This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 290, the flyweight championship was up for grabs. Brandon Moreno (21-7-2) was looking to defend his title against a man he had a ton of history with in Alexandre Pantoja (26-5).
Pantoja held two wins over Moreno with one of those being official wins. The other being on The Ultimate Fighter. Nevertheless, to Moreno, Pantoja had beaten him twice and neither fight was really close. However, this is a very different Brandon Moreno and he was looking to show that on Saturday night.
Moreno started out fast using his speed to get the better of the striking in the opening round. However, a huge left hand from Pantoja sent Moreno down and then Pantoja dominated the last minute of the round. Moreno would get the better of most of the striking the rest of the evening.
Pantoja would land huge shots, but Moreno was landing more combinations and the volume was adding up. However, Pantoja used his grappling in the second half of the fight and Moreno struggled to keep Pantoja off him. That grappling and control ultimately sealed a close split decision win for Pantoja at UFC 290.
What’s next after UFC 290?
This is a really tough one for Brandon Moreno. The decision was the correct one, but it’s tough for Moreno because when he watches it back, he’ll see that he had a clear path to winning the fight. He just couldn’t keep Pantoja off of him.
Had Moreno not just spent three years fighting Deiveson Figueiredo, he might’ve gotten an immediate title shot. However, I don’t think the UFC will want to keep the division tied up and for that reason, Moreno will likely need to get a win before they run this fight back despite how good it was.
So, who will that fight be against? Amir Albazi and Brandon Royval are the two men clamoring for a title shot. However, I strongly believe that shot is going to Brandon Royval. Assuming it does, I think Albazi and Moreno should be matched up in a title eliminator. Perhaps even on the same card.