The UFC returns to Brazil for a heavyweight showdown between the undefeated Jailton Almeida and the knockout artist Derrick Lewis. The main event of UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Lewis will take place on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo. The main card starts at 9 p.m. ET, and the prelims begin at 6 p.m. ET. You can watch the event live on ESPN+.
Jailton Almeida: The Brazilian Phenom
Jailton Almeida is one of the most promising prospects in the UFC heavyweight division. At 28 years old, the Brazilian boasts a perfect record of 15-0, with a blend of 12 submission wins and three by knockout. Training out of Galpão da Luta gym, Almeida has leveraged his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, transitioning those skills to the octagon by dominating opponents with takedowns and a ground game that’s hard to rival. With a reach of 80 inches and a lighter frame of around 230 pounds, Almeida’s agility and grappling expertise make him a formidable force.
Derrick Lewis: The Black Beast
Derrick Lewis, at 38, carries an impressive 26-9 record, mostly etched with the tale of his knockout power. Known as “The Black Beast,” Lewis holds the record for the most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history. His 6’3″ stature and a 79-inch reach combined with his boxing background give him the tools to deliver fight-ending punches, such as his dreaded uppercut. Training at the 4oz Fight Club in Houston, Lewis focuses on improving his striking under coach Bob Perez, which complements his already impressive resilience and punch power.
This matchup is a classic striker versus grappler affair. Almeida’s strategy will likely revolve around taking Lewis to the mat, using his polished BJJ skills to find a submission. In contrast, Lewis’s game plan will involve keeping the fight standing, aiming to land a power shot to secure another highlight-reel knockout.
Physical Attributes and Fight IQ
Both fighters share similar heights, but Almeida has a slight reach and mobility advantage, potentially aiding in his takedown attempts. Lewis, heavier and with sheer knockout force, will seek to exploit any opening Almeida leaves. While Almeida might have a plan to bring Lewis to the ground, the American’s experience and cage wisdom could be the key to surviving and creating the space he needs to unleash his power.
Training Camp and Preparation
Almeida’s preparations in Brazil have been focused on melding his elite grappling with an ever-improving striking game. Meanwhile, Lewis has been honing his takedown defense, well aware that keeping the fight upright is critical to his success.
The Venue Factor
The electric atmosphere in Sao Paulo will fuel Almeida’s drive, as the home crowd can be a potent force multiplier. For Lewis, the challenge will be to turn the potentially hostile environment into a motivator that sharpens his focus even further.
The heavyweight division’s landscape could be significantly altered after this night. A win for Almeida might propel him towards a title contention, possibly setting up encounters with the likes of Ciryl Gane or even the champion Stipe Miocic. For Lewis, a victory reaffirms his position at the top of the division and keeps his championship aspirations alive.
Keep an eye on the co-main event where light heavyweights Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker are set to clash, both seeking redemption to regain momentum in the division. Also, the heavyweight bout between Augusto Sakai and Tanner Boser will be one to watch, with both men known for their durability and aggressive fighting styles.
Fan Interaction and Odds
As readers, who are your picks for these electric matchups? What prop bets are catching your attention? Share your predictions and join the conversation.
Almeida’s ground game and Lewis’s striking are both capable of ending the fight at any moment. However, the difference may come down to who can implement their game plan more effectively under the bright lights in Brazil. While the odds might lean slightly towards the hometown hero Almeida, Lewis’s power cannot be underestimated, capable of swinging the fight in his favor with just one punch.
It’s fight night in Sao Paulo, and the heavyweights are set to deliver an unforgettable clash. Will Almeida’s grappling wizardry prevail, or will Lewis’s thunderous power dictate the story? Tune into UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Lewis to witness the outcome. Our models project Almeida to win this fight.