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2012 World MMA Flyweight Scouting Report: #5 - Alexandre Pantoja

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Name: 22px-flag_of_brazil Alexandre Pantoja
Nickname: --
Age: 21
Height: 5'5"
Location: Brazil

After a brief trip back to the United States to conclude the latter half of our top ten flyweight countdown, we now journey back to Brazil to crack the top five. Surprisingly, we lead the second half of our climb to the summit with 21-year-old Alexandre Pantoja (10-2), a Nova Uniao fighter who is currently riding a three-fight win streak and has only lost to flyweight kingpin Jussier da Silva over the course of the last three years. I say surprisingly because more informed fans and analysts feel he may be the next great flyweight fighter from the region.

Those claims aren't without supporting evidence. He wiped out a couple of flyweight regulars in Ralph Lauren and Michael William Costa in bouts in ‘09 during a five-fight winning streak and quickly submitted heralded up-and-comer Bruno Azevedo at Shooto Brazil 18 in September of 2010. His resume isn't chalk full of experienced talent, lending some evidence to the contrarian point of view that the hype isn't justified yet.

Inevitably, we did buy into the opposing opinion. His strength of record isn't great, and it isn't decked out with wins over larger, more experienced bantamweights like some of our early picks. But it's difficult to see a ceiling already when Pantoja is only 21 years old and possesses a well-balanced arsenal of weapons.

Adept both on the feet and on the ground, Pantoja can win in any area of a fight. He's excellent off his back, consistently threatening with submissions or scrambling his way back to his feet. He's a strong striker, utilizing a Muay Thai base to batter opponents with a wild, aggressive approach that has produced more knockouts than your average flyweight fighter.

Defense is a concern, and it's heavily reliant on his conditioning, which has been hit or miss. He tends to get sloppy as fights drags on, mimicking a windmill with his striking attacks and leaving his chin exposed. His aggressive, uncontrolled attack is the likely culprit, and as he matures -- it should become less of a problem.

Time will tell whether that's the case. In the meantime, Pantoja needs to fight tougher competition that will push him to his limits. He needs to wade in the deep end to get a sense of where he stands. Right now, there isn't much Brazil can offer him at 125 lbs. with the exception of a rematch with Formiga. Past the rematch, there isn't much left for Pantoja in terms of credible match-ups in Brazil. If he can't gain the interest of Joe Silva yet, blowing up a few veterans while improving technique should suffice into mid-to-late 2012. If he hasn't gotten the call by then, Twitter campaigns seem to work.

Since the birth of the UFC's flyweight division creates a question of who we should consider as prospects, we've tweaked the criteria specifically for this weight class. Most notably, we drew a line, excluding the following well-known, established flyweights: Jussier ‘Formiga' da Silva, Ulysses Gomez, Ian McCall, Yasuhiro Urushitani, BJ Kojima, Rambaa Somdet, Mamoru Yamaguchi, Dustin Ortiz, Darrell Montague, Danny Martinez, and any flyweights outside of our original criteria.

Footage of Alexandre Pantoja after the fold...

Flyweight Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight
#1 -
#2 -
#3 -
#4 -
#5 - Alexandre Pantoja
#6 - Hector Sandoval
#7 - Jesse Riggleman
#8 - Sean Santella
#9 - Claudir Dutkevis
#10 - Kevin Belingon
#1 - Rony Mariano
#2 - Aljamain Sterling
#3 - Chris Holdsworth
#4 - Josh Hill
#5 - Fabiano Fernandes
#6 - Claudio Ledesma
#7 - Sirwan Kakai
#8 - Kyoji Horiguchi
#9 - Leandro Hygo
#10 - Pedro Munhoz
#1 - Hacran Dias
#2 - Joey Gambino
#3 - Brandon Bender
#4 - Lance Palmer
#5 - Jim Alers
#6 - Anthony Gutierrez
#7 - Max Holloway
#8 - John Teixeira
#9 - Cody Bollinger
#10 - Bubba Jenkins
#1 - Fabricio Guerreiro
#2 - Alessandro Ferreira
#3 - Adriano Martins
#4 - Justin Salas
#5 - Neilson Gomes
#6 - Eduard Folayang
#7 - Zorobabel Moreira
#8 - Anton Kuivanen
#9 - Jordan Rinaldi
#10 - J.P. Vainikainen
Welterweight Middleweight Light Heavyweight Heavyweight
#1 - Andrey Koreshkov
#2 - Dhiego Lima
#3 - Brandon Thatch
#4 - Nordine Taleb
#5 - Hernani Perpetuo
#6 - Brock Jardine
#7 - Alan Jouban
#8 - Mohsen Bahari
#9 - Andre Santos
#10 - Stephen Thompson
#1 - Antonio Braga Neto
#2 - Marcelo Guimaraes
#3 - Claudio Silva
#4 - Bojan Velickovic
#5 - Ildemar Alcantara
#6 - Michal Materla
#7 - Elvis Mutapcic
#8 - Tor Troeng
#9 - Jack Hermansson
#10 - Tim Ruberg
#1 - Wagner Prado
#2 - Phelipe Lins
#3 - Tom DeBlass
#4 - Misha Cirkunov
#5 - Kyle Cerminara
#6 - Robert Drysdale
#7 - Artur Alibulatov
#8 - Thiago Perpetuo
#9 - Steve Bosse
#10 - Juha Saarinen
#1 - Magomed Malikov
#2 - Magomed Abdurahimov
#3 - Alexei Kudin
#4 - Levan Razmadze
#5 - Chris Birchler
#6 - Ruslan Magomedov
#7 - Adam Parkes
#8 - Richardson Moreira
#9 - Jan Jorgensen
10 - David Oliva


Alexandre Pantoja vs. Bruno Azevedo

Ralph Lauren x Alexandre Pantoja

Alexandre Pantoja X Maicon William

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Peterson Malfort

Alexandre Pantoja X Rodrigo Sampaio