Alexandre Pantoja Defeats Steve Erceg By Unanimous Decision At UFC 301

Alexandre Pantoja successfully defended his flyweight title tonight at UFC 301, but he had to fight tooth-and-nail to get that victory thanks to another impressive performance from Steve Erceg.

Round One:

The flyweight title main event is underway in Rio de Janeiro!

Hard low kick from Pantoja to start. He swings for the fences but Erceg backs of. Pantoja tries for a takedown, but Erceg denies it and presses Pantoja into the cage.

They soon get back to striking range. Leg kick for Pantoja. Jab for Erceg. Pantoja lunges in with a punch, but Erceg fires back with nice punches and a kick behind it.

Pantoja tries to work a takedown, but nothing doing for now. Punches into a knee to the body from Pantoja.

Pantoja with a flurry to the body and then a punch upstairs. Jab for Erceg. Leg kick from Pantoja and one from Erceg.

Leg kick and a punch from Pantoja. Pantoja with a nice trip takedown to get Erceg down. Erceg has some blood to the forehead which may have been from a clash of heads in an earlier striking exchange.

Erceg starting to stand, but Pantoja lands a knee and keeps him down. Pantoja in half-guard and lands a punch as Erceg stands. Pantoja drags him back down. Erceg scrambles, but Pantoja ends up almost in side control. He tries to take the back, but doesn’t manage to.

However Pantoja is able to blast away with solid ground-and-pound that leads to Erceg scrambling back to his feet in a hurry. Pantoja drags him back down, but Erceg battles back to his feet again and gets back to striking range.

Round Two:

Right hand lands for Pantoja. Knee to the body from Erceg. Pantoja trying to close the distance, but Erceg presses him into the cage. Pantoja reverses that position quickly though. He thinks about a takedown, but then opts to land a knee to the body and then back off.

Both look for a kick at the same time. Glancing left hand from Pantoja. He lands a low kick. jab for Erceg. Jab from Pantoja now.

nice short right from Erceg, but then Pantoja works for a takedown and lands it in the center of the Octagon.

Pantoja passes straight into mount. Erceg scrambling and shrimps back to half-guard. Very nice reversal from Erceg and gets back to his feet.

Left hook for Erceg. Erceg with punches and tries for a takedown, but gets caught in a guillotine attempt in the process, so he focuses on escaping that and then backs off.

lefty hand for Erceg. He threatens with a front kick upstairs. Low kick from Pantoja. elbow from Erceg. Pantoja lands a good punch as he drives in for a takedown against the cage. Erceg stays up though and gets to striking range.

Right hand from Erceg. Left hand for Pantoja, but Erceg lands too. Pantoja with a short flurry of punches as he crashes the distance.

elbow strike from Erceg. Pantoja gets the body lock and drags Erceg to the mat, but there’s only 10 seconds to go.

Round Three:

Elbow for Erceg and a kick. Knee strike from Pantoja as the clinch momentarily.

left hook from Erceg comes off the gard. Low kick from Erceg. Pantoja loads up on a punch but misses.

Short flurry of punches to the body from Pantoja. He lands a calf kick. Pantoja rips a few punches to the body again. Left hand for Erceg.

Missed high kick from Erceg. Low kick from Pantoja but Erceg lands to the head. Brief exchange of punches.

Jab from Erceg. Low kick from Pantoja. He works his way into the clinch against the cage. Knee from Pantoja, but Erceg then escapes the position.

Left hook for Erceg, but Pantoja landed too. Front kick to the body from Erceg, but Pantoja fires off a flurry of punches to the midsection in return.

Big exchange and Erceg lands a nasty elbow that opens up a big cut on Pantoja’s forehead, but he immediately goes for a takedown in response. Pantoja grabbing at the cut though as blood pours out. Pantoja does manage to land the takedown regardless though.

He’s finding Erceg hard to keep down though. Erceg scrambling, but Pantoja does well to take his back. Erceg stands up, but Pantoja drags him back down as the round ends.

Round Four:

Punches and a low kick from Pantoja, but Erceg landed a counter punch too. Big swing and a miss from Erceg.

Double-jab from Pantoja. Erceg punches and fails on a takedown attempt. Erceg with punches that come off the guard.

Elbow inside from Erceg as Pontoja looks for punches. Pantoja tries for a takedown, but it’s stuffed.

Uppercut attempt from Erceg. Jab for Pantoja. Light low kick from Erceg, but then a few punches land from Pantoja.

Body kick for Erceg. Jab for Erceg. Now a right hand. Missed leg kick from Pantoja. A punch to the body and then one upstairs from Pantoja.

Body punch from Erceg. Leg kick for Pantoja. Jab for Pantoja. Erceg attempts a takedown, but it doesn’t pay off and Pantoja was looking for a guillotine.

Erceg applying pressure. Brief exchange of punches in close. A couple land for Pantoja now. Jab for the champ. Uppercut from Erceg, but Pantoja gets into the clinch and works for the body lock. Left hand from him as Erceg escapes.

Round Five:

Pantoja firing off punches but not landing clean. Erceg with a nice takedown and lands it in the center of the Octagon.

However Pantoja scrambles back up and drives into his own takedown. Pantoja with the body lock and takes his back. Erceg stands but Pantoja still has the lock. Pantoja tries to drag him down and Erceg prevented that by grabbing the fence. The ref didn’t seem to notice.

Pantoja drags him down. Erceg able to scramble up and escape though.

jab for Pantoja as Erceg connects on an uppercut. Erceg with a head kick attempt and Pantoja with a jab.

Elbow strike from Erceg cuts Pantoja near his right eye. Hard left hook for Pantoja. leg kick for Pantoja. Erceg with a takedown attempt but Pantoja reverses swiftly and ends up in Erceg’s guard in the center of the Octagon.

Pantoja in half-guard and looking for punches. Erceg scrambling, but Pantoja ends up in full mount for a moment, then back to half-guard. He lands a few punches as Erceg tries to get back up in the final seconds.


That was a hard-fought battle and Erceg proved to be a very worthy challenger with his assured striking, nasty elbows and solid ground skills. The champ Pantoja was up to the challenge though, attacking fearlessly on the feet in the opening rounds and making good use of his wrestling and scrambling ability to edge out otherwise close rounds on his way to a unanimous decision victory (48-47 x2, 49-46).

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