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Pantoja v Erceg main event preview & betting picks | UFC 301

Alexandre Pantoja vs Steve Erceg

Latest Odds & Fight Info

Main Event odds Pantoja -192.31 at Bovada | Erceg +155 at Bovada
When Saturday, May 4 – main card from 11pm BRT
Where Farmasi Arena – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Watch Live ESPN+ PPV (US), BT Sport (UK), Main Event (AU)

The eyes of the MMA world will be focused on Farmasi Arena in Brazil for the UFC 301 main event between reigning flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja and contender Steve Erceg. The champ will have the crowd at his back and appears to have the tools necessary to retain his silverware. However, nothing is certain in title fights, and Erceg will be out to score an upset in Rio.

Alexandre Pantoja v Steve Erceg fight preview

Alexandre Pantoja

Alexandre Pantoja


Steve Erceg

Steve Erceg

27-5-0 MMA record 12-1-0
34 Age 27
5’5″ Height 5’8″
125lbs Weight 125lbs
67″ Reach 68″
Brazil Nationality Australia

Alexandre Pantoja (27-5-0) claimed the UFC flyweight crown in July 2023 with a split-decision win over Brandon Moreno. The 34-year-old appeared to be running on empty after a hectic opening two rounds but somehow managed to maintain a relentless pace and outscore the incumbent. He then defended the belt with a more decisive points decision over Brandon Royval.

The Brazilian will enjoy huge home support and has faced a much higher calibre of fighter than this. Pantoja is not renowned for scoring knockouts and has not won by that method since 2019, when he stopped Matt Schnell in the opening round. He possesses slick footwork, works hard to constantly score points, and boasts an excellent submission game, while he also has a proven ability to fight through adversity.

Steve Erceg (12-1-0) has only fought at UFC level on three occasions, and this title tilt might seem a little premature given his number 10 ranking. The quirks of the flyweight division mean that most of the other contenders have all fought each other numerous times, and the Australian represents new blood. The 27-year-old has triumphed in all three contests, with decision wins over David Dvorak and Alessandro Costa and a KO victory over Schnell.

Erceg has only two KO wins on his professional record, with most of his wins coming via submission — although he might be reluctant to roll around on the mat with an elite submission artist. He has never been beyond three rounds but looks to have a solid cardio base. The Aussie fights much better while advancing, so the early battle for octagon dominance might be the key to his chances.

Alexandre Pantoja v Steve Erceg betting strategy

It is hard to find many areas where Erceg will enjoy an advantage over the reigning champ. He might be a little more explosive with his strikes, but this contest represents a big jump in class. Pantoja has proved himself against the cream of the 125-pound division and is a worthy favourite with online bookmakers. Erceg’s best hopes rely on making a quick start to jump the champion while he is warming up, but the longer this contest lasts, the more it should suit the Brazilian.

Alexandre Pantoja by decision


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