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Pantoja v Royval betting preview & top picks – UFC 296

Alexandre Pantoja v Brandon Royval preview

Alexandre Pantoja vs Brandon Royval

UFC 296 Odds & Co–Main Event Info

Fight odds Pantoja -192.31 at Bovada | Royval +155 at Bovada
When Saturday, December 16 – main card from 7pm PST
Where T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, United States
Watch Live ESPN+ PPV (US), BT Sport (UK), Main Event (AU)

Alexandre Pantoja faces the first defence of his flyweight title when he squares off against no.2-ranked Brandon Royval at UFC 296 in Las Vegas this weekend. The question that must be addressed is whether the challenger has made the improvements necessary to reverse the outcome of their first encounter back in 2021.

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Alexandre Pantoja v Brandon Royval fight analysis

Alexandre Pantoja


Brandon Royval

26-5-0 MMA record 15-6-0
33 Age 31
5’5″ Height 5’9″
125lbs Weight 126lbs
67″ Reach 68″
Brazil Nationality USA

Alexandre Pantoja (26-5-0) claimed the UFC flyweight title with a gritty win over Brandon Moreno where he dug deep to grind out a split-decision victory. The Brazilian is a well-rounded athlete with a mix of knockout, submission and scorecard wins across his long career. We will now see if he has the tools and mentality required to defend the newly acquired silverware.

Pantoja is undefeated since 2020 having worked hard to improve his stamina, which was the main weakness in his game. The 33-year-old’s five losses have all come via the scorecard, but the win over Moreno over five gruelling rounds displayed his additional cardio and an ability to scrap for every point. The champion defeated this opponent back in 2021 via round two submission and should have no fears in this rematch.

Brandon Royval (15-6-0) has built a 7-2 record since 2019, with the losses coming against Pantoja and former title holder Brandon Moreno. The 31-year-old has also struggled to impress the judges at times and holds a losing record in fights that have gone the distance. He boasts a black belt in BJJ, which will prove vital against an elite grappler, but will need to dominate the opening rounds if he hopes to emerge with the title.

Royval stands four inches taller than Pantoja and, while not a noted knockout artist, may be incentivised to keep this contest upright for as long as possible. If he can establish a long jab that sets up some power shots, Royval may be able to hurt the champ and finish him on the mat with ground-and-pound or an opportunistic submission. If dominance cannot be established in the striking department, the challenger might be in for a long night.

Pantoja v Royval betting predictions

It is hard to make a strong case for Royval given the nature of Pantoja’s win when these opponents last met. If the champ is fit, healthy and focused, he should be able to see off this challenge. Given Pantoja’s short head-to-head quote with most UFC betting sites, the value may lie in predicting the exact nature of the outcome.

Alexandre Pantoja by decision


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