UFC 301 odds: Alexandre Pantoja favored to defend vs. Steve Erceg

UFC 301 odds: Alexandre Pantoja favored to defend vs. Steve Erceg

Given the disparity in ranking, it should come as no surprise Alexandre Pantoja is heavily expected to retain flyweight gold against Steve Erceg in the recently announced UFC 301 headliner.

Pantoja (27-5 MMA, 11-3 UFC) will attempt to make a second consecutive defense of his 125-pound belt when he meets Erceg (12-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) at the May 4 event from Rio Arena in Rio de Janeiro (pay-per-view, ESPN2, ESPN+). The champion is fighting on home soil against a significantly less experienced challenger, and the betting odds reflect the advantages.

According to the opening UFC 301 odds from FanDuel, Pantoja is listed as a –280 betting favorite, meaning a $280 bet on him would yield a $100 return. Erceg comes back as a +210 underdog, meaning a $100 bet on the Australian would come with a $210 payout.

Pantoja, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie flyweight rankings, claimed the title with a split decision win over Brandon Moreno at UFC 290 in July. He registered his first defense with a unanimous decision win over Brandon Royval at UFC 296 in December.

No. 14-ranked Erceg made his octagon debut in June and has since reeled off three consecutive wins, with the highlight on that stretch being a second-round knockout of Matt Schnell at UFC Fight Night 238 earlier this month.

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