UFC to see me again with Moreno.”
What do you think, Maniacs? Should Pantoja get a shot at the flyweight title with a win at UFC Vegas 34?
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 34 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.