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UFC 301 a ‘watershed second’ for flyweights

Alexandre Pantoja sits in elite standing now as the one fighter not named Demetrious Johnson to have a number of title defenses within the UFC flyweight division.

A private sense of satisfaction was on full show Saturday throughout and after his UFC 301 major occasion title win over Steve Erceg. Nevertheless it’s the phrases “major occasion” that nearly imply as a lot to Pantoja (28-5 MMA, 12-3 UFC) as “title win.”

“I’ve at all times mentioned this division is solely powerful,” Pantoja mentioned on the UFC 301 post-fight information convention. “You possibly can take the Tenth-ranked man and have him combat in opposition to the champion and also you guys noticed precisely that tonight. This division is all about work. You possibly can’t transfer up within the rankings simply by speaking. I’m actually blissful to see this. I feel it was a watershed second for the division. We’ve been having major occasions in Mexico. There was a major occasion final week between flyweights, so I’m very blissful to see this second.”

Erceg (12-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) was considered by many as a little bit of attain by way of title challengers. However with the promotion in want of a UFC 301 major occasion and out of different choices, it determined to fast-track the promising Erceg, who badly break up open Pantoja with an elbow within the third spherical.

“I at all times say the one manner somebody goes to kill me in there’s once they enable folks to go in there with weapons. You’re not going to take me out. So long as I’m respiratory, I’m going to be combating again. I did count on the combat to finish sooner. However once more, the Australian man may be very powerful. He’s going to be very examined on this division. However you possibly can see instantly when that elbow landed, I attempted to cease the bleeding with my arms – however that’s a part of it.”

The combat was shut, with two judges giving Pantoja three rounds out of 5 whereas the third gave him 4. He defeated Erceg by way of unanimous resolution (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).

“I feel I clearly received the primary three rounds of the combat,” Pantoja mentioned. “The fourth spherical may’ve been his. The fifth spherical was mine. I undoubtedly suppose it was 4-1. That man was very powerful. It’s what we are saying. This can be a man from Australia, a man that’s very powerful, a man that individuals didn’t actually know, and he got here in there to die. He was ready to die. I feel that’s what it’s all about if you combat for the championship.”

As for what’s subsequent, Pantoja says trip. He dismissed the point out of his shared document with “Mighty Mouse” and doesn’t view his legacy as being fully within the cage.

“These are simply stats,” Pantoja mentioned. My legacy is at house. My legacy is with my children. Numbers actually don’t matter on this division. We noticed the Tenth-ranked man in opposition to the champion. I at all times say it’s like two universes colliding. I’m right here. I’m pleased with my household and the whole lot. He was over there crying. He had his spouse. He had his dad. It’s a really powerful sport. No one is blissful ending up in second place in MMA.”

For extra on the cardboard, go to MMA Junkie’s occasion hub for UFC 301.

You’ll want to 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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