Alexandre Pantoja may have punched his ticket to a UFC flyweight title shot earlier tonight (Sat., Aug. 21, 2021) at UFC Vegas 34 live on ESPN/ESPN+ from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, when the veteran fighter stopped rising contender Brandon Royval with a second-round submission (rear-naked choke).
The first round was a wild sequence of leg lock attempts, back-and-forth scrambling, and heavy punches on the feet. It was a battle that should have tired each fighter, but Pantoja and Royval kept it going in the second round. After some more exchanges on the feet Pantoja was able to gain back control and sink in his hooks. The position allowed Pantoja to finally control “Raw Dawg” and his rapid movement, which opened up the window for the rear-naked choke finish.
Check out the video highlights above courtesy of UFC/ESPN.
This victory likely lines Pantoja up for a third fight with current UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno. Pantoja originally defeated Moreno via submission on The Ultimate Fighter back in 2016 before beating him again by unanimous decision two years later in the UFC. Surging flyweight contender Askar Askarov has done enough to earn his own shot at the belt, but UFC is likely to go with the hot hand and ride the momentum of Pantoja’s finish.
For complete UFC Vegas 34 results and coverage click here.