The upcoming UFC 296 card features an exciting flyweight title fight in the co-main event between Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval.
Alexandre Pantoja enters this bout as the flyweight champion with an impressive record of 26 wins and 5 losses. Known as “The Cannibal,” Pantoja has a well-rounded skill set, with 8 wins by knockout and 10 by submission. He has proven his ability to finish fights early, boasting 10 first-round finishes. Pantoja’s recent victories include a split decision win over Brandon Moreno at UFC 290 in July 2023, where he captured the UFC flyweight title. He also picked up a first-round submission victory over Alex Perez in July 2022. His fighting style combines striking and grappling, and he looks to pick up his first title defence tonight at the expense of Brandon Royval.
Brandon Royval comes into the fight with a record of 15 wins and 6 losses. Nicknamed “Raw Dawg” (perhaps the best nickname currently in the UFC), Royval has demonstrated his finishing ability with 4 knockouts and 9 submissions. Included in that are 10 first-round finishes. He is coming off a first-round knockout win against Matheus Nicolau in April 2023. Royval, known for his aggressive style, has earned several Fight of the Night and Performance bonuses in his UFC career. His fighting style is marked by dynamic striking and effective grappling, making him a worthy challenger for the title.
Pantoja, with his balanced skill set, will look to defend his title and establish dominance in the division. Royval’s aggressive and dynamic style presents a unique challenge to Pantoja. He has shown he can end fights quickly and decisively. Both fighters have proven their abilities in the octagon, and this is guaranteed to be non-stop action from the opening bell. Both fighters have a knack for finishing fights quickly, so be sure not to blink when the Flyweights take the stage in the co-main event.
Official Results & Highlights
Round 1 – The defending champion comes out at a crazy pace and is throwing kicks with absolute venom. Royval is happy to engage. Pantoja gets a nice takedown but Royval lands some nice up kicks and chop kicks. Pantoja slips inside and gets top control. The champion moves into side control and then into full mount but the challenger escapes. They return to the feet and Pantoja throws heavy again. He’s fighting like he doesn’t respect Royval whatsoever.
Round 2 – Pantoja lands some heavy shots to start the second round and Royval returns fire with a knee up the middle. We return to the mat though as Pantoja times another takedown beautifully. Strange tactics from the champion who is controlling Royval on the canvas but isn’t even attempting to do any damage. The fight returns to the feet and Pantoja wobbles Royval with a right hand. Royval returns a head kick but ends up on the mat again with Pantoja on top once more.
Round 3 – Royval is clipped again at the beginning of the round and again, the champion secures the takedown. Pantoja takes the back but Royval reverses and gets back to the feet. The champion is getting tired here! Pantoja has been loading up and working hard for the control time on the ground and it’s showing. Royval looks by far the fresher of the two. The challenger lands a knee up the middle but the champion desperately secures the takedown to close the round out. As we head into the championship rounds, Pantoja is looking tired but is still winning this fight. IS the tide turning though?
Round 4 – Pantoja gets the takedown to start the round. That is definitely the key to victory here for Pantoja. Royval is struggling to get back to the feet and when they’re on the feet Pantoja is struggling now with the fatigue. Now the champion has the back with the body triangle. Royval needs to escape here or he’s going to need a stoppage in the final round to win this fight. Pantoja is trying for a rear-naked choke, it’s close but not quite there. Pantoja face cranks but Royval survives it for now. With thirty seconds remaining Royval escapes and goes to work with ground and pound. He needed that. It’s not enough to win the round but that’s going to have drained Pantoja. We head for the final round and Royval likely needs a stoppage.
Round 5 – Royval is throwing everything he has left at the champion. He knows he needs to finish the fight and he’s giving it everything. Pantoja is exhausted but Royval also looks tired and the sting just doesn’t appear to be in the shots anymore. Pantoja scores a clumsy takedown and stays in control.
Royval seemed to be the one trying to win this fight but Pantoja was dominant in the grappling exchanges despite not particularly doing anything spectacular. It’s all over and it looks like the champion will retain his title in scrappy fashion.
Result: Alexandre Pantoja defeats Brandon Royval via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images