It appears Alexandre Pantoja will be on standby for the vacant UFC flyweight title bout on July 18.
Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez are set to collide again at a UFC event on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Back in February, Figueiredo and Benavidez headlined a card in Norfolk, Virginia. Figueiredo emerged victorious via second-round TKO. This was supposed to be a vacant UFC flyweight title bout but Figueiredo missed weight, so a champion would’ve only been crowned if Benavidez won the fight.
Alexandre Pantoja Says He’s On Standby For Vacant UFC Flyweight Title Bout
Ag Fight first reported that Pantoja is set to serve as a backup in case either Figueiredo or Benavidez are pulled from the July 18 card. Pantoja confirmed this when speaking to MMAFighting.
“They fought before and the division was stuck because of (Figueiredo’s) weight,” Pantoja said. “And it wouldn’t make any sense for me to fight anyone else unless I was the backup fighter in this fight in case the same thing happened again. The division can’t stop.”
The decision to put Pantoja in as a backup seems to be in response to Figueiredo’s weight miss last time. Figueiredo missed his target weight by 2.5 pounds the last time. Of course, injuries or illnesses on either side can also come into play.
Pantoja is already scheduled for the event. He’ll go one-on-one with Askar Askarov. While that bout will allow both fighters to weigh in at 126 pounds, Pantoja will want to tip the scales at 125 in case he’s called upon for the vacant title bout.
MMA News will have you covered on fight night for the July 18 card. You can count on us to deliver live results, highlights, and post-fight tidbits. Be sure to check back on our homepage one day before the event for weigh-in results.