Monday, January 24, 2022

Pantoja: I Could Only Think Of Figueiredo While Fighting Manel Kape

Alexandre Pantoja is obsessed with rematching UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo.

It was just last year that Deiveson Figueiredo and Alexandre Pantoja battled in a “Fight of the Night” battle. Pantoja came out on the losing end while Figueiredo went on to win his next four fights, including capturing the undisputed flyweight championship. Aside from Brandon Moreno, Pantoja is the last person to really push “The God of War” in a fight, and running it back with the champion is all Pantoja can think about, even while he is fighting another man.

“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. “If I want to fight Figueiredo, I want to beat that guy and that’s it. I want that guy. I want Deiveson Figueiredo.”

Part of the reason Pantoja is so eager to rematch Figueiredo is because of the deception (or gamesmanship, depending on how you look at it) that Figueiredo used to gain an advantage in their first fight.

Image result for alexandre pantoja vs deiveson figueiredo
Alexandre Pantoja & Deiveson Figueiredo Battling At UFC 240. Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

“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.”

Prior to his UFC Vegas 18 victory over Manel Kape, Alexandre Pantoja was ranked at #5 in the flyweight division. But even while so high up in the rankings, Pantoja will have some work to do if he wants to get that rematch since he is currently 1-1 in his last two fights and 2-2 in his last four.

That said, nothing in Pantoja’s fighting style or approach to this sport calls into question whether he is willing to pull up his sleeves and get back to work in earning it. And this will be made all the easier for him to do when he is completely driven and consumed by the thought of seeing Figueiredo in the Octagon again.

Do you believe Alexandre Pantoja is a threat to Deiveson Figueiredo’s flyweight title reign?

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