Twitter reacts to Alexandre Pantoja dominating Brandon Royval with grappling to keep flyweight title

See how the MMA community reacted to the performance of Alexandre Pantoja as he defended the UFC flyweight title against Brandon Royval at UFC 296.

UFC 290: Volkanovski v Rodriguez
UFC 290: Volkanovski v Rodriguez / Steve Marcus/GettyImages

The grappling of Alexandre Pantoja was just too much for Brandon Royval to overcome, as the UFC flyweight champion successfully defended his title with a one-sided unanimous decision in the co-main event of UFC 296.

Pantoja appeared aggressive in the opening round, looking to take control and do some damage early. Pantoja scored an early takedown on Royval, but the challenger had his defenses, firing counter punches and, while on the ground, upkicks. Royval looked for a leg lock and tried to get to Pantoja's back, but Pantoja scrambled and got into the mount, showing control until the fight returned to the feet.

Pantoja got off to a hot start again in the second, landing a strong right hand that got Royval's attention before taking him down again and smothering him in top position. Pantoja looked to either get into crucifix or full mount, but Royval escaped and got the fight back to the feet with about a minute left in the round. Pantoja, however, wobbled Royval again and got Royval back down after a head kick attempt.

Pantoja returned the fight to the ground once more in the third, but Royval was able to reverse position, and Pantoja had to avoid a choke attempt when Royval went after his neck. Pantoja was able to score a couple of more takedowns, though Royval showed better defenses and landed bigger shots in spite of being in a weaker position.

Pantoja, continuing to explore Royval's takedown defense weakness, scored another to start the fourth and looked for an arm-triangle and rear-naked choke, getting neither. Pantoja, however, remained on Royval's back with a triangle bodylock, pressuring him. With less than two minutes left in the round, Pantoja locked in a rear-naked choke, but Royval escaped the submission — and nearly the triangle. In fact, Royval got out and got on top in the final minute.

The two traded to begin the final round, with Royval seemingly taking advantage of Pantoja's fatigue and landing combinations. Pantoja attempted to limit the damage with a clinch, but Royval was able to get out of it. Halfway through the round, however, Pantoja got Royval against the fence and scored another couple of takedowns on Royval. In spite of Royval's efforts, he was continously outgrappled.

Pantoja nearly swept the scorecards, with two 50-45 scores and a 49-46, all in his clear favor.

UFC 296: Twitter reacts to Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval

Pantoja and Royval met previously before tonight's title fight. The two fought at a UFC Fight Night event in August 2021, with Pantoja winning via submission.

Pantoja, who entered tonight on a four-fight win streak, defeated Brandon Moreno to win the UFC flyweight championship in the co-main event of UFC 290 in July. This marked his first title defense attempt.

Royval had won three straght since the loss to Pantoja. Prior to tonight's fight, his most recent bout came at UFC Kansas City in April, where he scored a knockout of Matheus Nicolau.

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