UFC 296 Preview: Alexandre Pantoja – Brandon Royval 2

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

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 296, the flyweight title is on the line. Champion Alexandre Pantoja (26-5) will be making the first defense of his flyweight title in a rematch as he takes on “Raw Dog” Brandon Royval (15-6).

Royval’s last loss came against Pantoja back in 2021. Since then, Royval has been on a roll. Most recently, he fought at UFC Kansas City back in April when he faced Matheus Nicolau. Nicolau was riding a big winning streak and Royval knocked him out in the first round. It was his second straight first round finish to earn this title shot.

Back in July at UFC 290 Alexandre Pantoja took on Brandon Moreno for the flyweight championship. Pantoja had defeated Moreno in the past, but this was a much better version of Moreno. It was an absolute war and Pantoja was able to win the split decision to become flyweight champion. Tomorrow, he’ll look to once again defeat a familiar opponent and retain his title.

UFC 296 Prediction

Heading into the event, this is my pick for fight of the night. I think that we are going to see an absolute war for as long as it last. Pantoja is going to have the power advantage while Royval is likely going to have a speed advantage. When they’re striking, I would expect to see Royval be a little more creative tomorrow.

Flying knees and kicks from range could really help Royval out. If they trade in the pocket, Pantoja is going to have the advantage. His boxing combinations are sensational and crisp with a ton of power behind them. From a cardio perspective, I would give the cardio advantage to Royval heading into UFC 296.

Both men cancel each other out in so many ways, so who will win tomorrow night? I think Pantoja is going to get it done again. I just think the power advantage is going to be too much and ultimately lead to him winning this fight. The strength in the grappling and the big power shots will lead to him winning more rounds and ultimately I think he wins a decision.

Prediction: Alexandre Pantoja by Decision