Alexandre Pantoja Outsmarts Steve Erceg To Razor-Close Decision, Retains Title – UFC 301 Results (Highlights)

The Cannibal's scrambles paid dividend in his second title defense.

Pantoja Erceg Ufc 301
(via @ufc - Instagram)

The dominant champion meets an unassuming contender at UFC 301.

UFC 301: Alexandre Pantoja vs. Steve Erceg

The flyweight championship is on the line as Alexandre Pantoja defends his title for a second time against #10 contender Steve Erceg. It’s not a title fight that many were expecting in the division, but it’s one the champ asked for, given the absence of a clear-cut contender. The pay-per-view headliner has themes of the movie “Rocky” written all over it.

Pantoja is coming from back-to-back wars against the best Brandon’s in the division, defeating two-time champ Moreno and #1 contender Royval. It’s a homecoming of the highest order for “The Cannibal” who fights in Brazil for the very first time in his UFC career.

Western Australia’s Erceg is fighting for the world title less than a year after making his UFC debut. “Astroboy” is 3-0 in the promotion so far and looks to make the most out of this incredible opportunity in enemy territory.

The flyweight title fight takes place from Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Round 1:

Pantoja puts his foot on the gas pedal right away, attacking Erceg with a leg kick and a combo to begin the championship fight. Pantoja clinches up with the challenger against the cage but the flyweights separate. Pantoja eats a jab from Erceg. Pantoja rushes in and Erceg cuts an angle, firing a great combo inside the pocket. Pantoja fires a knee while tying up Erceg in the clinch momentarily. Pantoja lands a leg kick and then a punch to the body.

The champ works his offense on the feet before taking Erceg down to the ground. Erceg tries to scramble out but Pantoja stays on him like glue. Pantoja maintains top position through multiple grappling exchanges. As Erceg gets back up to his feet he is met with punches and bunches from Pantoja. Erceg fends off more grappling from Pantoja.

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Pantoja

Round 2:

Pantoja blitzes Erceg early into the sequel round. Erceg’s back is against the cage as Pantoja controls him in the clinch. They break. Erceg lands a teep kick to the body. Leg kick barely lands for Pantoja. Erceg eats a hook from Pantoja and is then taken down to the ground. Erceg pushes out from under to escape the position and returns to his feet. Erceg lands a hook. Pantoja looks for a standing choke on the neck of Erceg but is denied.

Sneaky left hand lands for Erceg. Pantoja comes over the top with a right hand.  Erceg clips Pantoja with punches as he closes the distance against the cage. Erceg is able to separate and starts to find his rhythm again in the striking department. Erceg fires an elbow before he gets taken down by Pantoja once more.

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Erceg

Round 3:

The flyweights enter the clinch but later separate. Erceg dodges a power shot from Pantoja. Pantoja eats a jab from Erceg. Pantoja fires a combo of punches to the body. Erceg and Pantoja trade shots up close. Pantoja closes the distance, clinching with Erceg along the cage. They separate.

More punches are exchanged between the champ and the challenger. Erceg catches Pantoja with an elbow and a massive hook which gets the attention of Pantoja. With blood pouring from his face, Pantoja initiates a takedown and seizes the back of Erceg. Erceg avoids the submission threat to survive the round.

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Erceg

Round 4:

Erceg unloads a great counter right hand on Pantoja. Leg kick lands for the Australian. Erceg changes it up, going for a takedown on Pantoja, one that he doesn’t get. Pantoja is grazed by another elbow from Erceg. Pantoja throws a combo as he regains control of the Octagon. Erceg’s pressure turns it around, putting Pantoja on the back foot.

Pantoja is tagged by a right hand. Pantoja sprawls on a takedown attempt from Erceg. Glancing jab lands for Erceg. Erceg swings big to the body. Erceg’s striking continues to shine for the most part in round 4.

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Erceg

Round 5:

“The Cannibal” pushes the pace in round 5, only to be taken down by Erceg for the very first time. Pantoja scrambles on the ground to find his own takedown on Erceg in turn. Erceg works his way back up and grabs the cage as Pantoja attempts to ground him once again. They eventually separate and go back to work in the stand-up.

Erceg fires a head kick that partially lands. An elbow from Erceg bloodies the champion even more. Erceg shoots for a takedown but it’s used against him as Pantoja reverses position to get on top. Pantoja punches to the body of the grounded Erceg. Pantoja lands more ground and pound as Erceg finally gets back up to his feet with seconds left on the clock.

Christopher De Santiago scores the round: 10-9 Pantoja (total score: 48-47 Erceg)

Official result: Alexandre Pantoja defeats Steve Erceg via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)

Check out the highlights below:

Published on May 5, 2024 at 1:02 am
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