The UFC is in Sao Paulo today. Headlining the event is Jailton Almeida vs. Derrick Lewis. The rest of the card isn’t much to write home about and we’ve already lost two match-ups since the weigh-ins. But there could still be some good scraps on the card.
The BE staff has looked at all these match-ups and made our picks. Now it’s time for the readers to do the same. Check out what they think below, along with extra analysis from readers Zeist Prist, DJNi and Tusk Fletcher.
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UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Lewis reader picks
Jailton Almeida vs. Derrick Lewis
Readers’ Pick: Jailton Almeida (100%)
Zeist Priest: In the past, if you wanted to defeat Lewis the way that Almeida wants to, you’d need to be strong enough to hold the huge man down, and skilled enough to overcome Lewis’ special ability to negate wrestling through denial of its existence. These days, I don’t know if that’s true, and while it will be interesting to see how Almeida fares if he is hit or if he needs more than two rounds to take care of Lewis, but he probably can still get Lewis out of there quickly at this stage of both of their careers. Almeida takes it.
DJNi: Jailton Almeida is my pick. He will most likely get a take down right away and eventually get the submission. Almeida always goes right to the take down and doesn’t get stopped from getting it often. Lewis is bigger and much better striker but he’s filling in, it’s in Brazil, and the ground has seemed to be one of his weaknesses.
Tusk Fletcher: Fan favorite Derrick Lewis was able to pull off a massive upset in his last fight, and fans may have recency bias, but Lewis is on a downward slope. Almeida isn’t as experienced, but he starts very fast and executes his skills very well. Let’s be honest, Almeida is a top-tier wrestler, and we can go on and on about Lewis and his power, but Almeida is going to instantly take him down and get a finish.
Although Almeida will eventually be tested, I don’t think it will happen here with Lewis. I believe Almeida will ground and pound Lewis and force him to scramble to try to avoid the damage, eventually finding himself being choked out. Almeida by Sub.
Gabriel Bonfim vs. Nicolas Dalby
Readers’ Pick: Gabriel Bonfim (90.9%)
Zeist Priest:This is a pretty good match-up of the good Bonfim sibling and the grizzled vet, Dalby. I was surprised by the odds massively favouring Bonfim. I suppose Bonfim has looked like a wrecking machine thus far, and surely Dalby’s age and the wars he’s been in are catching up with him, as evidenced by his last few grinding wins.
That said, if I were a gambler, I’d be all in on Dalby. And, in fact, screw it, I’m probably just biased by the illicit excitement of picking the dreamy Danish dog Dalby, but that’s the way I’m going, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me. Sound the upset alarms, Dalby is going to stall the prospect.
DJNi: I believe Bonfim gets the win. His stats are bananas. He puts up crazy numbers. He is a little hittable but he’s great at seeing and capitalizing on opportunities. Dalby is good but tough but I don’t think he’s good enough.
Tusk Fletcher: Dalby has great cardio and is very consistent with his efforts within the octagon. He’s never been finished in his long career, but he is getting older, and time catches up eventually. He’s tough, but very hittable. Bonfim will be quicker and will overwhelm him with aggressive pressure. I think he will be the first to finish the veteran. Bonfim by Sub.
Rodrigo Nascimento vs. Don’Tale Mayes
Readers’ Pick: Rodrigo Naschimento (81.8%)
Zeist Priest:If you’re planning a toilet break, you could do worse than this uninspiring rematch. Nascimento is coming off split decision wins against Tanner Boser and the 2023 HW version of Ilir Latifi, and a loss to Chris Daukas. Mayes, meanwhile, is coming off a win against 2023 Arlovski, and a loss to Augusto Sakai. Not exactly sterling resumes, nor styles that excite. I suppose I’ll back Nascimento.
DJNi:Nascimento, he already won against Mayes three years ago. I don’t think Mayes has surpassed Nascimento in that time.
Tusk Fletcher:Nascimento has defeated Mayes back in 2020, and neither of the two have faced a crazy skill increase in opponents. Nascimento will keep the same game plan by closing the gap, getting Mayes in the clinch against the cage, and eventually dragging him down. Nascimento by Sub.
Caio Borralho vs. Abus Magomedov
Readers’ Pick: Caio Borralho (90.9%)
Zeist Priest: Oh boy, a card so stacked that someone who just headlined an event is on the undercard! Magomedov is coming off a loss to Sean Strickland, the current champ (which still feels weird to write), in what was clearly a stitch-up. I think Magomedov is better than that showing would lead one to believe, and I also think that Barralho is quite raw as a prospect, and am not as hot on him as many are.
That said, Borralho is still the pick, as Magomedov yet again is used as a sacrifice to placate the home crowd.
DJNi: Borralho because I don’t trust Magomedov to get it done. He’s to inconsistent.
Tusk Fletcher: Caio I believe can win this fight, but he is also coming in on short notice. However, Magomedov was very underwhelming in his last bout. Borralho is a Black belt in Judo and BJJ, but it is a matter of whether he will be able to implement his wrestling early on.
I don’t believe he will stand and bang with Magomedov the whole fight, but I also don’t believe he will have an answer if Caio chooses to march forward, being too worried about the level changes. Borralho will make it a dirty fight, and overwhelm him until he gets him down, and will increase the gap with ground strikes, and control time. Borralho by Dec.
Rodolfo Vieira vs. Armen Petrosyan
Readers’ Pick: Armen Petrosyan (63.6%)
Zeist Priest: A hard one to pick, and a close one, but Vieira seems like a front-runner, while Petrosyan is solid and steady. While this could go a number of ways, I think Petrosyan is the safest bet.
DJNi: I’m gonna take Veieira because he should be able to get take downs consistently and at least get a decision.
Tusk Fletcher: Petrosyan has fought some good competition recently. He is very crisp early on and has great kickboxing. He will pick you apart if you can’t close the distance. I believe this a stylistic clash. If this stays at range, I think Petrosyan has the advantage.
Vieira will be trying to land his takedowns and snatch his neck up. He should try and do so early on before being picked apart at range. This will be a very close fight, but I believe Petrosyan is the one who can’t afford to make more mistakes, specifically by being taken down. Vieira by Sub.
Elizeu Zaleski vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov
Readers’ Pick: Rinat Fakhretdinov (81.8%)
Zeist Priest: I like Zaleski, but Fakhretdinov has looked impressive against a range of opponents, and it’s hard to pick against him here. And I hate doing things that are difficult, so Fakhretdinov is the pick.
DJNi: I guess I’m picking Rinat? Zaleski wears out and is 36 years old. Rinat has better stats all around except str lpm. He has decent pressure, no mustache, and scraggly beard… Danger danger danger
Tusk Fletcher: Many people believe Rinat will wrestle his way to a decision victory. I have a different vision for this matchup. Zaleski has been very inconsistent, and he’s going up against a hell of a wrestler. Zaleski needs to keep the distance, but I don’t think he will be very effective with his kick/punches. If he can slow down Rinat with leg kicks, I can see him having some success, but he begins to wear out in the latter rounds. He sits on his strikes and becomes to move sloppier.
I think Rinat will actually be able counter him quite often. Stylistically, I just don’t see Zaleski having anything to offer. I believe eventually Zaleski will eventually drop his hands trying to stop the takedowns later in the fight and will be caught. Fakhretdinov by KO.
Vitor Petrino vs. Modestas Bukauskas
Readers’ Pick: Vitor Petrino (81.8%)
Zeist Priest: Petrino has looked dangerous, and in a hurry to finish his fights. Bukauskas is a fun watch, and has a fun name to mispronounce, and while I think this is closer than the odds indicate, I’ll have to pick Petrino until he stumbles.
DJNi: Petrino for being more accurate, better grappling and being very aggressive. Bukauskas is big but struggles to adapt and is not aggressive.
Tusk Fletcher: Although I feel if the Lithuanian Kickboxer Bukauskas can keep the fight off of the ground by stuffing a couple takedowns and may be able to tire out Petrino (as he’s been gassed before), he could find some success. However, I don’t think this will be possible.
Do I think Petrino will come in with Sean Strickland cardio? No. But I do think he’ll continue to load up on his punches to take his opponent out. If he’s able to get it to the ground, I believe he will ground and pound his way to a submission, but if it never gets to that point? Petrino by KO.
Angela Hill vs. Denise Gomes
Readers’ Pick: Denise Gomes (54.5%)
Zeist Priest: This is a great booking, and Angie Hill has that Gamrot ability to have a close fight with anyone, while Gomes is a young prospect who continues to impress and over-perform. While I would probably have picked Hill in this sort of fight a year or two ago, it seems like her age is catching up with her and she’s slowing just a step.
Hill might be a savvy veteran, but her style has always relied on crisp striking, movement and great conditioning, all things that generally decline with age. Picking the younger upstart Gomes to punch her ticket into the rankings.
DJNi: I’m gonna take Hill to use her experience to get a decision over a young fighter.
Tusk Fletcher: Hill is coming off of a FOTN performance, and she is very effective in the clinch. Hill has so much more experience, but she has taken a lot of damage, and she is aging quick. I believe Gomes packs a lot of power, and I believe if she continues to march forward in her exchanges with the veteran, she will be able to catch her.
Dern was able to win a lot of the exchanges with Hill, being a wrestler. I think Gomes will have enough strength to stand in those close pocket exchanges and do real damage. Gomes by KO.
Montserrat Ruiz vs. Eduarda Moura
Readers’ Pick: Eduarda Moura (81.8%)
Zeist Priest: On paper, this looks like a lay-up for the debuting Moura. Moura clearly wants to be marketed as the next Rousey (her nickname is even ‘Ronda’), and almost always finishes in the first round, mainly by submission. On the other hand, Ruiz has looked rough and got run over in her previous fight in August – her first in two years.
However, a few things give me pause here – Ruiz has never lost by submission, which mightn’t bode well for Moura. Also, the best quality win Moura has was against a shopworn Alina Sattelmayer (who was on a five-fight skid), which she only could squeak out a split decision against. If I were a gambler, I’d say pick Ruiz for the upset, but just in terms of picks, I’ll still side with the prospects. Moura takes it.
DJNi: Definitely taking Moura. She is way bigger, a heavy favorite, and a good grappler, which seems to be Ruiz’s kryptonite.
Tusk Fletcher: Moura is a teammate of headliner, Jailton Almeida, and recently won a contract on DWCS. Moura is going to want to get this fight down to the mat and do most of her work there. There isn’t much fight tape on Moura, but a quick look at Moura’s social media, and she’s a proud BJJ Purple Belt. I believe Ruiz will be overwhelmed by Moura’s number of takedown attempts, and she’ll end up making the wrong decision down on the mat with her. Moura by Sub.
Kaue Fernandes vs. Marc Diakiese
Readers’ Pick: Marc Diakiese (100%)
Zeist Priest: Fernandes is an unknown to me – Tapology doesn’t even have his age. The bulk of his wins come in the first round, and unless Diakiese has fallen off a cliff, he’s generally pretty durable, and I’ll back Diakiese to win a frustrating, grinding decision. See if you can hear the song of the majestic boo-birds during this one.
DJNi: I’ll take Diakiese to outlast Fernandes. I think Marc’s athleticism and toughness will get him through round one and then Fernandes will fall apart.
Tusk Fletcher: While Fernandes is 8-1, he hasn’t fought much in recent years. With only 3 fights in the past 4 years, his two most recent fights were finishes in the first round. In the one fight that he has lost, he tired himself out after the first round. I believe Diakiese is durable enough of a veteran to get past the initial explosiveness and tire his opponent as the fight goes on. I’m predicting a slow and ugly fight where Diakiese can implement his wrestling until the final bell. Diakiese by Dec.
Who gets a Performance of the Night award?
Readers’ Pick: Jailton Almeida (54.5%)
Zeist Priest: Caio Borralho, as he seems pegged for big things and is being given a set up.
DJNi: Jailton Almeida for his submission of Lewis, probably in round 1.
Tusk Fletcher: I believe Petrino can get POTN if he finishes Bukauskas in the 1st round. Petrino will face some adversity, eventually catching his opponent with a counter strike sending him to the shadow realm.
Which fight wins Fight of the Night?
Readers’ Pick: Gabriel Bonfim vs. Nicolas Dalby (54.5%)
Zeist Priest: Angela Hill vs. Denise Gomes, for the wiley fun vet in Hill, and a scrappy upstart in Gomes. Has banger potential.
DJNi: I’ll say Gabriel Bonfim or Nicolas Dalby. Dalby could be tougher than the most recent competition for Bonfim.
Tusk Fletcher: Rodolfo Vieira/Armen Petrosyan. This is such a class of styles; I believe it has the possibility of being a banger. If Petrosyan can cause some damage, and Vieira still come out with a finish by submission in front of his home crowd, it would undeniably be FOTN.
Which fight are you most excited for?
Readers’ Pick: Jailton Almeida vs. Derrick LEwis (27.3%) and Rodolfo Vieira vs. Armen Petrosyan (27.3%).
Zeist Priest: Gabriel Bonfim vs. Nicolas Dalby. I like Dalby, I like Bonfim, and I see this differently than the odds-makers.
DJNi: Probably Jailton Almeida or Derrick Lewis. My heart cheers for Lewis and his post fight speeches. I can’t pick him here but I sure hope he wins. Lewis is the guy I like most on the card.
Tusk Fletcher: I am most excited about Gabriel Bonfim and Nicolas Dalby. Bonfim is undoubtedly moving up making a name for himself, along with his brother. This will be a true test, and I think the suspense of whether he can finish someone who hasn’t been finished in 25yrs is a story in itself. If Bonfim can do so, I think he also has the chance at POTN or even FOTN if Dalby is able to make it competitive, which isn’t unusual of the vet.
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