Date: Sunday 20th January, 3am (UK)
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Venue: TD Garden
Kicking off the Boston main card in style, two very exciting and young talents are hoping to stake a claim in the ultra-competitive bantamweight division.
After winning a decision in his first pro fight and clearly bored with the outcome, Almeida went on to finish every opponent (13 knockouts and three submissions) before arriving to the UFC, amassing an impressive record of 17-0. Increasing his unbeaten run to 21-0, he met Cody Garbrandt in a battle of the unbeaten knockout artists. Garbrandt won the battle and went on to earn the title.
The Brazilian wasted no time in getting back to old ways, bouncing back with his 17th career knockout but then met the rampaging Jimmie Rivera, losing via a decision. In unfamiliar territory of recovering from losses, he has to remember these losses were against the very elite of the division and should provide the learning curve he needs to compete for the title.
First, he has to get through Rob Font who is also looking to bounce back from a loss after getting strangled by Pedro Munhoz. No stranger to ruthlessly finishing his opponents, Font is also unfamiliar with losing but with the calibre of the bantamweight division, it is almost inevitable when you reach the top.
This fight is bound to be fought at a fast tempo. But with the dangers that both men possess, they will also have to fight with caution. Almeida cannot take any chances with the well-rounded skills of the American but his one-punch knockout power is the killer weapon and all he has to do is land.
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.