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Alex Perez not stunned Erceg received UFC title shot over Mokaev

LAS VEGAS – Many have been puzzled to see Steve Erceg get a title shot in opposition to UFC flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja – however not Alex Perez.

Though he may not agree with it, Perez (24-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) understands very effectively why Erceg ended up getting a title combat over Muhammad Mokaev, who many, together with Perez, thought was extra deserving of the chance.

“For those who take a look at resumes, Mokaev has a harder resume, I imagine,” Perez mentioned at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 55 media day. “He’s fought longer within the UFC, however he’s additionally fought Tim Elliot, who fought Demetrious (Johnson), and I fought (Alexandre) Pantoja and Deiveson (Figueiredo), and he beat me.

“However on this sport, you’re simply nearly as good as your final efficiency. It doesn’t matter what you probably did. Like I mentioned, Steve went on the market and did a very good job and fought a ranked man and beat him, then Alessandro (Costa), then is available in and finishes Matt Schnell. That’s very spectacular.”

Mokaev has twice as many wins within the UFC as Erceg. In contrast to Erceg, he’s unbeaten in his MMA profession and has wins over two former UFC title challengers – Perez and Tim Elliott. But, the person preventing Pantoja in the primary occasion of UFC 301 in Brazil on Could 4 is Erceg, not Mokaev.

Perez, who returns this Saturday in opposition to Matheus Nicolau (19-4-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in the primary occasion of UFC on ESPN 55 (ESPN, ESPN+), believes it’s extra than simply having a greater resume, it’s additionally about placing on dominant fights and getting finishes – one thing Perez feels Mokaev hasn’t finished.

“Mokaev went on the market, and I used to be coming off the sofa after a 12 months layoff, and it was onerous fought,” Perez mentioned. “I assumed I gained the combat. Clearly, the judges didn’t see it that means, and I can’t disagree with them, but it surely wasn’t his greatest efficiency. It’s additionally a enterprise. I perceive this man goes in there and placing folks to sleep, so why not give him a shot. It’s a enterprise, but it surely’s additionally preventing, and also you’re simply nearly as good as your final efficiency.”

So far as the combat between Pantoja and Erceg, Perez believes the champion will retain his belt although he finds Erceg a formidable problem.

“I give it to Pantoja due to the expertise, however Steve is hard as a result of he’s received crisp boxing and Pantoja has proven to get damage,” Perez mentioned. “Steve, I’ve seen him throughout combat week, and he’s a giant dud, and I believe I’m large for the division. He’s tall and has excellent boxing. It’s onerous in the present day if he’s good on the bottom as a result of nobody has taken him there. I’ve by no means finished research on him, so I don’t if he’s been taken down, however he’s trying like a stud. However Pantoja with the expertise, and he’s received an amazing camp in American Prime Crew, I’m going to go along with that.”

For extra on the cardboard, go to MMA Junkie’s occasion hub for UFC on ESPN 55.

Make sure you go to the MMA Junkie Instagram web page and YouTube channel to debate this and extra content material with followers of blended martial arts.

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