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MX News Update 2024

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‘Don’t Blink’ Calls Up Steve Erceg for PPV Homecoming in ‘Australia vs. New Zealand’ Showdown

Following his narrow defeat at UFC 301, Steve Erceg has been called up for a PPV homecoming against a fan-favorite flyweight veteran.

While Steve Erceg came up short against flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja last weekend in Brazil, ‘Astroboy’ suffered no significant damage and his next fight could very well take place in his own backyard.

Brazil's Alexandre Pantoja reacts after his victory against Australia's Steve Erceg in a UFC flyweight championship fight at the UFC 301 event...
Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Steve Erceg only rose one place in the rankings after UFC 301

Heading into the final round of his championship fight at UFC 301, Steve Erceg was just five minutes away from hearing “And New” in front of a hostile crowd in Rio de Janeiro — or at least, what was left of the crowd, like many chose to leave the arena before the fight ended.

Erceg may have fallen short in a decisive defeat to the champion, but it was certainly a standout performance from the Australian contender as he pushed Pantoja all the way onto the judges’ scorecards.

But despite the impressive performance, Erceg only rose one spot in the official flyweight rankings – fortunately, ‘Astroboy’ is already being called up for his next fight, and should this come to fruition, he would be an excellent addition to UFC 305.

Kai Kara-France drafts Steve Erceg for key flyweight clash at UFC 305

Via Sky Sport New Zealand, top flyweight contender Kai Kara-France acknowledged that Erceg was just a few bad decisions away from becoming the new king of the 125lb division.

“He held his own against the champion and probably won that fight. A few decisions: If he had done it differently he probably would have had it in the bag, but he showed a lot of skills that I was impressed with and I even messaged him saying you should be proud of that performance.

‘Don’t Blink’ then took the opportunity to not only call up Erceg for a fight later in the summer, but also called for the clash to take place at UFC 305 in Perth, Australia, on August 18.

“I feel like Steve would make a great dance partner somewhere close to home – he’s from Perth – so I know the hometown boy will get a lot of hype.”

“There’s no animosity when it comes to Anzacs or guys from this side of the world. You just have to give props where it’s due, but hey, that’s the fight game.”

Kara-France noted that the call is “nothing personal, it’s all business,” adding that since UFC 305 was approximately 15 weeks away from the time of taping, there is plenty of time for Erceg to get back into training to go:

“This is the one you need to book, he has some time to recover… He should be ready to go.”

“That’s the route, if he wants to get it, Steve Erceg – let’s sort this out in Perth.”

The New Zealand warrior is currently on a two-fight losing streak and has not seen action since his split-decision loss to Amir Albazi last June; he also had a falling out with Manel. Kape dropped out in September due to an injury.

Callout comes after Mokaev vs Kape reported for UFC Manchester

Kara-France hopes a convincing win over ‘Astroboy’ in Perth could catapult him back into title contention; however, the top of the flyweight tree will likely have a new number one contender by then.

This comes as just a few hours earlier it was reported by multiple sources that the #6 ranked Muhammad Mokaev will face the #7 ranked Manel Kape at UFC 304 in Manchester on July 27.

Although this fight has not yet been officially confirmed by the UFC, Mokaev has part a fan-made poster for the fight on his social media with the caption: “July 27the another win InshaAllah.”

The rising contender is undefeated as a professional with an 11-0 record; six of which have come into the UFC through the likes of Alex Perez, Tim Elliot and Jafel Filho.

Across the octagon is Manel “Starboy” Kape, who has certainly had a rollercoaster in the UFC in recent years with nine canceled bouts since his debut in 2020.

The Portuguese striker has a professional record of 19-6 and is on a four-fight winning streak, including victories over David Dvorak, Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Felipe dos Santos.

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