Alexander Pantoja

After UFC Vegas 18 win, Alexandre Pantoja is eyeing rematch with Deiveson Figueiredo

After scoring a unanimous decision victory over former RIZIN champion Manel Kape at UFC Vegas 18 last night, flyweight contender Alexandre Pantoja has his sights set on a rematch with 125-pound champion Deiveson Figueiredo.

Although the fight, which was later given “Fight of The Night” honors, was close, Pantoja convinced all three judges that he had done enough to earn the victory over Kape, who was making his UFC debut. Even during the fight, though, the Brazilian admitted that his mind was on Figueiredo.

“All the time I’m fighting with Manel, I’m thinking Deiveson Figueiredo,” Pantoja told reporters at the UFC Fight Night 184 post-fight news conference (Via MMAJunkie). “If I want to fight Figueiredo, I want to beat that guy, and that’s it. I want that guy. I want Deiveson Figueiredo.”

Pantoja first fought Figueiredo at UFC 240 in July 2019, coming up short and losing via unanimous decision. Since that fight, Figueiredo has gone 4-0-1, winning the flyweight title and defending it twice against Alex Perez and Brandon Moreno. Pantoja, meanwhile, has gone 2-1 in that time period.

As of this moment, the champion doesn’t have his next fight booked, although it’s expected that he and Moreno will rematch in the coming months, given that their first fight in December 2020 was a “Fight of the Year” candidate.

Pantoja, however, could reasonably be next in line to challenge the winner of that bout. And it seems as if part of him hopes a title shot comes against Figueiredo, as he feels as if the champion “played” with him in their first bout.

“First fight with Figueiredo, he came to me and said, ‘Hey, let’s make that bulldog fight, like a street fight. Let’s go. I can strike with you.’ And in the first round he took me down,” Pantoja said. “Come on. What’s this? He played with me, and I’m not going to make that mistake again. I’m ready for Deiveson now.”

Regardless of how true that statement is, Alexandre Pantoja believes a rematch between him and Figueiredo would look much different. The 30-year-old contender feels as if he’s improved in many facets of his game and is ready to challenge for UFC gold.

“I’m still growing, and every fight I get something – and now I have more to prove,” Pantoja said. “This fight is different. My weight cut is different. My mind is different. My mind is so good now. I can do anything I want. I can fight with anyone. I can fight a good striker like Manel, or I can fight jiu-jitsu with any guy.”

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