UFC 301: Alexandre Pantoja Defends Flyweight Title Against Steve Erceg

Guess what? The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) just dropped a bombshell. They’ve picked the next contender for the flyweight title, and it’s a bit of a shocker.

So, they announced on Twitter last Friday. Alexandre Pantoja is set to defend his flyweight belt against Australia’s own Steve Erceg at UFC 301. And guess what? This 125-pound clash won’t be the main event. Yeah, you heard that right. They haven’t spilled the beans on what the headliner will be, though.

This match marks Pantoja’s second time defending his title. Plus, it’s a homecoming of sorts. It’s his first fight in Brazil since he joined the UFC back in 2017. Pretty cool, huh?

Since 2021, Pantoja’s been tearing through the flyweight division. He’s racked up five wins against some top-notch fighters. His title shot came in 2023, and boy, did he deliver. At UFC 290, he faced off against Brandon Moreno for the second time. Pantoja snagged a split decision win, making it 3-0 against Moreno. That includes a bout on the 24th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Then, at UFC 296, he defended his title against Brandon Royval, winning by unanimous decision.

Enter “Astro Boy” Erceg. He’s rocketed into the championship scene with three wins in the Octagon. His UFC debut was in mid-2023, where he surprised everyone by beating David Dvorak on the scorecards. Later that year, he took down Alessandro Costa. But the real highlight? Knocking out Matt Schnell with a single punch at UFC Fight Night 238. That was only the second knockout of his career, and man, was it spectacular.

UFC 301 is set to light up the Rio Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The main event for the May 4 show is still up in the air. However, the co-headliner is likely to be the face-off between Pantoja and Erceg. Also on the card? Anthony Smith vs. Vitor Petrino in a light heavyweight bout. Plus, there’s Michel Pereira squaring off against Makhmud Muradov in the middleweight division. And let’s not forget the strawweight showdown between Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Iasmin Lucindo. Talk about an action-packed lineup!

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