Octagon Oracles: Jailton Almeida

Grade: B

Following an impressive victory on Contender Series in September, light heavyweight Jailton Almeida will look to extend his nine-fight win streak when he makes his UFC debut on Saturday night.

Despite coming into the fight as the underdog, “Malhadinho” was able to finish the previously undefeated Nasrudin Nasrudinov with a rear-naked choke in the second round to earn a UFC contract. The fight was fairly textbook as far as Almeida’s preferred approach to winning fights; back the opponent up to the fence and get the takedown, then work for a submission while landing heavy shots without sacrificing position on the ground. The win was his third submission victory in a row and only the second time he’s gone past the first round during his current run of victories.

A BJJ black belt, Almeida’s striking is largely built around trying to get his opponents to the canvas. His best weapon on the feet is his rear-leg front kick to the midsection which allows him to keep his opponents at range and back them up to the fence to set up a takedown. He’s also willing to blitz in on opponents to grab a body lock and get things to the mat using outside trips, but this approach does leave him open to get countered. While it ended up setting up the takedown Almeida used to finish the fight, Nasrudinov very nearly landed a flying knee that was likely thrown because of the Brazilian’s tendency to duck in when his opponents come forward during exchanges.

Once he gets the fight to the ground Almeida’s two primary submissions are arm-triangles and rear-naked chokes. While he can set up his arm-triangle from top position as we most commonly see fighters do, in his fight with Ildemar Alcantara he was able to get the position for the choke while Alcantara was on his knees and then flattened him out to finish it. His rear-naked choke setups typically make use of the heavy ground and pound he’ll land on opponents when they’ve turned away in an effort to get up. “Malhadinho” will throw hard shots to his opponent’s heads when he gets their backs, but the main purpose of the strikes is to punch all the way through and get his arm locked in underneath the opponent’s chin and finish like he did against Nasrudinov.

Almeida will debut against fellow Brazilian Danilo Marques, who is 2-1 in the UFC since joining the promotion in 2020. The 6’6” Marques will likely not be intimidated by Almeida’s size, and it will be interesting to see how his own grappling and takedown game match up with Almeida’s.

While Almeida’s win streak and collection of finishes are impressive, competing in the UFC’s light heavyweight division is going to put him against a much higher level of competition than he’s seen thus far. Stopping an undefeated prospect like Nasrudinov was a great statement win for his potential, but he was still occasionally getting matched up with fighters making their pro debuts as recently as 2019. His grappling should be enough to overwhelm some fighters, but I have concerns about how he’ll perform against fighters that can keep things standing and force the Brazilian to go late into fights.

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