A crackling flyweight collision is on deck at this weekend’s Struggle Night time card within the UFC, when third-ranked flyweight Alexandre Pantoja collides with sixth-ranked Brandon Royval. Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval takes place on the primary card of of the Cannonier vs. Gastelum UFC Struggle Night time card this Saturday. We’ve a technical breakdown of this key flyweight affair.
Regardless of solely holding a 2-1 file within the UFC, Brandon Royval has already earned the respect as a flyweight mainstay. A former LFA champion, Royval trains at FactoryX Muay Thai in Denver beneath Marc Montoya. He holds a BJJ black belt and has completed eleven of his twelve professional wins, the bulk coming by submission.
Royval is all the things MMA followers love about flyweights. He’s scrappy, quick, and pushes a bruising tempo. Though his aggression can depart openings for his opponents to take advantage of, he throws prolonged mixtures and strikes laterally nicely. The gasoline tank has by no means been a problem in his UFC fights, which is typical of the athletes who practice in Colorado altitude.
What actually stands out for Royval is his use and mastery of the scramble. A gifted scrambler is aware of the way to transfer not simply to finish in a dominant place, however to arrange assaults. Brandon Royval has an ungodly expertise at establishing submissions whereas the world continues to be spinning within the scramble, ending with a lethal assault already locked in.
His UFC debut in opposition to Tim Elliott was a whirlwind of submissions, however Royval declared checkmate when he gained the complete mount, took the again of Elliott, then again to mount, again whereas making that full transition, he was trapping the arm of Elliott in order that he landed in an arm triangle choke. He bought the faucet on only a week’s discover.
He used the identical expertise in opposition to Kai Kara-France, rolling to omoplatas and heel hooks earlier than leaping to the fight-finishing guillotine choke in spherical 2. Pantoja could also be a great grappler too, however he’ll need to sustain with Royval’s pace.
Not like Brandon Royval, Alexandre Pantoja is a longtime staple of the flyweight division. He was a favourite to win the Final Fighter season 24, which featured flyweights competing for a shot on the UFC belt. Regardless of falling to Hiromasa Ogikubo within the semifinals, Pantoja has remained within the high 10-ranked flyweights for many of his tenure.
On the ft, Pantoja is affected person in his strategy. He likes to get reads on his opponents by persistent touches and feints, whereas constantly controlling the centre of the cage. As soon as he’s laid traps, he arrange his larger weapons. Some go-to weapons for Pantoja embody the teep kick to the mid-section and the overhand proper.
In opposition to Wilson Reis, Pantoja used leg kicks and the teep to decrease Reis’ palms simply sufficient to land the overhand proper in spherical one. The fitting octane kicked in for Pantoja, who dropped Reis and completed him with punches.
On the mat, Pantoja is among the most formidable within the division. A longtime Brazilian Jiujitsu black belt, nearly all of his wins come by the use of submission. He’s not solely highly effective on high and on the again, however off of his again as nicely. In opposition to fellow grappler Ulka Sasaki, he threatened with arm bars and triangle chokes from his again till he scrambled to Sasaki’s again for the rear bare choke end. Royval must be extremely cautious if the struggle goes to the ground, even when he looks like he’s in a dominant place as Pantoja can sweep from any place to show the tide in his favor.
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval: The Matchup
The distinction of pacing between these two flyweights will doubtless give method to the extra speedy employee, which is Royval. Royval will doubtless cost Pantoja who will battle to keep up management of the putting like he usually does. Pantoja would like to select his photographs and make Royval miss, and that teep kick may very well be a cornerstone in halting the ahead strain of Royval. Whereas Pantoja is the extra correct, highly effective striker, Royval is the extra voluminous.
One other doubtless response of Pantoja to Royval’s is that he instances the takedown as Royval surges ahead, as he’s been in a position to hit a number of instances on hyper-aggressive adversaries. If the struggle hits the mat, Pantoja may battle with the pace of Royval. Since each are BJJ black belts, anticipate loads of momentum shifts.
How Pantoja makes an attempt to corral the momentum of Royval would be the deciding issue of this struggle. The likeliest end result is that it goes to a choice, with doubtlessly every fighter securing rounds with the judges. If Royval wins, there’ll be a brand new recent face among the many flyweight high 5, but when Pantoja wins, a great probability he will get matched up in opposition to champ Brandon Moreno on a PPV in November or December.
Find out how to Watch
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval is the primary struggle on the primary card of UFC Vegas 34, which airs on ESPN and ESPN+ within the US at 10pm ET/7pm PST on Saturday night.
Chris Presnell is a workers author for MMASucka.com and MMA Ecosystem. Observe Chris on Instagram and Twitter at @mmaecosystem.
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