Thomas Almeida was on an incredible win streak before he lost to now-champ Cody Garbrandt, and rightly so, because the Brazilian is an expert at knocking people the hell out. Jimmie Rivera is still riding his own amazing win streak, and though he does have some KOs to his record, he excels at counter-punching opponents to death and outlasting them. Can Almeida regain his lost momentum? Or will Rivera wear him down to a nub like he did to Urijah Faber?
Round 1 opens with Rivera getting right in his opponent’s face and waiting for that chance to counter. Almeida starts chopping away at Rivera’s legs, but after eating a few Rivera drops the Brazilian with a knuckle sandwich. The jiu-jitsu brown belt battles back up, and after some clinch-work Rivera unloads another that sends Almeida to the canvas. Apparently, Rivera can’t be trifled with.
Adjusts are made in the second, with Almeida trying his best to avoid close-quarter gunfights and fire more kicks from range. Rivera still manages to put some hands on him, but Almeida doesn’t get dropped again, and he dings the American up and leaves him a little bloody.
Rivera makes his own adjustments in Round 3, and opens with a takedown that forces Almeida to work hard to eventually get back up. They trade meticulously on the feet, but Rivera is crisper in his technique, and he catches Almeida more than Almeida catches him. Another late takedown by Rivera seals the deal, and time runs out with them swinging away on the feet.
Results: Jimmie Rivera def. Thomas Almeida via Unanimous Decision