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Steve Erceg Reveals ‘Ideal’ Way He’d Like to Defeat Alexandre Pantoja


Despite all the noise surrounding his next booking, Steve Erceg
is laser-focused on his upcoming flyweight title meeting with
Pantoja at UFC
301 and is hoping to walk away with a statement win over the
Brazilian in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Much has been made of Erceg (12-1) receiving a title shot just
three wins and 11 months into his
Ultimate Fighting Championship tenure. And while the Australian
admittedly got the opportunity perhaps because he was “at the right
place at the right time,” that won’t deter him from attempting to
walk away with a decisive win over “The Cannibal.”

While “Astro Boy” sees Pantoja as a class act with superior
grappling, the 28-year-old also sees himself soundly defeating the
Brazilian, “especially on the feet.”

“Well, I like the way he carries himself; he carries himself
respectfully. He has a great heart, super tough, obviously great
grappling, he looks very strong. I just think there’s a lot of
holes, especially on the feet. He gets away with them because he is
so tough. I don’t think that’s going to work against me,” Erceg
told MiddleEasy. “Yeah, I just think I’m going to pick him
apart. That being said, it’s not like I’m going to be able to stay
on the outside the whole time I fully expect him to find ways to
get to the grappling, that sort of thing. But I’m no chump there.
I’m also a black belt. Before people started calling me a knockout
guy cause I had one knockout I was a ‘grappler’ in the UFC so I’m
fully confident in my skills on the ground and in the grapple and I
think I separate myself with the striking technique.”

Erceg’s claims regarding his grappling prowess are backed by the
fact that “Astro Boy” made his way to the UFC on an eight-fight win
streak that saw him secure five victories via submission.
Additionally, his striking skills were on full display in his most
recent outing against Matt
Schnell, where the Myaree native secured an emphatic Round 2
knockout victory.

Asked about the ideal manner in which he’d like to earn the
flyweight strap at UFC 301, a confident Erceg said:

“Obviously there’s lots of different ways it could go, and I have
thought about a lot of different avenues to victory and stuff, but
I want to show that it’s not a fluke. So, the ideal way would be,
be on the outside, touch him up for a couple, maybe one or two
rounds on the outside and then yeah, either knock him out in the
third or late in the second or take him down into his expertise on
the ground and then make a statement by submitting him there. I
think that’d be the ideal way to get it done.”

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