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UFC 296 Betting Preview: Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval

December 16, 2023

Excellent matchups await for the upcoming UFC 296 event, as the main card is scheduled for Saturday, December 16, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada at 10:00 PM ET. The co-main event features an explosive featherweight title bout between current champ Alexandre Pantoja and second-ranked Brandon Royval. 

Pantoja is currently the moderate favorite to win with a moneyline at -190.

Alexandre Pantoja Betting Preview

Pantoja has won his last four fights and obtained the featherweight belt in the process. His most recent success was a split decision over previous champion Brandon Moreno back at UFC 290 in July of this year.

He has put together a balanced resume of 26 wins that consists of eight knockouts, 10 submissions, and eight decisions. 10 of these wins have ended within the first round of action. Looking at his five losses, all have been by decision.

“The Cannibal” has delivered strikes with a success rate at 48 percent and landed takedowns successfully at 45 percent. He has a solid significant strike ratio, in which he puts up 4.41 significant strikes each minute and absorbs 3.81. This will be key, as his separation is not that much.

Pantoja lands 1.75 takedowns and 1.03 submissions per 15 minutes of fighting time. He also showcases solid defenses with a 52 percent rate against significant strikes and 67 percent against takedowns.

Brandon Royval Betting Preview

After losing to the top two fighters in the division consecutively in 2020 and 2021, Royal has since been on a three-fight win streak and earned another shot at the belt. His most recent win was a first round knockout over Matheus Nicolau back at UFC on ESPN 44 in April of this year.

He has compiled 15 wins that show four knockouts, nine submissions, and two decisions. 10 of these victories ended in the first round. As for his six losses, four have been by decision.

“Raw Dawg” strikes with an accuracy at 38 percent and has landed just a few takedowns successfully at 100 percent. His significant strike ratio is good, with 3.45 significant strikes delivered each minute and he takes on 2.63.

He has some action on the ground, with 0.66 takedowns and 2.33 submissions per 15 minute of fight time. However, his defenses are a bit lacking as he puts up a 50 percent defense against significant strikes and 39 percent against takedowns.

Odds, Series Trends and Free Pick

MyBookie showcases the odds for this matchup, with Alexandre Pantoja as the moderate favorite to win. Based on recent success, Pantoja is a quality choice here.

  • Brandon Royval: +145

  • Alexandre Pantoja: -190

These two have fought once before back in 2021, with Pantoja winning in the second round by a rear-naked choke submission. Look for Pantoja to win again with another aggressive ground attack.

Pick: Alexandre Pantoja -190