Coach Praises Alexandre Pantoja’s ‘Pure Bravery’ in Training Sessions

Oh, the world of MMA, where every fighter’s journey is a story waiting to be told. Take Alexandre Pantoja, for instance. From his early days, whispers of his potential buzzed in the air. Now, he’s the UFC flyweight champ, a title he’s set to defend in Brazil. It’s been a minute since he fought on home soil—2013, to be exact. This time, he’s up against Steve Erceg at UFC 301. It’s a big deal, folks.

Pantoja’s roots trace back to the sandy shores of Copacabana and Arraial do Cabo. But these days? He’s soaking up the sun in Florida, training with the best at American Top Team. Yet, his heart beats for Brazil, and returning to fight there is something special.

His journey kicked off under the watchful eye of Petterson Melo, right in Arraial do Cabo. Melo saw the spark in Pantoja, likening it to the fire he saw in Jose Aldo. “The boy was pure bravery,” Melo reminisced. And it wasn’t just talk. Pantoja proved him right, conquering challenges and climbing ranks, all on sheer merit and dedication.

But Pantoja wasn’t the only gem Melo polished. Otto Rodrigues and Alexandre Cirne also emerged from the same training grounds, each carving their path in the MMA world. Rodrigues is now fighting in the PFL, and Cirne has thrown down in rings across China, Japan, and Russia.

Melo, with a hint of pride in his voice, admits he no longer trains Pantoja. Yet, his support hasn’t waned. He follows Pantoja’s career with the same enthusiasm he reserves for legends like Antonio Minotauro and Jose Aldo. It’s a testament to the bonds formed in the crucible of training, bonds that endure the test of time and the rigors of the sport.

So, as Pantoja steps into the octagon at UFC 301, it’s more than just a fight. It’s a homecoming, a celebration of a journey that began on the beaches of Brazil and has taken him to the pinnacle of MMA. And somewhere, in the quiet town of Arraial do Cabo, Melo will be watching, cheering on the champion he always knew Pantoja could be.

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