Photos – Alexandre Pantoja faces off with Steve Erceg in front of Sugarloaf Mountain ahead of UFC 301 title fight

Alexandre Pantoja faces off with Steve Erceg in front of Sugarloaf Mountain ahead of UFC 301 title fight

Ahead of their undisputed flyweight championship fight this weekend in Brazil at UFC 301, championship stars, Alexandre Pantoja and Steve Erceg squared off for a face-to-face meeting in front of the Sugarloaf mountain – taking in the Rio de Janeiro scenery. 

Pantoja, the current undisputed flyweight champion – approaching two fights into his title reign, returns to his native Brazil for the first time since a 2014 victory outside the UFC – making his promotional debut on home soil, nine years deep into his tenure.

Pantoja UFC 301 Buda Mendes
Mandatory Credit: Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

For Erceg, the relatively organizational newcomer features in a championship setting for the first time since his move from Eternal MMA back in the summer of last year. And turning in a trio of consecutive victories since his move from the Australian promotion, Erceg looks to upset the applecart in his clash with Pantoja.

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Alexandre Pantoja faces off with Steve Erceg in Rio

Squaring off for the first time this week ahead of Saturday’s title fight showcase at the Farmasi Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Pantoja and Erceg were backdropped by the region’s huge Sugarloaf mountain – which also hosts the massive Christ the Redeemer statue.

Winning spoils at 125lbs back in July of last year during International Fight Week at UFC 290, Alexandre Pantoja turned in another career win over rival, Brandon Moreno to mint himself as the undisputed flyweight champion.

Erceg UFC 302 Buda Mendes
Mandatory Credit: Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

Returning in December at UFC 296, Pantoja landed his first successful defense of the championship with another decision win in a hard-fought rematch against Brandon Royval.

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Earning his shot at Octagon just last month, Erceg turned in his first knockout win since landing in the promotion, finishing Matt Schnell with a blistering stoppage – landing himself Performance of the Night honors to boot.

Pantoja title UFC 290

UFC 301 will also host the return of Brazilian icon, Hall of Fame inductee, Jose Aldo – who competes in his final contracted bout against Jonathan Martinez, having remained sidelined for the past two years since his clash with Merab Dvalishvili. 

Who wins at UFC 301 this weekend: Alexandre Pantoja or Steve Erceg?