Brandon Moreno looks for the first defense of his title as flyweight champion when he takes on Alexandre Pantoja in a rematch in the UFC 290 co-headliner Saturday night. Moreno will be looking for revenge as he not only lost to Pantoja in their only professional meeting back in 2018, but was also submitted by the Brazilian in an exhibition fight back during The Ultimate Fighter back in 2016.
Pantoja, meanwhile, will be looking to go 2-0 over Moreno — professionally at least — and become the new flyweight champion in his first attempt after winning four of his last five fights. Will Moreno finally get one back and notch up a title defense in the process, or will Pantoja emerge victorious over the Mexican once again and become the latest Brazilian champion in the UFC?
It's a tough one to call and even more so for their fellow fighters. So who are the UFC fighters predicting to come out on top in this flyweight contest? Here's a look at some of the most prominent MMA names and who they're predicting to win between Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 290.
Which fighters are predicting Brandon Moreno to win?
It comes as no surprise that despite being 0-2 against Pantoja, Moreno is the popular pick among many fighters simply because of how much he's improved in the last couple of years as well as his overall body of work. Not to mention, he's also four years younger than the challenger which could play a pivotal role.
UFC bantamweight Cody Stamann:
“Moreno is a tough guy to beat right now. He gets better every fight, I see him in the gym, I know how hard he works. … I think Brandon Moreno is the guy right now, I don't really see anybody beating him.
“I know Pantoja's beat him in the past but Brandon Moreno's kind of reached a different level as an athlete. I think he's the best that he's ever been. He's in the gym as much as most guys in camp. He's hungry, he wants to continue his reign and I don't really see anybody beating him anytime soon.”
UFC bantamweight contender Rob Font:
“Gotta go Moreno, gotta go with the champ.”
UFC bantamweight Brian Kelleher:
“I'm going to lean towards Moreno. I don't know if there'll a finish in that fight — I think maybe more towards a decision.”
UFC heavyweight Chris Daukaus:
“Moreno. He's right there, he's one of the best No. 1, No. 2 behind Volk.”
UFC welterweight Neil Magny:
“He [Moreno] just finds a way… He gets it done. I don't see this fight playing out any different for him. … He'll show people why he's the flyweight champion. … I definitely think Moreno gets the job done.”
UFC welterweight Alex Morono:
“Moreno man, he's always fun to watch. He's still young and getting better. … Pantoja is good but I think he's a little bit older.”
Which fighters are predicting Alexandre Pantoja to win?
While most fighters are going with Moreno in this contest, there are some who believe Pantoja's two wins against him count for something. And so, Pantoja is being backed by a few fighters to end up becoming Moreno's kryptonite once more including a certain Brandon Royval.
Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith:
“Pantoja's got two wins over him. That matters. I don't know if that means if Brandon Moreno is going to be even more motivated and come in even nastier. Pantoja has the X-factor. Moreno has done a really great job of mixing in his grappling with his striking and keeping his opponents guessing. I don't think he has that choice with Pantoja, I think his only option is to stay off the ground which kind of leaves him one dimensional in this fight because he can't be shooting takedowns because that'd be silly.
“I think this fight is way closer than people think. I think Pantoja is probably going to get counted out by a lot of people. I'm going to call an upset and say Pantoja.”
UFC flyweight contender Brandon Royval:
“I'll give it to Pantoja. He's 2-0 against Moreno so I don't know, maybe there's a mental thing going on, maybe not. Moreno has got nothing but better since then but I'm sure Pantoja has too. He trains at ATT and he's been getting ready for this fight for years. I'm sure he's made some maor adjustments and some major additions to his game.”
UFC lightweight Grant Dawson:
“Alexandre Pantoja — let's go, and new. I like Brandon Moreno, we have the same manager and I've met him, he's a really cool guy, a really humble guy. But man, Alex Pantoja is a beast.”