May 20, 2024

Jailton Almeida gave up about 30 pounds against Derrick Lewis, who cuts weight to make the 265-pound heavyweight limit, and the surging Almeida was still able to manhandle the knockout artist.

Almeida defeated Lewis via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-45) in the main event of UFC Sao Paulo on Saturday night in Brazil. It was a one-sided fight, albeit a somewhat lackluster one. Almeida took Lewis down time after time and got into many dominant positions over 25 minutes, but he could not get the finish. Almeida didn’t do a ton of damage, either.

Almeida’s control time of 21 minutes, 10 seconds set a UFC heavyweight record and was fourth most overall, according to UFC Stats. It was the most control time in a UFC fight in 16 years, since Sean Sherk against Hermes Franca in 2007. Sherk’s 22:18 control time in that fight is the all-time UFC record.

Almeida had never gone to decision in a win before in his 11-year pro career. The fight going the distance was +1300, according to ESPN BET.

“We were able to do that and keep him down and avoid his right hand,” Almeida said through an interpreter in his postfight interview. “I was touched and I didn’t really feel it.”

Lewis represented the toughest test to date for Almeida, who more than proved himself as a bonafide UFC heavyweight contender. Coming in, ESPN had Almeida ranked No. 10 in the world at heavyweight.

Lewis weighed 265 pounds at Friday’s weigh-in and likely gained weight before entering the Octagon on Saturday. Almeida weighed 236 on Friday. He overpowered the bigger man, but there was also plenty of technique in his wrestling and grappling — just not enough to earn a submission or TKO.

Afterward, Almeida called out former UFC interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane and said he would do the bout in Gane’s home country of France.

Almeida (20-2) has won 15 straight fights, including his first six in the UFC. The Brazilian-born fighter had finished 14 opponents in a row prior to Saturday night. Almeida, 32, had won three straight fight-night bonuses coming in.

Lewis (27-12, 1 NC) has lost five of his past seven fights. The Houston resident was coming off a 33-second TKO over Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC 291 in July. Lewis, 38, owns the record for most knockouts in UFC history (14).

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