Steve Erceg Reflects on Near Miss at UFC 301 Main Event: Admits to Blunder

Steve Erceg was on the verge of a major upset at UFC 301. He was so close, you could almost taste it.

But then, the tables turned in the final round. Alexandre Pantoja, the champ, flipped the script with a slick counter to a takedown. Suddenly, he was on top, and time just started slipping away.

Erceg had his moments, sure. He landed some solid shots, making Pantoja work for every point. But that one decision in the fifth? It might’ve cost him the whole fight. The judges’ scores said it all: 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46.

Post-fight, Erceg was kicking himself. “I just blew it,” he admitted, thinking that winning the last round could’ve swung things his way.

Coming into UFC 301, not many had Erceg pegged for the title shot. He was the underdog, with just a trio of wins in the promotion. Yet, there he was, in the main event, proving he belonged.

He reckoned the third round was a turning point. “It was close,” he said. Despite being taken down, he felt he dominated on his feet.

Erceg did manage to bloody Pantoja with a sharp elbow and landed some clean punches. But Pantoja’s game was just too versatile. On the ground, he was a beast, notching up nine takedowns and winning most of the scrambles.

“I was surprised at how well he could scramble,” Erceg confessed. He thought he had the upper hand in those moments. It was a shock, indeed.

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