LAS VEGAS – Alexandre Pantoja wants to get his hands on the champion one more time.
The UFC flyweight contender is hoping to land a rematch with Deiveson Figueiredo following Pantoja’s decision win over Manel Kape at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 184. Pantoja (23-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) defeated the former Rizin FF champion and bounced back from his defeat to Askar Askarov in July 2020.
Pantoja kept the champion in mind while fighting Kape, as he desperately seeks to avenge his “Fight of the Night” defeat to Figueiredo, which went down before Figueiredo became champion.
“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.”
Figueiredo is not currently booked for a title defense, but he’s widely expected to take on Brandon Moreno in an immediate rematch sometime in 2021. The two are coming off a “Fight of the Year” candidate bout back at UFC 256 in December which ended in a majority draw. UFC president Dana White said following the fight that an immediate rematch was the plan.
UFC Fight Night 184 results: Alexandre Pantoja spoils debut of Manel Kape, earns unanimous decision nod
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Pantoja hopes to lock horns with Figueiredo once again, as he feels the fellow Brazilian tricked him in their last outing back at UFC 240 in 2019.
“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.”
Pantoja thinks he’s grown plenty since the two last fought and has improved his overall game, but most importantly his mindset.
“I’m still growing, and every fight I get something – and now I have more to prove,” Pantoja said. “This fight is different. My weight cut is different. My mind is different. My mind is so good now. I can do anything I want. I can fight with anyone. I can fight a good striker like Manel, or I can fight jiu-jitsu with any guy.”