UFC & MMA Betting

Pantoja vs Erceg Prediction: No Way The Champ Loses in Rio



Alexandre Pantoja will defend his UFC Flyweight Championship in his home city of Rio de Janeiro against an unusual contender – Steve Erceg. There is no doubt that the champ will be more motivated than ever. Here is our Pantoja vs Erceg prediction.

Pantoja vs Erceg Prediction: Could Erceg Upset The Whole Country?

Alexandre Pantoja Preview

The Brazilian fighter entered the professional scene in mixed martial arts in 2007 when he was just 17 years old. Over the course of his 17-year career, Pantoja managed to fight a total of 32 times. He enters this title defense with a 27-5-0 record. His last defeat happened in 2020 against Askar Askarov.

At the beginning of his career, Alexandre performed in local promotions and competitions like Shooto Brazil, Watch Out Combat Show, WFC, RFA, and others. Pantoja entered the roster of the UFC in 2017 and his record since is 11-3.

In July 2023, the Brazilian fighter earned a title shot against Brandon Moreno. The fight was absolutely incredible and could have been scored in favor of either fighter. Of course, Pantoja won by split decision.

Alexandre last appeared in the Octagon in December 2023 at UFC 296. Pantoja defeated Brandon Royval by unanimous decision at that event. It was a good fight but as expected, it was quite one-sided. Pantoja had no problems and had full control.

Despite being in the UFC since 2017, this will be his first fight at an event in Brazil. What are the chances of him losing in front of his own crowd? Let's take a closer look at his opponent before we decide on our final Pantoja vs Erceg prediction.

Steve Erceg Preview

This is where it gets interesting. If you asked us who deserves a title shot a few months ago, we would have never gone for Steve Erceg. It goes against any logic. Erceg is ranked 10th in the division and there definitely are more deserving fighters in the Top 10.

Nevertheless, he was given the biggest opportunity of his life and he will give it his best shot. He enters this contest with a professional record of 12-1. Since starting his career in 2016, he fought in the Hex Fight Series and Eternal MMA.

Steve made his UFC debut in June 2023 and fought three times overall, winning against David Dvorak, Alessandro Costa, and Matt Schnell. This means that he earned a title shot in less than a year, something that normally never happens.

Our Alexandre Pantoja vs Steve Erceg Prediction: Erceg Is Not Ready To Become Champion

There is an obvious reason why promoters gave Steve Erceg a title shot. Yet, it is almost impossible to side with him for a Pantoja vs Erceg prediction.

It is a fact that the Flyweight division has been at a standstill for years due to the dominance of Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno. Alexandre Pantoja is a breath of fresh air in this weight class and matchmakers clearly decided to bring a fresh contender for him.

What are Erceg's chances here? On paper, the chances for an upset are low. First off, Pantoja has literally fought 20 more fights than his opponent. He has been in the UFC since around the time Erceg began his entire career.

Pantoja has literally fought against every single top fighter in this division for the last five years. As for Erceg, it's been just 11 months since he joined the promotion and he generally did not face anyone from the Top 10. He is extremely talented but there is a lot of room for improvement.

Secondly, Pantoja will be fighting in his hometown for the first time since joining the UFC. The whole country will be rooting for him, including the entire arena.

Last but not least, this is a huge mismatch when it comes to their fighting styles. Steve is good on the ground but he is not elite on his feet. On the other side, Pantoja is the full package – he has the advantage both on the ground and on his feet.

With this said, we have to side with the champion for our Pantoja vs Erceg prediction.

Vlad is a former amateur MMA fighter. After a series of injuries, he found a different way to connect with the sport and its fanbase - through writing. He's been covering everything-UFC for over 5 years on various platforms and has been part of the team at NYFights since early 2022.