Jailton Almeida is hoping the third time is the charm for a fight with Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC 283, which is scheduled for Jan. 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The heavyweight pair was originally paired to fight twice in 2022, but Abdurakhimov pulled both. Abdurakhimov was reportedly pulled from a September card in Las Vegas due to visa issues, so “Malhadinho” instead finished late-notice replacement Anton Turkalj with a first-round submission.
Then, one month later, Abdurakhimov again left the Brazilian without an opponent for UFC 280.
Almeida also dealt with another fight cancellation in November when Maxim Grishin withdrew from a UFC Vegas card.
“If [Abdurakhimov] doesn’t come, it will be the third time he gives up,” Almeida said with a laugh while speaking to MMA Fighting. “I was watching some videos on Instagram pages that post videos of Russians and I saw him training. He is training so he could probably go to the fight. It’s impossible for him to run right now. It’s the third time already, I don’t know what’s going on. Come injured, come any way you can, but come and fight.”
Regardless of their previous fight cancellations, Almeida doesn’t want to imply that Abdurakhimov is either scared to face him or pulling out on purpose.
“I wouldn’t say run, I mean that something unexpected can always happen,” Almeida said. “[Fans] says he is running but it happens, like what happened to Maxim Grishin. [Fans] think different, they think he’s running scared, but I don’t think so. He is a man .”
“Malhadinho” is 3-0 with three first-round beatdowns in two different weight classes in the UFC to capture MMA Fighting’s 2022 Rookie of the Year honors. Now he is ready to make heavyweight his home. He also feels Abdurakhimov is a good matchup for him, especially after training with heavyweight slugger Carlos Felipe in the gym.
“He is one of those Russians who doesn’t defend takesdowns,” Almeida stated about Abdurakhimov. He’s been knocked out in his three previous fights with Curtis Blaydes and Chris Daukaus at the UFC.
“That fight with Blaydes, he quickly got to his back but had no efficiency in submitting or finishing with the ground-and-pound, and that’s my thing. He gives me what I want. I will go for submissions or ground-and-pounds until I get it. I am currently training with Carlos [Felipe], and so, I know I will put on an .”