Elite light heavyweight prospect, Jailton Almeida (10-2), will make his UFC heavyweight debut against the always tough Parker Porter (13-6).
Since Almeida’s last professional loss, he has rattled off 10 consecutive wins, all coming via finish inside of two rounds. Meanwhile, Porter has put together impressive performances of recent note, leading him to a 3-fight win streak, all of which were fought in the UFC. Knowing Almeida has elite talent compared to Porter being all game inside the octagon makes for a fantastic clash of win-streaks come Saturday night.
Jailton Almeida, being an elite – light heavyweight – prospect, is a staggering -675 favorite over the “true” heavyweight, Parker Porter.
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Almeida put his name on the map with a dominating DWCS win back in 2021. Oftentimes, the hype surrounding DWCS fighters is overblown; and, I am quite pessimistic relative to the expectations of these fighters early in their UFC career. But, for Almeida, the performance he put forth on DWCS was truly elite, so much so commentator and former UFC champion, Michael Bisping, stated that he believed Almeida was a top 10 guy in the light heavyweight division right now.
The statement made by Bisping coupled with the expectation put on him by many in the MMA community made for a high bar to hit for Almeida within his UFC debut. Somehow, Almeida, who coins himself as “The Brazilian Khabib”, surpassed all expectations. His display of takedowns, ground control, elite ground and pound, and most importantly, propensity to shoot early in the round left me fully believing the scouting report formulated by Bisping – a top 10 guy right now. The only, yes only, question associated with Almeida thus far in his UFC career is if he will continue to bounce around divisions, or if he will settle in at the light heavyweight division, which is where his 6’4 frame will create sizable problems for any opponent he elects to face and take to the ground.
Parker Porter has chained together performances that have transitioned my perception of him being a fringe UFC fighter at best to someone who can legitimately be in the organization for many years. I believe he too would be the first to state the changes he made as a fighter were both necessary to his success along with necessary to stick with the UFC.
The most critical change in Porter’s game is getting a handle on his cardio and showing up in shape to fight. Although the eye test may disagree with this change, I assure you Porter has shown well with dictating pressure and inflicting continuous damage throughout all rounds. Being able to have a continuous output, coupled with mixing in wrestling –1.57 takedowns landed per 15 minutes – is a sound choice for Porter given he has an underrated well-rounded arsenal of attacks; the consequence of said choice is forgoing one-punch, fight-ending power. I believe the choice is well made for Porter in future bouts, but when facing a challenger in Almeida that is faster, a far better grappler, and will have cardio to fight 15-minutes without issue, I believe Porter will need to revert back to “his old self” with regard to relying on one-punch power to win the fight.
The odds tell the story of how the fight should go. Almeida is a truly elite prospect who will likely find little to no adversity in this fight against Porter. I expect Almeida to do what he always does, which is, wrestle early and often. Some may forecast Almeida having difficulty getting the larger opponent down, but, Almeida has the frame and elite technique to do so quite comfortably. This, parlayed with Porter being a far better offensive grappler than defensive, rationalizes my belief that Almeida will secure a victory inside the distance – strict ground and pound or ground and pound that results in Porter giving up his back and Almeida securing a submission.
Bet: Almeida to win inside the distance