In professional sports, numbers are what you make of them, and according to the number of significant strikes landed on Jailton Almeida in his five UFC fights, he’s got a terrific submission game.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik is one of the hardest punchers in the UFC, but it’s virtually impossible to score a KO pinned on one’s back trying to fend off a black belt with a python-like choke. Rozenstruik did not land one significant strike Saturday, making it the third time Almeida has gotten out of a fight without absorbing a significant blow.
Almeida took Rozenstruik down in the center of the cage and then slowly, patiently, worked to improve his position. Once he was against the cage, he took Rozenstruik’s back and quickly submitted him with a rear naked choke at 3:43 of the first in the main event of UFC Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In his six UFC fights, in which he’s 5-0 with three submissions and two TKOs, Almeida has absorbed only two significant strikes. At the same time, he’s landed 114 significant strikes. He’s also had 10 takedowns and connected on 70% of his takedown attempts.
— UFC (@ufc) May 13, 2023
He called out Tai Tuivasa after the fight and said he hopes to fight again in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in October.
Tuivasa, like Rozenstruik, has vicious KO power but if that fight occurs, he’ll have to battle for dear life to keep the fight on foot. Not many of the elite heavyweights are going to be able to do well on the ground with Almeida for any extended amounts of time.
“To have a fight like this in my first main event, I’m very happy,” Almeida said after the bout.
He had switched between light heavyweight and heavyweight for much of his career, but made the decision in 2018 to move full-time to heavyweight. And though he came in at 231 — 34 pounds lighter than Rozenstruik — Saturday, his size won’t be a factor against most given his quickness, his strength and, most of all, his high-level of jiu-jitsu.
Almeida credited trainer Carlos Felipe, an ex-UFC fighter, for helping him prepare and improve. Rozenstruik clearly knew what Almeida would try, as all of his opponents do. But Rozenstruik was unable to halt it.
He quickly was put on his back and from that point it was just a matter of time.
“[Former UFC lightweight champion] Khabib [Nurmagomedov] actually won like this and this is the style I’ve found here,” Almeida said. “Everybody said Jairzinho was one of the most dangerous guys in the division and said he was going to knock me out.”
That didn’t happen, and it should vault Almeida from 12th into at least ninth, where Rozenstruik was ranked. And he’s suddenly going to be a guy the other heavyweights have to reckon with if they want to make it to the top.