Alexandre Pantoja | TUF Beginnings

Pantoja would fail to defeat Hiromasa Ogikubo in the semifinals and was eliminated from the tournament. UFC did not ignore the potential they saw in Pantoja, though, giving him a contract and quickly matching him up with fellow TUF castmate Eric Shelton for his UFC debut.

Although he didn’t win TUF, the show gave the world an opportunity to really appreciate the flyweight division and to see just how talented fighters like Pantoja are. Today, the flyweight division is known for delivering incredible fights that operate at a high pace with premium technical skills. Other well-known flyweights from Pantoja’s season of TUF included Moreno, Kara-France, Matt Schnell, and Tim Elliott. It was a pretty special crop of athletes.

WATCH: Pantoja’s Favorite UFC Fights

Today, Pantoja is the champ of the division, and while he didn’t win the show, there is no doubt how important that season of The Ultimate Fighter was not only for Pantoja, but for the next generation of flyweights.

Pantoja is set to defend his title versus surging contender Steve Erceg on May 4 in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. UFC 301 will be Pantoja’s first time fighting in Brazil since joining the UFC and it will also serve as his first main event.

Get Ten Dollars Off UFC 301: Pantoja vs Hill

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