Thomas Almeida Returns To Action
On a twenty-one fight win streak, Thomas Almeida entered the UFC pool with a lot of hype behind him. The bantamweight fighter from Sao Paulo Brazil was someone who many thought would be the next big thing at 135 lbs.
And with none of his first UFC opponents being able to get outside the second round, the hype seemed legit. As one by one, he moved his way up the UFC ranks and into that rarefied air reserved for those at the very top of the division.
So when he was scheduled to face Cody Garbrandt, a guy with less than half the tally of wins in his professional career. Most saw the Brazilian as simply being just too much for the rising underdog.
And while on the surface Garbrandt’s confidence may have appeared, shall we say, somewhat misguided. Behind the facade lay a fighter confident in his abilities and ready to show the world that he too was on those top rungs of the 135 lb ladder.
Almeida vs Garbrandt UFC Fight Night 88
And so on May 29th 2016, with all the confidence in the world, Garbrandt stepped into the octagon to slay the hot favourite. Booking his seat on the express elevator to the top. And in a beautiful display of controlled aggression, Garbrandt backed up his words. Taking out the Brazilian inside the first in devastating style.
And now with the air of invincibility having been well and truly lifted! It wouldn’t be too long before Thominas would seek to get back in his groove and show he was still a force to be reckoned with in the bantamweight division.
What followed was a triumphant comeback win against Albert Morales, followed quickly by two consecutive loses to top tier opponents in Jimmi Rivera and Rob Font. Giving the highly touted Almeida three losses out of his last four fights. And now with the wheels seemingly coming off the bus, we had to ask where is this journey taking him?
But we would not find out for another at least another year. As when he was scheduled to take on Marlon Vera at UFC 235. Word soon came that he had suffered an eye injury which would require surgery. It looked like the Thominas juggernaut had finally ground to a halt. As undergoing a major eye operation, some believed he may never return to action. Yet another unfulfilled career leaving more questions than answers.
UFC Fight Night 179
But now he is back, as at UFC fight night on October 11th live from Abu Dabhi. Originally scheduled to face Alejandro Pérez, Almeida is looking for a new dance partner in his long-awaited return. The question now is whether the UFC will be able to find a late replacement. Which will allow the Brazilian to climb his way back in the mix, as he seeks to get some positive momentum behind him in 2020.
With Casey Kenney who won against Heili Alateng this past weekend on ESPN 16 Holm vs Aldana offering up his services. Saying he is willing to face Almeida just eight days later in a quick turnaround fight. Will that be the fight to make or will Thomas have to once again sit back and wait for another opportunity somewhere further down the line?