Jailton Almeida blames tiny forearms for lay-and-pray performance against Derrick Lewis, wants UFC 295 backup role anyway
Jailton Almeida scored a unanimous decision victory over Derrick Lewis in the UFC Sao Paulo main event last weekend in Brazil, landing six of 15 takedowns and controlling “The Black Beast” — a late replacement for the injured Curtis Blaydes — across five rounds of heavyweight action.
Or inaction, depending on how you scored the fight.
“It was a tough fight,” Almeida said through his translator on the UFC Sao Paulo post-fight show. “I was surprised that he never backed down. Derrick fought all the way. Although he fought last minute, he really put on a good fight. But I managed to fight a good fight. I was happy with my performance, even though I didn’t knock him out, I’m ready for any fights. I’m ready to fight five rounds for any opponent.”
The feedback from the combat sports community has been less than favorable.
Probably because “Malhadinho” spent the majority of their contest in a dominant position but made little effort to secure the finish. Perhaps that’s a credit to the defense of Lewis, or maybe those tiny forearms were keeping the Brazilian from sealing the deal.
“The strategy was to control him in grappling,” Almeida continued. “But he’s very strong, and his hand is twice as big as mine. My forearm is quite thin and he was able to grab ahold of my forearm and really control the blows that I was trying to give out. I was surprised by my strength. Although Derrick Lewis was much heavier than me, I was able to throw him down and control him, so I’m very happy with that.”
In addition to his callout of former interim titleholder Ciryl Gane, the 20-2 Almeida is volunteering to play backup for the UFC 295 heavyweight co-main event between Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall, who collide for the substitute strap this weekend in New York.
“I’m going to ask [UFC CEO] Dana [White], give me a pair of tickets for me and my wife so we can go to New York,” Almeida said. “But yeah, I want to sit front row. I do want to watch the fight. Who knows, maybe I can be on reserve if they need me.”
For more UFC Sao Paulo results and play-by-play click here.