Alexandre PantojaPrior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at flyweight Alexandre Pantoja as he makes his UFC debut against fellow flyweight debutant Eric Shelton at UFC on FOX 23 in Denver, Colorado. Alexandre Pantoja Hometown: Arraial do Cabo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Age: 26 Height: 5’5” Reach: 68” Weight Class: Flyweight Camp: Nova Uniao Career Record: 16-2 Key Wins: Damacio Page Key Losses: Jussier Formiga Background TUF 24 competitor Alexandre Pantoja entered the show as one of the favorites to win the tournament, but he faltered in the semifinals. Pantoja has an excellent submission game with four of his past five victories coming by submission. He trains out of Brazil’s top camp Nova Uniao. Strengths

  • Solid chin
  • Good variety in his leg kicks
  • Does well to seek takedowns in the clinch
  • Fast in transition
  • Slick, aggressive submission game

Weaknesses

  • Below average striker
  • Doesn’t have hands to compete with top UFC caliber strikers
  • Can be beat up in a prolonged standing exchange
  • Not a high-caliber athlete

GradePantoja

Matchup with Eric Shelton A good flyweight clash opens the UFC on Fox 23 card in Denver, Colorado, as American Eric Shelton takes on the Brazilian Pantoja. While Pantoja was considered one of the favorites to win TUF 24, it was Shelton who perhaps was the biggest surprise on the show. On the feet, Shelton has a significant advantage. He has much better hands and is much more likely to land a decisive punch on the feet to win. His technique is certainly more sound as well. Pantoja does a good kicking game, but he will try desperately to take Shelton to the ground. Shelton has been taken to the mat in previous fights but does well to defend takedowns as well as get back to his feet. Pantoja may score a takedown early in this fight but will struggle as the fight wears on to have success. Look for the more athletic Shelton to stuff takedowns, wear out Pantoja and earn a win in this fight. Both fighters are pretty durable, so I expect this fight to go the full 15 minutes. I expect Pantoja to be the favorite once lines are released and will look to play Shelton at the open. UFC Ceiling Pantoja entered the UFC with much fanfare after leaving RFA as its flyweight champion. Pantoja trains at a well-respected camp that has produced two world champions in Jose Aldo and Renan Barao. While he certainly has the opportunity to train with tremendous mixed martial artists, his striking ability is nowhere the level of his teammates. Pantoja is going to struggle in the UFC if he’s forced into standup exchanges. There are a lot of good wrestlers in the flyweight division, so Pantoja is going to need to develop a serviceable standup attack or he has no chance to meet the lofty expectations some have for him as a fighter. Fight Film Check out Alexandre Pantoja in some of his most recent fights: Alexandre Pantoja vs. Kai-Kara France Alexandre Pantoja vs. Matt Manzanares Alexandre Pantoja vs. Damacio Page


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