Jailton Almeida calling for Ciryl Gane after disposing of ‘popular’ Derrick Lewis at UFC Sao Paulo
Fast-rising Brazilian bruiser Jailton Almeida knows the path to a 265-pound title shot includes a victory over former interim champion and No. 1-ranked heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane.
But “Malhadinho” will first need to get past Texas speed demon Derrick Lewis in the UFC Sao Paulo main event, scheduled for five grueling rounds this Sat. night (Nov. 4, 2023) at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Lewis is a late replacement for the injured Curtis Blaydes.
“Derrick Lewis has more than two million [Instagram] followers, he’s quite popular for the things he does, like taking off his shorts and all that,” Almeida told MMA Fighting’s Trocacao Franca podcast. “He’s fought for the belt twice, he’s known worldwide. Blaydes could be a great fight for me, beating him would make people see me differently, but I want to climb the stairs step by step. Things happened so fast for me, I’m Top 10 in less than two years. I don’t think any heavyweight was able to do that. But this is going to be a good fight for everybody.”
Almeida (19-2) has terrorized the heavyweight division since making his Octagon debut back in early 2022. A product of Dana White’s “Contender Series,” the 32 year-old “Malhadinho” is undefeated in UFC with five wins and five finishes, four in the first frame.
But Lewis (27-11, 1 NC) is no stranger to planishing Brazilians.
“MMA is unpredictable,” Almeida continued. “There are fights he fakes he’s hurt, or what he did last time against [de Lima]. We have to stay alert. I don’t know how he’s coming this time. We’ll have to dance whichever music is playing, there’s no other way. When that cage closes we have to be smart all the time, watching his hands and trying to impose our game to win this fight. The UFC gave me the No. 5 heavyweight [Blaydes], and with faith in God, I’ll get past Derrick Lewis, I won’t ask for the No. 5 again,” Almeida continued. “I’ll ask for the No. 4, No. 3. I think Ciryl Gane and I would be a good fight, a man that once had the interim belt.”
Gane (12-2) rebounded from his submission loss to heavyweight champion Jon Jones by whooping Moldovan “Polar Bear” Sergey Spivak atop the UFC Paris fight card just a few weeks back and as of this writing, is currently unbooked.
For the rest of the UFC Sao Paulo fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.