Jailton Almeida confident he finishes Derrick Lewis, ‘I can submit him OR knock him out!’

Jailton Almeida confident he finishes Derrick Lewis, ‘I can submit him OR knock him out!’

Timothy JamesTimothy James
November 3, 2023

Jailton Almeida says he can knock out Derrick Lewis

Wherever the fight goes – Jailton Almeida is looking to keep his 100% finish rate intact.

Inside Fighting’s Timothy James caught up with the Brazilian heavyweight contender in São Paulo, Brazil, ahead of his main event showdown with knockout kingpin Derrick Lewis.

The expectation is that Almeida, given the nickname “Brazilian Khabib” by the fans, will have a massive advantage in the grappling department. Almeida plans on using those skills – but if the fight stays standing, he’s confident he can knock Lewis out.

“Since he’s not a guy who moves a lot, we’re going to try to keep moving,” Almeida responded when asked about how the fight plays out on the feet. “I’m probably going to try to implement my [grappling], but always with a plan B in mind.”

Almeida has 6 finishes in 6 fights under the UFC banner – including 2 TKOs.

“I don’t know how the fight develops. I’ll feel it out in there,” Almeida continued. “If the knockout is there, I’ll KO him. If the submission is there, I’ll tap him.”

Jailton Almeida thinks Sergei Pavlovich beats Tom Aspinall at UFC 295

“Malhadinho” always wanted to compete at the highest level of the UFC, which meant fighting the best ever – Jon Jones.

“I was sad Jon Jones had to pull out,” Almeida responded when asked about the new main event of UFC 295. “I’ve always had the dream of fighting Jon Jones. Unfortunately, this injury is going to keep him out of action for a year. That’s very difficult.”

With Jones and Stipe Miocic no longer headlining the card, the UFC replaced them with two young, dynamic heavyweights in Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall – two guys on Almeida’s radar.

Despite Aspinall’s pedigree, Almeida believes that the circumstances lean things in Pavlovich’s favor.

“Sergei was training for 5 rounds as the backup fighter [for Jones vs Miocic], with a mind focused on the title. And Tom Aspinall was training, but he had already asked for Ciryl Gane. His mind wasn’t focused on the title.”

Almeida thinks that stacks the deck for Pavlovich – but at heavyweight, anything can happen.

“It’s a five-round fight. Tom Aspinall being the favorite could change his strategy. So there’s that. But I think it’s going to be Pavlovich because of the camp.”

Although Almeida is now fighting the 10th-ranked Lewis, he was originally slated against 5th-ranked Curtis Blaydes – meaning a win puts him firmly in title talks. Almeida, Pavlovich, and Aspinall represent a new wave of young talent in the heavyweight division the likes the UFC has never seen before, and it seems inevitable that these guys will fight each other.

With Jones and Miocic out of action for the foreseeable future, the question of whether Almeida fights Pavlovich or Aspinall isn’t an “if” so much as a “when.”

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