UFC: Askar Askarov vs. Alexandre Pantoja Headed to Fight Island on July 18

Askar Askarov, UFC 246
Askar Askarov, UFC 246 Ceremonial Weigh-In Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

The UFC’s July 18 “Fight Island” card has added flyweight action.

Late last month, Askar Askarov announced on his Instagram page that he would be fighting Alexandre Pantoja. The news flew under the radar initially. However, Cageside Press has confirmed the booking, following an additional report by MMA Junkie.

Askarov (11-0-1) has had an interesting start to his UFC career so far. With a fair amount of hype behind him, the Russian fighter made his debut last September against Brandon Moreno. The pair fought to a draw in Mexico City. At UFC 246, Askarov made his sophomore appearance inside the octagon, battling Tim Elliott across three rounds en route to a unanimous decision win.

Alexandre Pantoja (22-4) will enter the Fight Island date (technically Yas Island in Abu Dhabi) off a win over Matt Schnell in December. He’s 4-1 in his past five fights, with the lone loss coming to top flyweight contender Deiveson Figueiredo.

Figueiredo faced Joseph Benavidez in February at UFC Norfolk, with the vacant flyweight title on the line. However, Figueiredo missed weight, so despite winning the fight, he was ineligible to win the title. The pair will rematch, also on the July 18 card, making Askarov vs. Pantoja’s timing perfect to determine the next in line.

Although, Alex Perez may have something to say about that.