Alex Perez hopes Alexandre Pantoja retains title at UFC 301: ‘I want to fight the guy that beat me’

Alex Perez is hoping to kill two birds with one stone in the near future – win the UFC flyweight title and avenge his loss to Alexandre Pantoja.

The UFC flyweight contender is hoping Pantoja defends his 125-pound title against Steve Erceg on Saturday in the main event UFC 301 in Brazil. Perez (25-8 MMA, 7-4 UFC) is confident Pantoja can get the job done, from an objective, analytical point, but he’s also hoping that’s the case for personal reasons.

“I give it like a 70/30, 60/40 chance,” Perez told MMA Junkie. “Pantoja has the experience. Pantoja’s wrestling isn’t the best, but he’s just a dog that keeps shooting. On the feet, Pantoja is tough. He can take a punch. Steve, I haven’t seen a lot of him outside the UFC, but he’s a stud, too. One thing that’s scary in the division is that he’s shown that he has one-punch knockout (power), whether he just hit the right button on (Matt) Schnell or what. But on paper, Pantoja gets hit, and Steve is going to hit him, so still give him a chance.

“Obviously, I want Pantoja to win because if I fight for the title, I want to fight the guy that beat me.”

Both Pantoja and Perez fought back in 2022 with the Brazilian coming out on top, submitting Perez in the first round.

Today, Perez feels he’s in a bit of a weird spot given that he picked up a big knockout win in the main event of UFC on ESPN 55 last week, but he’s also 1-3 in his past four performances. Perez is hoping to improve that run on June 15, when he faces Tagir Ulanbekov at a UFC Fight Night event in Las Vegas.

Although not banking on it, Perez thinks he can maybe get a title shot given the state of the division – which has many of the top contenders injured or coming off losses.

“Anything can happen in this sport, but I just worry about myself,” Perez said. “Obviously. I want to fight and beat all these guys. I wish no ill will toward them. Hopefully they can get healthy and we can get this fight going. But if the opportunity comes, great. I’ll take the opportunity.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 301.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie