UFC São Paulo was headlined tonight by a blockbuster heavyweight bout between division contenders Jailton Almeida and Derrick Lewis.
November’s first UFC event was backdropped by Brazil’s largest city. 11,000 boisterous hometown fans packed into Ginásio do Ibirapuera to watch a card packed with both promotion veterans and talented prospects.
Almeida was one of a multitude of Brazilian fighters to be backed generously by the South American audience. ‘Malhadinho‘ entered the bout off the back of a commendable first round submission over Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The 32-year-old also entered tonight’s card with an unscathed promotion record, having defeated all five of his UFC opponents via stoppage.
Lewis also came into the contest with a victory under his belt. ‘The Black Beast‘ overcame Marcos Rogério de Lima at UFC 291 with an incredible highlight-reel knockout. The former heavyweight title challenger sprinted across the octagon at his counterpart and immediately landed a flying knee. The contest lasted just another 30 seconds.
Jailton Almeida Dominates Derrick Lewis
Piercing stares connected across the octagon before the first bell. 30 seconds in, Jailton Almeida shifted between levels and managed to land a powerful takedown on Lewis. The Brazilian quickly entered top mount and began raining down strikes on his opponent. It looked as if Almeida was yet again going to achieve a rear-naked choke, although Lewis utilised resilience and defensive grappling to remain in the fight.
Minutes later, ‘Malhadinho‘ re-gained top control and looked to squeeze in with an arm-triangle choke. ‘The Black Beast‘ stayed calm once more, and survived until the end of the round.
Round two carried on in a similar vein. Almeida advanced towards Lewis and countered the American’s looping strike with another single leg takedown. Little action ensued, with Almeida dominating the grappling exchanges and Lewis happy to sit in ‘corpse guard’, as described by Michael Bisping on commentary.
The third round seemed to open more positively for Lewis, who managed to land a few strikes before sprawling. Almeida once again maintained the top, however made a mistake when attempting to switch positions and accidentally rolled over, allowing Lewis to land strikes from mount. The 38-year-old failed to take full advantage of the slip-up, and once more saw himself compromised on the bottom, whilst Almeida landed the heaviest ground-and-pound shots so far.
Round four – same story. Crowd frustrations began to show as Almeida continued to struggle to pass Lewis’ defensive wrestling. The Brazilian was seemingly beginning to tire himself, as he failed to meet the output of earlier rounds.
History was made as both fighters entered their first ever fifth round. Almeida once again looked to spam the takedowns, and succeeded on the second attempt after a valiant effort from Lewis. Referee Marc Goddard pleaded with the pairing to show significantly more movement on the canvas, and apart from a get-up and re-shoot, his demands were left unanswered.
Result: Jailton Almeida defeats Derrick Lewis via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-45)
Did you enjoy UFC São Paulo? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images