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UFC 301 fight card: Alexandre Pantoja to defend flyweight title against Steve Erceg in Brazil in May

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Alexandre Pantjoja will defend his UFC flyweight title on home soil. Pantoja returns to his hometown of Rio de Janeiro against Steve Erceg at UFC 301 on May 4.

Pantoja vs. Erceg was announced by the UFC on Friday. The champ heads back to Brazil after making his first successful title defense against Brandon Royval in December. Pantoja defeated Brandon Moreno via split decision to capture the title in a Fight of the Year contender at UFC 290 in July last year.

Ercerg is a surprising choice to fight for the title. The Australian fighter is becoming something of a cult favorite among the dedicated fanbase. Erceg made a splash in his UFC debut by defeating David Dvorak, a fighter ranked in the UFC’s official flyweight Top 15, on short notice. He subsequently beat Alessandro Costa before knocking out Matt Schnell at a UFC Fight Night two weeks ago. Erceg is currently ranked No. 10 in the division, leapfrogging higher-ranked fighters coming off wins like Royval (No. 1), Amir Albazi (No. 3) and Muhammad Mokaev (No. 7).

No main event has been announced for UFC 301. UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira revealed that he was in talks to fight Jamahal Hill on the card before the fight was booked to headline UFC 300. Pereira has expressed interest in making a three-week turnaround and headlining the home game if he beats Hill without sustaining serious damage.

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