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Alexandre Pantoja Showcases Dominance in UFC 296, Secures Title Defense Against Brandon Royval



The UFC 296 co-main event was a display of undeniable grappling prowess as Alexandre Pantoja retained his UFC flyweight championship with a relentless ground game, stifling Brandon Royval over five rounds.


Pantoja, fully aware of his superior grappling skills, executed a game plan focused on bringing the fight to the ground. Throughout the bout, he showcased a high-level ground game, consistently threatening with submission attempts while maintaining control. Despite Royval's resilient defense, he struggled to mount a significant offense and found himself predominantly defending against Pantoja's grappling onslaught.


The judges unanimously scored the fight 50-45, 50-45, and 49-47 in favor of Pantoja, highlighting his dominance in dictating the tempo of the match with his grappling expertise.


In his post-fight remarks, Pantoja expressed his mixed emotions, acknowledging the necessity of his strategic approach while admitting his reluctance towards a less entertaining fight. 


"This is the best show in the world. I love to fight here. This fight is maybe too boring, I don’t like to do that fight but I need to keep this belt for my family, for Brazil," Pantoja stated, emphasizing the significance of securing the title defense despite the less thrilling nature of the fight.


From the onset, Pantoja initiated an aggressive pace, continuously pressing forward to engage Royval. Despite a few moments where Royval landed well-timed counterpunches, Pantoja's persistent pressure led to securing crucial takedowns.


Throughout the rounds, Pantoja maintained his methodical approach, utilizing ground control and attempting to advance positions. Despite signs of fatigue creeping in as the fight progressed, Pantoja's grappling expertise remained dominant, thwarting Royval's attempts to take control.


In the later rounds, Royval showcased resilience, attempting to dictate the pace and land significant strikes. However, Pantoja's well-timed takedowns and ground control thwarted any significant momentum shifts in Royval's favor.


As the final bell tolled, Pantoja's relentless ground control and a late takedown solidified his victory, marking a successful inaugural defense of his UFC flyweight championship.


Pantoja's performance underscored his worthiness as the flyweight champion, while Royval, despite falling short in his championship bid, showcased resilience and remains a formidable contender in the flyweight division, promising tough challenges for future opponents.


For Pantoja, this victory signifies a long-awaited recognition at the top of the 125-pound division, solidifying his status as a dominant force in the UFC's flyweight realm. Meanwhile, Royval's tenacity in defeat sets the stage for his continued pursuit of success in the flyweight rankings.

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