Steve Erceg Reacts To Alexandre Pantoja Loss At UFC 301: ‘I Made A Mistake’

Steve Erceg and Alexandre Pantoja

Steve Erceg believes he made a decisive mistake that cost him dearly against Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 301.

In the UFC 301 main event, the Australian fighter pushed Pantoja to his limits, but the turning point came in the fifth round with a couple of late takedowns that were swiftly reversed. Judge Dave Tirelli’s surprising score of 49-46 in favor of the Brazilian contrasted with the tie declared by the other two officials, Fabio Alves and Sal D’Amato.

Pantoja’s adeptness at countering Erceg’s takedowns, particularly in the closing moments where he landed on top and controlled the fight for nearly two minutes, likely swayed the scorecards. Following the bout, Erceg grappled with disappointment as he reflected on what ultimately determined the outcome.

“I thought that if I could win the last round at least, I’d give myself a chance,” Erceg said during the post-fight interview. “I just blew it. I thought the third [round], I think it was the third that was close enough, like he got me down a couple times but there was no real control, and I got up and beat him on the feet. I was surprised how well he could scramble. I usually beat guys there. It was a shock.”

The loss snapped Erceg’s impressive 11-fight winning streak. However, his commendable performance garnered widespread respect, and it will likely result in only a minor decline in the flyweight rankings. With the prospect of big fights in future, Erceg will continue to be a key stakeholder in the division.

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