Alexandre Pantoja put on a statement performance to potentially put himself into position for a title shot after a convincing win at UFC Vegas 34.
The Brazilian had to ensure an incredibly tough outing from Brandon Royval but it was ultimately Pantoja’s world-class grappling that allowed him to secure a rear-naked choke to finish the fight. The end came at 1:46 in the second round as Pantoja notches his second win in a row overall while moving to 8-3 in the UFC.
“Brandon Royval is a great guy, I respect him a lot,” Pantoja said about his opponent. “This is a great fight for the flyweight [division] and I hope everybody liked that fight. The guy’s tough.”
Pantoja wasted no time closing the distance and dragging the fight to the ground at the first opportunity to engage with Royval. Once the action hit the floor, Pantoja was attacking and constantly advancing his position as he moved from side control and then taking the back while Royval was scrambling to break free.
After finally working back to his feet, Royval started to establish his striking with some strong shots to the body as well as a slick jab but he also had to be aware of the massive power coming back from Pantoja. The Brazilian showed no fear in the pocket after nailing Royval with a pair of nasty right hands that nailed the Colorado native directly in the eye.
As the second round got started, Royval once again attempted to set a frantic pace as he charged after Pantoja but the former Ultimate Fighter contender was ready for his offensive onslaught.
After avoiding Royval’s aggressive strategy, Pantoja quickly shifted gears by grabbing onto his body to once again bring the fight down to the canvas. This time around, Pantoja had no intention of letting him back up again after wrapping up a rear-naked choke submission from the back.
There was no escape for Royval and after a few seconds he was forced tap out from the submission as Pantoja celebrated his victory. Afterwards, he turned his attention to Brandon Moreno, who was doing commentary cage side as Pantoja called for a title shot after two prior wins over the reigning UFC flyweight champion.
“I like you Moreno, you know that,” Pantoja said. “I say all the time, I make this guy better. But now it’s my time Moreno. I’ll see in you December. If December is good for you, it’s good for me too.”