After his dominant win at UFC Sao Paulo, what’s next for Jailton Almeida?

Jan 21, 2023; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jailton Almeida (blue gloves) reacts after the fight against Shamil Abdurakhimov (red gloves) during UFC 283 at Jeunesse Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Sao Paulo, we saw a battle between two of the best finishers in the heavyweight division. Brazil’s Jailton Almeida (20-2) was looking to move to a perfect 6-0 inside the octagon as he took on “The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis (27-12).

Entering the fight, I thought we were guaranteed to get a finish. In fact, the odds of the fight going the distance (+1200) were some of the longest main event odds in UFC history in terms of a main event going the distance. You had a prolific knockout artist in Lewis and a sensational ground specialist in Almeida.

In the first round, Almeida got Lewis down with ease an immediately moved into the mount. From there, I thought he would lock up a submission and the night would be over. Instead, Almeida looked for openings, but really didn’t do a whole lot besides control Lewis.

Unfortunately, this was the story of the fight. Never did it seem like Almeida was ever close to getting a submission win. Instead, for five rounds he would secure a takedown and either have the mount or he would secure back control. Shockingly, the fight went the full five rounds and Almeida won a decision at UFC Sao Paulo.

What’s next after UFC Sao Paulo?

It’s hard to imagine a fighter losing steam or hurting his stock with a five-round shutout over a former two-time heavyweight title challenger, but that’s exactly what happened on Saturday. Almeida was dominant and moved to 6-0 in the UFC, but nobody walked away from that fight wanting to see him in a title fight.

So, what should be next for him? He called out Ciryl Gane after his win and I can assure you that I don’t see that fight happening. Instead, I think you’re more than likely going to see a matchup with Curtis Blaydes. Almeida and Blaydes were the original headliners of UFC Sao Paulo before Blaydes got hurt.

Almeida wouldn’t be able to do what he did to Lewis to a guy like Curtis Blaydes. It’s an incredibly intriguing matchup that would force Almeida to show more of his game. I think the promotion would rather him end up in a fight like that next before giving him to the guys right in the title picture.

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