Alexandre Pantoja Claims Next Flyweight Title Defense Will Be in Brazil On May 4th

According to UFC flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja his next title defense is already in the works.

“I’ll be defending the belt in Rio, on May 4,” Pantoja reportedly told soccer player Gabriel Barbosa at an event in Orlando.

However, while Pantoja seems certain on the date and location of his next fight, in a separate interview his American Top Team coach Marcos DaMatta seemed to suggest it was more of a hope than a concrete agreement at this stage.

“He’s back training – he wants to defend his title in Rio in May,” DaMatta told MMA Junkie. “That’s something that we’re really asking the UFC and his managers to make it happen, because it means a lot to him. It’s the first time that he’s going to fight in Rio de Janeiro. He even said that to me, ‘I’ve fought everywhere. I’ve fought in Korea. I’ve fought in the United States, Abu Dhabi, Europe – I’ve never said no to any fight, please just let me defend with my people.’”

That certainly makes sense and the UFC will surely be interested in having the Brazilian champion on that card, but it’s not clear at this stage who his opponent would be.

“We’re just hoping that we get there in Rio,” DaMatta said. “There’s a lot of tough guys in the division. Why do the fourth Moreno fight? Why do the third Royval fight? Even Kape. We already fought Kape. But I believe Kape has a little bit of problem making weight. He was a bit too big in between fights. Hopefully he gets his things together because he’s a very dangerous opponent, very tough opponent. There’s a lot names. Albazi is still in the picture. Hopefully he gets healthy soon. We’ll see.”

However, even although Pantoja already holds three wins over Brandon Moreno (including once on The Ultimate Fighter), DaMatta does think it’s likely that the UFC may be looking to run that fight back once again after he only narrowly won via split-decision in their title fight in July of last year.

“I truly believe if Moreno wins in Mexico City, UFC is going to try to push for the fourth Moreno fight. The only problem that I see is in between Feb. 24 and May 4, is exactly 10 weeks. The first and last week doesn’t count. He’s going to have eight weeks to prepare for a fight. Since he’s already preparing, hopefully he doesn’t get hurt or anything and we can make it happen in Brazil. I think he will say yes because he won the title in Brazil. He doesn’t have any problems going to Brazil and fighting a Brazilian. So let’s see.”

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