UFC & MMA Betting

UFC 290: Moreno vs Pantoja Prediction: Third Time (Un)lucky?



UFC 290: Moreno vs Pantoja Prediction: Third Time (Un)lucky?

UFC 290 is here! This weekend, UFC 290 is headlined by a truly epic featherweight title matchup between Alex “The Great” Volkanovski and Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez (you can read our prediction here). In this article though, we're offering our prediction for the equally epic co-main event; a trilogy matchup for the UFC flyweight title between Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja. Read on below to find our breakdown and prediction for this fight!

Brandon Moreno: Champion Again, Olé, Olé

Brandon Moreno is back, and back with championship gold once again.

For the first time, Brandon Moreno is heading into a title fight that does not involve the name Deiveson Figueiredo (weird, right?). However, it does involve another very familiar name from Brandon Moreno's relatively recent past – Alexandre Pantoja.

For those who are unaware, Moreno and Pantoja have faced off twice before, and very few could have predicted how those fights would have turned out. Both fighters first fought on Season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter, with Pantoja securing a second round submission. They next met in South America, at UFC Fight Night 129 in Chile. Pantoja..battered, bloodied and bruised Brandon throughout all 3 rounds, leading to a dominant decision (30-26, 20-26 and 29-27 scorecards).

Brandon Moreno is coming off the back of regaining his UFC flyweight title, with a brilliant stoppage victory over Deiveson Figueiredo. (Image Credit: MARCA)

Following that loss at UFC Fight Night 129, Moreno went on a five fight winning streak, before being involved in the UFC's first ever tetralogy against Deiveson Figueiredo. Now that he has regained his title, Moreno is firmly set on defending his title for a longer period of time. However, his first defence of his title could be his most challenging yet. Having to overcome an opponent that has already defeated him twice could be a significant challenge for Moreno, but he has made the prediction that he can finally unburden himself from his past defeats.

Alexandre Pantoja: “The Cannibal” to Maul Moreno Again?

Brandon Moreno must HATE Alexandre Pantoja.

The man who holds the nickname “The Cannibal” is hoping to haunt Brandon Moreno for the third successive time at UFC 290. Few could have made the prediction that Pantoja would have dominated and stopped Moreno the way he did the first time out, and no-one could have have even remotely predicted the way he would have demolished Brandon Moreno in their second meeting.

Alexandre Pantoja has already beaten Brandon Moreno twice – can he make it three in a row? (Image Credit: Fightful News)

Outside of his meetings with Brandon Moreno, Alexandre Pantoja has picked up some huge wins throughout his UFC career. Mixed in among losses to Dustin Ortiz, Deiveson Figueredo and Askar Askarov are huge wins over Matt Schnell, Manel Kape, Brandon Royval and Alex Perez (and, of course, Moreno). This run of wins has led Alexandre Pantoja to a UFC title fight, and of course it just had to come against familiar foe Brandon Moreno. One prediction we can make is that this is sure to be one hell of a fight.

Brandon Moreno: Path to Victory – Strike First, Strike Hard, Strike Often

Despite being down 0-2 to Alexandre Pantoja, there is actually a clear path to title retention for Brandon Moreno – his brilliant, new-found striking prowess.

Throughout his tetralogy with Deveison Figueiredo, the progression of Moreno's striking prowess was incredibly clear for all to see. Iron sharpens iron, and Figueredo has been one of the best boxers/strikers the flyweight division has arguably ever seen. And it is clear that Brandon Moreno learned from it. During Moreno v Figueiredo II, Moreno shocked everyone by piecing Figueredo up before submitting him on the ground. In their final meeting (part IV), Moreno won a TKO victory by injuring Figueredo's eye so badly that he forced a doctor's stoppage.

The point I'm making is this. Brandon Moreno has shown a massive growth in confidence in his striking prowess and ability, and it pinpoints a path to victory in this fight. In his first two meetings against Pantoja, Moreno was completely swarmed and overwhelmed on the feet against “The Cannibal”. I'm confident in making the prediction that that won't happen again.

If Brandon Moreno can keep this fight on the feet, then he has a huge chance of retaining his newly (re)won flyweight title. He is more than confident enough should this fight hit the ground, so if he can keep it standing, then Brandon Moreno will be more than confident enough in holding his own. Furthermore, Moreno's cardio has shown constant improvement throughout his last number of fights, as has his striking output. This will be essential for keeping Alexandre Pantoja at bay in those early rounds.

Alexandre Pantoja: Path to Victory: Take the Fight to the Floor

Like Moreno, Alexandre Pantoja also has a relatively simple path to victory in this fight – except it is the complete opposite of Moreno's.

Alexandre Pantoja's wresting prowess is absolutely exceptional. It is some of the best in the flyweight division, bar none. He has four submission wins in the UFC, and has looked utterly dangerous every time he is on the ground. Remember, Pantoja has been on the ground with Moreno before, and has also submitted Moreno before, too. Point being, Pantoja will be approaching this fight with a lot of confidence indeed. He will know that should this fight hit the ground, then he has a very good chance of defeating Brandon Moreno for a third time.

Additionally, Pantoja is entering this fight on the back of a 3 fight win streak, two of which include submission victories. Moreno is going to have to be very, very careful in how he approaches this fight with Pantoja. It's not simply a matter of being aware of being down 0-2, it's a matter of not allowing Pantoja to get into his flow and rhythm. If he does, then Moreno could be in a lot of trouble.

Official Prediction: Moreno to Vanquish Spectre of Pantoja

My official prediction is that Brandon Moreno finally vanquishes the haunting figure of Alexandre Pantoja, and, by extension, retains his UFC flyweight title.

Brandon Moreno Took The Long Road To The Title | UFC

My official prediction for this fight is that, yes, Brandon Moreno will retain his UFC flyweight title. (Image Credit: UFC)

You're probably looking at this and thinking I've lost my mind. Why, in God's name, would you pick the fighter who is down 0-2 to somehow pull a victory out of his behind? Well, there's two reasons.

Firstly, Moreno has spent a lot of time facing off against Pantoja; after all, they've fought each other twice now. Whilst Pantoja has gotten the better of Moreno on both occasions, Brandon also has a significant amount of data and experience to game-plan on. And Moreno proved against Figueredo that he is more than capable of building and adjusting the plan after having had significant exposure to his opponent's strengths and weaknesses.

The second reason for my prediction is another factor: confidence. Whilst Pantoja will be coming in to this fight very confident (and with every right to be), Moreno is coming off of two fantastic performances/victories over Kai Kara-France and Deveison Figueiredo. Stopping both of those fighters will give Brandon Moreno all the confidence in the world that he can absolutely win this fight, and potentially do some damage to Pantoja in the process.

Official prediction: Brandon Moreno to win via unanimous decision.




[Scratches record] Yeah, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up here...or not. My name's Keelin McNamara, and I am an AVID combat sports fan. Always have been, and probably always will be. I started writing and podcasting about MMA in the Summer of 2020 (yeah, we don't talk about that here either). I've been doing it ever since, and have loved every single minute of it! Thanks for checking out whatever it is you're reading - I hope you enjoy it!