In the co-main event of UFC 290, Brandon Moreno faced off against Alexandre Pantoja in a highly anticipated rematch for the flyweight title. The two fighters had previously faced each other twice, with Pantoja winning both fights. However, Brandon Moreno was determined to come out on top this time around.
ALEXANDRE PANTOJA BY SPLIT DECISION!!
— UFC (@ufc) July 9, 2023
The fight was a back-and-forth battle, with both fighters landing significant strikes and grappling exchanges throughout the five rounds. Brandon Moreno showed excellent striking skills, landing several hard shots that visibly hurt Pantoja. However, Pantoja was able to use his superior grappling to take Moreno down and control him on the ground.
In the end, the judges scored the fight in favor of Pantoja, with two judges giving him the nod by a score of 48-47, and 49-46 while the final judge scored the fight 49-46 for Brandon Moreno. It was a disappointing loss for Brandon Moreno, as he had a ton of Mexican fans in attendance cheering him and he didn't want to lose like that in front of a packed arena of his fans. With that said, let's take a look at what could be next for the former flyweight champion.
While it may not be the most immediate option, a rematch with Pantoja could be in the cards for Brandon Moreno. The two fighters have already faced each other three times, with Pantoja winning all three fights but this fight being the most competitive that it ended in a split decision. While most fight fans aren't inclined to watch a rematch especially one that would be fight number four between these two fighters, this fight certainly would be that is worth a rematch. This fight was the fight of the night at UFC 290 and could arguably be the fight of the year that's how good it was. A fourth fight between these two would be highly anticipated and would provide an opportunity for Moreno to avenge his losses.
A fight with Brandon Royval would make more sense as it seems like he is the top contender right now in the division but with it looking like Royval might be next in line for a title shot, a fight with the surging Amir Albazi makes the most sense. Albazi is coming off his first main event fight and win against former title challenger in Kai Kara-France in which he won via split decision. Albazi showed a strong striking game with a granite chin with a grappling background very similar to that of Alexandre Pantoja which could give Brandon Moreno trouble. This fight would certainly be one that the fans would love to see happen as it would bring a ton of excitement.
Winner of Kai Kara-France vs. Manel Kape
This seems like the least likely fight to happen out of the bunch especially if Kai Kara-France is the winner, just because Brandon Moreno finished him not too long ago. With that said, a fight between Moreno and either Kara-France or Manel Kape would certainly have fireworks written all over it. Kape has been surging up the rankings and will be looking for his biggest win to date when he takes on Kara-France at UFC 293. A fight with Kape and Moreno would be a great fight between two powerful strikers that would be looking to throw down. Whether it is Kara-France or Kape who comes out on top, a fight with the former champ Brandon Moreno would be a sight to see for all.