UFC Sao Paulo: Almeida vs. Lewis Main Event Prediction
UFC SAO PAULO: ALMEIDA VS. LEWIS MAIN EVENT PREDICTION – The heavyweight division has been one of the more intriguing divisions as of late, not so much because of what has happened in the cage, but what is happening out of the cage. Jon Jones was scheduled to defend his championship next week against former champion, Stipe Miocic, however an injury has pulled him out of the matchup. The UFC decided to replace that fight with an interim championship bout between the next two heavyweights in line, Sergey Pavlovich, and Tom Aspinall.
It seems the next best heavyweight besides those four will be trying to add another name to his win column this weekend, getting him one step closer to being undeniable in title contention.
Jailton Almeida looks for his 15th straight victory as well as his second straight in a UFC main event spot.
Derrick Lewis steps in on short notice and hopes to derail the heavyweight hype train.
Will the wrecking machine that is Almeida continue down his path of destruction? Or will Lewis hand out a veteran lesson to the prospect and add to his UFC-record 14 knockout victories? Read on to see how these heavyweight finishers match up and if there is anywhere we can extract some financial value from it.
Coming into the UFC through the Contender Series back in 2021, Almeida has done his best to remain as active as possible. So much so that he decided to move up to heavyweight so he can accept short notice matchups and didn’t have to stay on top of cutting weight. This allows him to stay ready for all comers in the hope of expediting his path to the top of the division.
He is now 4-0 since moving up to heavyweight after dominating Danilo Marques in his UFC debut at the 205lb weight class. Finishing three of those four victories in the first round goes to show how dangerous of a fighter he is.
Almeida’s style normally relies on powerful takedowns and dominating from top position. He is very strong and provides crushing top pressure, usually finding his way to fight-ending positions. Using devastating ground and pound, he opens passes to full mount and the back very easily, and from there it is just a “pick-your-poison” moment for his opponents. Do they allow Almeida to stay in full mount and risk being on the receiving end of thumping hammer fists? Or do they give up their back and allow Almeida to take their neck?
It’s been a long time since we’ve had such a dangerous finisher on the mat in the heavyweight division and this may be just the threat that could take it all the way to the top.
At this point, it seems like Derrick Lewis will be a UFC-lifer. There’s no way the company would let someone with his amount of marketability walk to another promotion. I think the handsome six-figure paychecks (win or lose) he receives is enough for him to continue accepting any opponent they offer him.
He was given two opportunities to fight for gold, one against Daniel Cormier in 2018, and one against Ciryl Gane in 2021. He came up on the losing end of both, showcasing his knockout-centric style that is difficult to rely on against fighters that have a better overall game. Since losing against Gane, Lewis is now 2-3 over his last five fights, which included a three-fight losing streak.
Holding the UFC record of most knockouts, Lewis has won by knockout in 14 of his 18 victories. He has some of the most insane power we have ever seen in the cage. I think the most impressive part of it has been his ability to carry it late in fights all while his body language looks like the opposite.
Timing his blitz attacks and taking advantage of unsuspecting opponents has allowed him to pull off some late-fight heroics, most notably his finish of Alexander Volkov back in 2018. Lastly, his ability to work back to his feet without any real technique or process is comical, but legendary.
This seems like an impossible feat for Lewis to overcome. Not only taking this fight on short notice, but having to go to Almeida’s backyard in Brazil to pull it off. Obviously, counting out Lewis would be foolish considering the fight-ending power he is still showcasing at this point of his career, but the safety of Almeida’s game coming from a grappling approach could be a big deterrent to Lewis pulling off the upset.
I suspect we’ll see Almeida ground this fight without much issue and get this done within a round. I think targeting the round 1 prop and the under 1.5 could be the best way to attack this fight. It may be chalky, but it seems to be a sure-fire spot considering how these guys match up and the aggressiveness that Almeida fights with early.