UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs Gastelum- Alexandre Pantoja vs Brandon Royval: Prediction and Analysis

Published 08/21/2021, 12:03 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 19: (L-R) Alexandre Pantoja of Brazil punches Askar Askarov of Russia in their flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 19, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


The main card opener for UFC Vegas 34 sees a flyweight scrap between top contender Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval. The bout is bookmarked by many fans to be a lock for ‘Fight of the Night’ given the fighters’ styles. Not to mention, the next championship contender is likely to emerge from this bout.

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The flyweight division has picked up steam in a massive way after the recent series between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno. Both men put on a show for the fans and there is a lot of hype to see the 125-pounders in action. Moreno became a massive star after his last outing and he’ll be watching the bout between Pantoja and Royval closely.

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UFC Vegas 34: Alexandre Pantoja vs Brandon Royval

Alexandre Pantoja is ranked number 3 in the division and is fresh off a unanimous decision win over Manel Kape. Despite his high ranking, he is 2-2 in his last four fights. However, it’s important to note that his losses have only come to the very best in the division.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 06: (R-L) Manel Kape of Angola punches Alexandre Pantoja of Brazil in their flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The Cannibal’ is extremely consistent across the board and he’s well-rounded no matter where the fight goes. Not to mention, he can adapt on the fly and this makes him a threat for the entire duration of the contest. Royval will have to be wary of Pantoja’s power in close range as he has the ability to shut off the lights with well-orchestrated combinations.

Brandon Royval was on an impressive four-fight win streak that was snapped when he faced off against Brandon Moreno in his last fight. He lost the contest via first-round TKO and is keen to rebound to the winner’s circle. ‘Raw Dawg’ is ranked number 6 at flyweight and can make a giant leap in the right direction with a win.

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LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 21: (R-L) Brandon Royval kicks Brandon Moreno of Mexico in their flyweight bout during the UFC 255 event at UFC APEX on November 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Royval’s fast-twitch movement is his biggest asset and it could very well be a deciding factor when he faces Pantoja. He uses erratic forward movement to set up his strikes and very often uses angles to his advantage. He’ll have tremendous success if he can cut off the cage and keep the fight at distance with Pantoja backing up.

Prediction: Alexandre Pantoja to claim a second-round submission

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Darryl Pinto

1875 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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