After claiming the flyweight title at UFC 290, what’s next for Alexandre Pantoja?

MMA: UFC 290 - Moreno vs Pantoja
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 290, the flyweight title was on the line. Brandon Moreno (21-7-2) was looking to defend his title and avenge past losses as he took on a familiar foe in Brazil’s Alexandre Pantoja (26-5).

These two first fought on the Ultimate Fighter with Pantoja eliminating and submitting Moreno. They then fought inside the octagon and Pantoja dominated the fight leading to Moreno getting cut from the UFC. Fast forward five years and the two were fighting for flyweight gold.

Pantoja started the fight extremely fast trying to put Moreno away in the first round. He was able to drop and hurt Moreno, but Moreno wouldn’t go away. I was honestly worried for Pantoja’s cardio after the first round considering how hard he went for the finish. However, he was able to go for all five rounds.

Moreno’s speed was a big advantage for him on the feet. While Pantoja was still landing big shots, Moreno was getting the better of the striking. That said, Pantoja started going to his grappling and Moreno had a hard time keeping Pantoja off of him. Pantoja landed a number of big takedowns which sealed a split decision for him and the UFC flyweight title.

What’s next after UFC 290?

On one hand, there might be some people that argue that Brandon Moreno should get a rematch. It was a very close fight and it was one of the best fights you’ll see all year. However, the top of the flyweight division spent nearly three years wrapped up in the rivalry between Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo. I don’t think they’ll run this one back right away.

Brandon Royval is the guy that deserves the shot at the title next. He was the backup fighter for Saturday night and weighed in successfully. He’s coming off a huge knockout win back at UFC Kansas City against Matheus Nicolau which was his third win in a row.

Pantoja defeated Royval when they first fought and that’s a fight that eats at Royval. Royval told us at media day back in April that he was rooting for Pantoja to win because he wanted that fight back. Well, Pantoja won and I think that’s the fight the promotion should make.

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