"He knows if one shot..."
@PantojaMMA is dishing KO power!
Keep watching LIVE on @ESPN pic.twitter.com/Em6pNlJKmn — UFC (@ufc) December 21, 2019
The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s flyweight division is wide open after Henry Cejudo elected to vacate the belt earlier this week.
While Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo will vie for the vacant 125-pound belt in the UFC Norfolk headliner on Feb. 29, Alexandre Pantoja appears to be one of the top contenders for the title following an entertaining knockout victory against Matt Schnell at UFC Fight Night 165 in Busan, South Korea.
Pantoja engaged willingly with Schnell, who was one of his fellow cast members on “The Ultimate Fighter 24.” Both fighters had their moments in the abbreviated bout, but the Brazilian put his stamp on the bout when he countered his opponent with an overhand right for a knockout victory at the 4:17 mark of Round 1.
“Matt is a very talented guy, he has a very unique game, so I knew that from the start I had to put some pressure on him, show him that I would dominate the round,” Pantoja said. “I was really focused, from training to getting into the Octagon. After my last fight with Deiveson [Figueiredo], I knew that I would have to put on a show and I’m glad that I could get this win.”
Prior to his victory over Schnell, Pantoja dropped a competitive unanimous decision to Figueiredo at UFC 240 in July, a contest that earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Pantoja is 6-2 during his promotional tenure and would like a rematch with Figueiredo — this time with flyweight gold on the line. Of course, Figueiredo will have to take care of business against Benavidez before such a matchup can come to fruition.
“I think that I’m the next in line for the title,” Pantoja said. “I’ve shown it many times. Maybe it wasn’t my day in that fight against Deiveson, but I know I can come back better. My team and I we went over that fight many times, we analyzed it and saw what I could improve. There is always room for improvement and I’m striving for perfection. I really hope Deiveson wins and we are able to run it back, this time for the title.”