3 possible next opponents for Alexandre Pantoja

Alexandre Pantoja defended his title at UFC 301 via a unanimous decision over Steve Erceg.
Alexandre Pantoja
Alexandre Pantoja / Steve Marcus/GettyImages
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Amir Albazi

Amir Albazi (17-1) is ranked No. 3 at flyweight and is on the precipice of a title shot. The 30-year-old beat Kai Kara France (24-11) in his last fight. He possibly could've claimed the next title bout outright had he been able to make his early 2024 Octagon date with Moreno and not get injured.

Albazi is one of the UFC's top flyweights and he's one of the only fighters in the division's top-five yet to face off with Pantoja. He is not only a high-level adversary but offers the champion a fresh face in terms of opponent. Albazi has five straight UFC wins and has proven himself a capable grappler with nine career submission wins.

Fending off submissions and holding his own on the ground would be key for Albazi. Pantoja is hittable despite his durability and is vulnerable late in fights. These are weaknesses a game opponent like Albazi could potentially exploit.

Pantoja will likely have to face a top-five fighter like Albazi whenever he is ready to return. If Albazi secures a statement victory in his next outing, his path to a title shot is practically locked in.