Alexandre Pantoja is once again the backup fighter for a UFC flyweight title bout, multiple people with knowledge of the situation told MMA Fighting.
Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno are set the unify the 125-pound titles at UFC 283, which goes down Jan. 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pantoja will train for that date but does not want to face anyone else on that card unless it’s for the championship, per sources.
Pantoja (25-5) already served as backup fighter twice in the UFC. The first instance occurred in 2020 when Figueiredo rematched Joseph Benavidez for the vacant title. Pantoja fought and lost to Askar Askarov on the same night, and Figueiredo captured the belt.
Two years later, Pantoja agreed to weigh in as a potential replacement at UFC 277, when Moreno met Kai Kara-France for the interim belt. Pantoja fought Alex Perez that night and extended his winning streak to three straight with a 91-second submission, while Moreno won the interim belt via third-round TKO.
Pantoja, who holds two wins over Moreno — one of which came on The Ultimate Fighter, which doesn’t count on their official records — campaigned to face Moreno by the end of the year since Figueiredo was sidelined with a hand injury, but the UFC ultimately decided to wait for the champion and book Figueiredo vs. Moreno 4 for January.