Brandon Royval “surprised” he was the underdog against Matheus Nicolau, hopes Alexandre Pantoja beats Brandon Moreno for the belt

By Cole Shelton - April 20, 2023

Brandon Royval didn’t understand why he was the betting underdog against Matheus Nicolau.

Brandon Royval, Matheus Nicolau, UFC Kansas City, Bonus, UFC

Royval entered the fight as a sizeable underdog – which has him perplexed. He knew Nicolau was good, but he thought his style and him being able to push the pace could create openings. What bothered Royval the most was seeing people say online that he was going to get knocked out.

“100 percent. I was more surprised by how many people saying I was going to get knocked out. How the f**k am I going to get knocked out? This dude has never finished anybody,” Royval said to “He finished Matt Schnell but Schnell got knocked out like four times in the fight before that like two months prior. I could see how he could beat me for sure, but I couldn’t believe how many comments I saw that people were predicting me to lose by knockout.”

Entering the fight, Royval and his team saw that Nicolau dipped his head when he threw a strike and thought an uppercut or knee could do serious damage. Then, during the fight at UFC Kansas City, Royval noticed Nicolau was ducking his head and threw a knee that dropped the Brazilian and finished him in the first round.

“No, not really. I didn’t get punched and I really only landed one or two strikes all fight,” Royval explained. “It was pretty ideal, honestly… That knee was part of the game plan. We noticed he ducked his head a lot when he plants to throw and usually the punch was a cross hook. In the middle of the fight, I noticed that is exactly what he was doing. So, the option was to either throw a cross back at him, catch him with an uppercut, or a knee and the knee is the one that landed.”

After the win, the UFC told Brandon Royval he would be the backup fighter for the flyweight title fight between Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja. He has fought both men and knows this is a great opportunity for him to secure the next title shot.

“It’s a great opportunity, make weight and prepare for both guys. It’s a chance to stay in camp and improve and fight for the belt right after. I’m going to wait for the belt. I don’t even know who I’d fight anyways, all the important fights are a bit away so I might as well wait and get the title shot,” Royval said.

Assuming Royval is not needed at UFC 290, he is hopeful to see Pantoja become the new champ. Royval lost to both men but wants the Pantoja fight back more and is confident he has all the tools to beat him.

“Absolutely. It would be cool to see Pantoja win the belt and that is the one I want back anyways. I’m not sure if he does win as I don’t know what he has been doing in the time off. I’m rooting for him and I want to face him for the belt and get that fight back,” Royval concluded.

Were you surprised Brandon Royval beat Matheus Nicolau?

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Brandon Royval Exclusive MMA Interviews UFC