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With Askar Askarov out, Alex Perez shifts to UFC 277 to face interim championship backup fighter Alexandre Pantoja

UFC Fight Night: Pantoja v Royval
Alexandre Pantoja
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Alex Perez has a new opponent lined up, but now he gets to fight on a big pay-per-view card in Texas.

Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting that with Askar Askarov being forced to withdraw from a scheduled July 16 pairing with Perez, the one-time flyweight title challenger will now face Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 277. The event takes place July 30 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Ag. Fight was first to report the matchup.

In addition, sources confirm to MMA Fighting that Pantoja will also be on standby as the backup to the interim flyweight championship co-main event between Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France.

Pantoja won his two most recent bouts against Manel Kape and Brandon Royval to put himself in this position. The No. 7 flyweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings also defeated both Moreno and Kara-France during season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter, while also defeating Moreno in an official capacity at UFC Fight Night 129 in May 2018.

Perez looks to finally get back in the octagon for the first time since he was submitted in the first round by then and now champion Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 255 in November 2020. The No. 8 flyweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings had six scheduled bouts fall through for one reason or another, including a matchup with Matt Schnell at UFC 271 in February that was a late scratch after Perez missed weight.

UFC 277 is headlined by a rematch for the bantamweight title between Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes.

Guilherme Cruz contributed to this report.

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