Muhammad Mokaev: Steve Erceg ‘still green,’ loses to champ Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 301

Muhammad Mokaev thinks Steve Erceg is too inexperienced to beat Alexandre Pantoja.

Flyweight champion Pantoja (27-5 MMA, 11-3 UFC) defends his title at against Erceg (12-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in the UFC 301 headliner May 4 in Rio. Mokaev was passed up for a title shot despite defeating former title challenger Alex Perez at UFC Fight Night 238. Erceg knocked out Matt Schnell on the same night to earn the title opportunity over him.

With Erceg having never gone past Round 3, Mokaev sees Pantoja’s pressure being too much.

“I think Pantoja will win,” Mokaev told TNT Sports. “I think Erceg is still green, still not as experienced to fight Pantoja. Pantoja is very, very experienced. He’s a dog in this game. He’s a bully fighter.

“He comes, tries to finish you from early seconds, and then when he cannot finish you, he breaks. That’s the key I’ve learned from watching Pantoja, I’ve trained with him, and I know I have the keys to beat him.”

As for Erceg, Mokaev doesn’t see him hanging with Pantoja on the ground.

“Erceg has really good boxing, but ground game is not there,” Mokaev continued. “Especially he just fought, he’s not a wrestler, he doesn’t have the condition to work for five rounds. Every great striker once they get taken down, they cannot strike second and third round the same as they can in the first round.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 301.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie