This past weekend at UFC Vegas 34, we saw a pivotal matchup in the flyweight division. Alexandre Pantoja (23-5) was looking to pick up his second consecutive win while his opponent Brandon Royval (12-5) was looking to bounce back.
Pantoja entered the contest as the third ranked flyweight in the UFC. He’s had a very impressive run so far in his career with the promotion and this fight with Royval was a chance for him to make a statement about where he stands in the division.
He was able to control the fight and in the second round, he moved in for the kill. Pantoja was able to secure a dominant position on the back of Royval and locked in a rear naked choke.
Royval was forced to tap and Pantoja got the win at UFC Vegas 34. After the win, Pantoja called for a fight with Moreno and said that having defeated the champion previously, he should be next in line for the title.
Who should be next for the UFC’s flyweight title?
Pantoja does make an interesting argument. He’s ranked in the top three and he’s riding a two-fight win streak that should have him in the conversation for a UFC title shot.
That said, it might be a tough sell considering the two men that stand in front of him. Directly in front of him is Askar Askarov (13-0-1). Askarov and Pantoja just fought last year during the UFC’s first trip to Fight Island.
The Russian was able to defeat Pantoja be decision. Back in March, Askarov dominated Joseph Benavidez to pick up his third straight UFC victory. Like Pantoja, Askarov has also fought the champion. While Pantoja has a win over Moreno, Askarov fought him to a draw.
In front of Askarov is the former UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1). It’s crazy to think that if Figueiredo doesn’t land a kick that goes low, the UFC title picture at 125 would look completely different.
On the scorecards, Figueiredo would’ve defeated Brandon Moreno back in December. However, the deduction of a point due to the low kick caused the fight to end in a draw. In the immediate rematch, Moreno dominated and won the title.
Now, Figueiredo is calling for his rematch. The UFC is said to be considering it given how dominate Figueiredo was as champion. However, it’s far from a guarantee with Moreno leaning towards a new matchup after fighting Figueiredo two straight times.
I’m not sure what exactly is next at 125, but the flyweight division is incredibly intriguing right now. While Pantoja did look impressive over the weekend, I don’t believe he’s going to be next in line.