Jailton Almeida’s next steps in the UFC are meticulously planned.
The Brazilian talent enters the octagon Saturday night in Las Vegas to face short notice replacement Anton Turkalj in a 220-pound catchweight at UFC 279, and already asked company matchmaker Mick Maynard to set up his next fight in Rio de Janeiro against his original opponent Shamil Abdurakhimov. UFC 283 is scheduled for Jan. 21 at Rio’s Jeunesse Arena.
“We’re going to stay at heavyweight moving forward,” Almeida said on this week’s episode of Trocacao Franca, ruling out a return to 205 pounds any time soon. “I want to fight in Rio de Janeiro against Shamil. I hope he get his visa situation sorted and we can fight at home and bring joy to the Brazilian people.”
Almeida joined the UFC in 2021 after stopping Nasrudin Nasrudinov at Dana White‘s Contender Series and made short work of light heavyweight veteran Danilo Marques months later. Malhadinho, who was immediately promoted to heavyweight after defeating Nasrudin Nasrudinov at Dana White‘s Contender Series, swept through Parker Porter in one round and set up the Abdurakhimov fight.
With fellow DWCS veteran Turkalj, Almeida had to adjust a few things during training for UFC 279..
“Anton has a style similar to mine but leaves too many gaps in his positions,” Almeida stated. “He doesn’t go for submissions at all, he just wants to stay there and buy some time, but he leaves openings I would have been able to escape. We’re ready to go there and get the job done. He likes to be on the ground so I suggest [I’ll win] submission using an arm-triangle choke .”
Even though the Brazilian went from facing a top-14 ranked heavyweight to welcoming a promotional newcomer, Almeida doesn’t feel he has nothing to gain Saturday. In fact, “Malhadinho” feels all the pressure falls over Turkalj.
“We were planning on getting at UFC [283 in] Rio already ranked but that [change] happened,” he said. He said, “The responsibility lies with me because I am already in UFC [283 in] Rio ranked but that didn’t happen.” But he added, “I’m still going all out for victory regardless of what.” Although I am an experienced fighter in UFC, I still want to win .”