Brandon Moreno ahead of UFC 290 title fight: Alexandre Pantoja ‘never fought against the best Brandon Moreno’

While Brandon Moreno will look to pick up his first win against Alexandre Pantoja in his next title defense, the current UFC flyweight champ is confident Pantoja hasn’t seen anywhere near his best game in their two previous bouts.

The third meeting between the pairing will take place at UFC 290 on July 8 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. They first faced one another during season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2016 and Pantoja got the submission win. In the rematch, Pantoja got a unanimous decision win at UFC Fight Night 129 a little over two years later. This time around, Moreno plans to show something Pantoja hasn’t seen from him.

“I’ve said this before and I’m going to say this right now — he never fought against the best Brandon Moreno when we fought each other,” Moreno said on The MMA Hour. “But right now I’m just focused on him. I’m just training for him, doing the game plan for him and I’m ready, man.”

Following Moreno’s championship unification win over Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 283 in January, Pantoja congratulated Moreno backstage before challenging him for his next outing. Moreno shrugged it off, somewhat feeling like Pantoja should’ve given him his space to celebrate the victory.

Now, Pantoja — a winner of three straight — will look to put his money where his mouth is in the event that caps off the promotion’s International Fight Week. While both fighters are different than the second bout from over five years ago, Moreno feels there is one intangible in play that will make the difference.

“I mean, I can talk about a lot of different things like the technical part, the, the mental part, whatever, but the real difference for this fight will be [that] I’m a better athlete,” Moreno said on The MMA Hour. “I’m a better athlete and I’ll show that in July.”