Alexander Pontajo made his official UFC debut at UFC On Fox 23, where he defeated Eric Shelton by split decision, it was the UFC Fight Pass featured prelim. Pantajo is now ready for opponents of a higher ranking.
“I think I’m ready for the top-10 (fighters),” Pantoja said to MMA Junkie. “I’d like to fight like a Benavidez. It’s a good fight for me. Like a good guy, an experienced guy. Benavidez has been fighting for a long time. I’ve been fighting for 10 years. I think I’m ready for this level. I respect Benavidez, but I like this fight, and I’m ready for this.”
Pantoja also believes the altitude of Denver, Colorado played a factor in his UFC On Fox 23 bout.
“It was a lot of pressure; it’s high elevation, (which is) very hard for fights,” Pantoja said. “I fought a good guy. Eric Shelton is a good guy. He’s fast and smart. I liked this fight. I think it’s a new level. I knew after the second round, I pressured. I tried two or three submissions. I knew going into the last round, I knew I was winning the fight. I just kept going. I had good punches. I tried to hurt (him) more, but the high elevation was really hard for me. I think it was hard for Eric. I tried finishing the fight, but I gave it my best.”
Pantoja was the #1 ranked fighter on the UFC Ultimate Fighter 24, which was eventually won by Tim Elliott.