UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Lewis takes place this weekend at Ginásio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil – and we’ve got our UFC predictions for all the fights below.
UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Lewis Predictions
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Jailton Almeida vs. Derrick Lewis
Jailton Almeida has emerged as one of the most exciting rising stars in the heavyweight ranks after racking up five finishes in a row since joining the UFC from the Contender Series, and now he’ll take on Derrick Lewis, who is coming in off a 33 second TKO win, which snapped a three-fight losing streak.
Lewis will have been relieved to get back in the win column back in July, but truth be told he took a bit of a step down in competition to do so, with Marcos Rogerio de Lima not being on the same level of opposition as Sergei Spivak, Sergei Pavlovich and Tai Tuivasa, who had all beaten him beforehand. And now in Almeida he’s back to facing another tough opponent on around a month’s notice after stepping as a replacement for Curtis Blaydes in this five-rounder.
Of course we all know of Lewis’ famed one-punch knockout power and on top of that he has good timing and can move with surprising speed and agility for his size in short bursts. The 38-year-old’s work rate in-between times can be lethargic though, his cardio is always a concern (even if he does well to fight through it), and he tends to resort to just brute strength rather than technical ability to get him out of trouble if the fight hits the mat. He did appear to be in better shape last time out though, which was good to see.
In the 32-year-old Almeida he’s facing a very athletic and impressively well-rounded heavyweight who has proven to be a dangerous fighter both on the feet and on the mat. At heart Almeida is a talented grappler with excellent submission ability for the division and strong wrestling too. However, he’s such a good athlete that he’s also become a notable striker too with finishing power in his fists and good kicks.
As such, though Lewis has mastered the art of the ‘puncher’s chance’, this does feel like a bad stylistic match-up for him in which Almeida could win on the feet, but also has an overwhelming advantage on the mat, which I expect him to use to lock in an early submission victory here.
Prediction: Jailton Almeida to win by submission in Rd1.
Gabriel Bonfim vs. Nicolas Dalby
Gabriel Bonfim has hit the ground running since joining from the Contender Series last year, racking up two 1st round submission wins in a row, and he’ll now take on Nicolas Dalby, who is currently riding a three-fight winning streak.
At 26-years-old the undefeated Bonfim looks like a serious force to be reckoned with heading into his prime years. He has good technical striking ability and implements a fast, high-volume approach, but it’s his grappling that is his most dangerous weapon, accounting for no less than 12 of his 15 career wins. He’s not the type of BJJ player that struggles to get the fight to the mat either as he has solid takedown ability too.
The 38-year-old Dalby is a hardy competitor and solid all-rounder who benefits from having a granite chin and has never been stopped by either strikes or submission. He has a pressure-heavy style and can weaponize his toughness and cardio to outwork and outlast his opponents.
Dalby isn’t an easy fight for anyone, but I do feel like Bonfim is on a different level ability wise and I think he’ll show that here as he gets the better of the action wherever the fight goes and then becomes the first person to stop Dalby via submission.
Prediction: Gabriel Bonfim to win by submission in Rd2.
Rodrigo Nascimento vs. Don’Tale Mayes
Rodrigo Nascimento has earned two split-decision victories in a row at heavyweight and now fights Don’Tale Mayes, who is coming in off a TKO victory against Andrei Arlovski in June.
These two actually fought back in 2020 and on that occasion it was the debuting Nascimento who emerged victorious via a 2nd round rear-naked choke submission. In all honesty no-one was really calling for a re-run of this one, but here we are all the same.
I don’t feel like much has changed since their last encounter that would affect the outcome. Mayes remains a fighter who want to keep the action standing and look to land a heavy-handed punch to turn out his opponent’s lights, while he also has a judo background and likes to work from the clinch. It’s a fairly rudimentary set of skills and there’s enough holes in his defensive game to suggest he’ll continue to struggle to move beyond the lower reaches of the heavyweight ranks.
Like Mayes, Nascimento is a big heavyweight but there’s more to his game as there’s a bit more versatility to his striking and though he can be drawn into a bit of a slugfest he has a solid ground game that he’d be wise to focus on again here after finding success there last time out.
Mayes is definitely vulnerable defensively on the mat and so I think this is another situation where Nascimento should be able to add another submission victory to his resume before the end of the second round.
Prediction: Rodrigo Nascimento to win by submission in Rd2.
Caio Borralho vs. Abus Magomedov
After two wins on the Contender Series in 2021, Caio Borralho joined the UFC and has continued his winning ways with four victories in the promotion so far. Now he fights Abus Magomedov, who comes in on a few weeks notice looking to bounce back from a loss to Sean Strickland.
Magomedov is a fairly well-rounded fighter who was actually giving Strickland a hard time in the opening round of their fight with his kickboxing from range, working good kicks, solid punches and even landing a takedown before running out of steam badly in the second round, leading to a TKO defeat.
So Magomedov’s cardio will be a cause for concern here after that, particularly as he’s not had a full camp for this fight. On top of that Barralho happens to have a very good gas tank and will look to press the action with respectable striking and even better work on the mat, with capable wrestling and strong grappling ability allowing him to just control opponents on top for extended periods. He is more than capable of landing hard ground-and-pound or working for submissions too when he chooses to though.
Magomedov is not an easy fight, but I do feel Barralho should be capable of weathering any potential early storm, and with his strong ground game he should be able to gain the upperhand and wear down his opponent. Perhaps a late finish is possible, but I’ll say he plays it safe and settles for a decision win.
Prediction: Caio Barralho to win by decision.
Rodolfo Vieira vs. Armen Petrosyan
Rodolfo Vieira has been alternating between wins and losses for the past couple of years and now takes on Arman Petrosyan, who has gone 3-1 in his UFC campaign so far.
This is a clear case of a grappler vs striker match-up. The 34-year-old Vieira is a top-tier, highly decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist who has so far won 8 of his 9 career victories in MMA via submission. He’s aided by the fact that he’s quite a capable wrestler too, though his striking is merely functional at best. The red flag for Vieira though has been his gas-tank. He’s a muscled-up middleweight and his poor cardio conservation landed him in big trouble in the second round of his fight with Anthony Hernandez a couple of years, badly running out of steam and then getting tapped out.
On the other hand, Petrosyan is a former kickboxer, though It’s always important to stress he is not the famous champion he shares the same name as. Nevertheless, he’s a very capable striker with a strong kicking game in particular, good output and solid cardio. However, Petrosyan’s ground game is less convincing and his takedown defense in particular is poor.
If Petrosyan can use his striking to deter Vieira’s attempts to get the fight to the mat then he could gain the upperhand later in the fight, but I don’t think he’s got what it takes to stop the Brazilian’s takedowns and that’s going to leave him completely outmatched in the grappling department, leading to Viera’s seizing on a 1st round submission victory.
Prediction: Rodolfo Vieira to win by submission in Rd1.
Ismael Bonfim vs. Vinc Pichel
Ismael Bonfim is the brother of co-main event fighter Gabriel Bonfim and has gone 1-1 in the UFC so far. Now he fights Vinc Pichel, who is coming off a decision loss to Mark O. Madsen that ended a three-fight winning streak.
Pichel has been around in the UFC for over a decade now and will turn 41-years-old later this month. He’s quite injury-prone and has only been fighting once-a-year for a long time, and indeed this marks his first fight in over 18 months. He’s not a quick or explosive fighter, but he is a tough jack-of-all-trades who will pressure on the feet and take punches to land his own, while also having good strength in the clinch and respectable wrestling ability.
Bonfim is much younger than him at 27-years-old and is more athletic too. He has sharp muay thai striking and will be noticeably quicker and more impactful than Pichel with his offense, while also being sound defensively. Bonfim also has good takedown defense and can offer a submission threat on the mat.
Pichel has only lost two fights inside the distance, one by strikes and one by submission, over the course of his career. However, given his age and Bonfim’s ability I think he’s likely overdue another one here, with Bonfim outstriking him to deliver a second round TKO finish.
Prediction: Ismael Bonfim to win by TKO in Rd2.
UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Lewis Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
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Vitor Petrino vs. Modestas Bukauskas
Angela Hill vs. Denise Gomes
Eduarda Moura vs. Montserrat Ruiz
Kaue Fernandes vs. Marc Diakiese