Cesar Almeida’s Mind for Minutiae

UFC
May 28, 2024
While time may be of the essence for Cesar Almeida, the 36-year-old Brazilian kickboxer understands he cannot rush to find success in the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight division. Narrowminded focus trumps all in a sport where results are often determined by the details.

“The next fight is always the most important, the fight of my life,” he told Sherdog.com. “That’s how I look at it. To feel a little stress is normal. Even when sparring, we feel a little twinge in the stomach. It’s normal to feel that way, but what matters is controlling it and being in a good headspace.”

Almeida will put his perfect 5-0 record on the line in his latest assignment, as he collides with Roman Kopylov in the featured UFC 302 prelim this Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Lotus MMA rep burst on the major mixed martial arts scene on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2023, procuring a UFC contract with a unanimous decision over Lucas Fernando. Almeida made his organizational debut at UFC Fight Night 240 and did not disappoint, as he put away Dylan Budka with elbows and punches in the second round of their April 6 pairing. The “Performance of the Night” effort netted him an additional $50,000.

“Everything went well,” Almeida said. “It was the beginning of a great new road, and the bonus was unexpected. Other than that, nothing has changed. My objectives remain the same. Our main objective is to get another victory in the UFC [and] to make it 2-0. Then maybe we’ll look for someone ranked, since Kopylov is a guy who is already close to being ranked himself. Beating him will open up this possibility for us.”

A former Fight Nights Global champion, Kopylov enters the cage with wins in four of his past five outings. He last suited up at UFC 298, where he submitted to a rear-naked choke from Anthony Hernandez in the second round of their Feb. 17 encounter. It was the first setback for Kopylov, 33, in more than two years.

“Every fighter has flaws, and Kopylov is no different,” Almeida said. “We’ve already studied him [and] put in the work, and we are putting together our strategy. As we get closer to the fight, the smallest details count. We have to pay full attention. He’s dangerous and fast—a knockout artist. It’s going to be a striking war with small gloves. Our strategy will work, God willing. We’ll put it on the line, and I’ll get my hand raised in the end.”

As he continues to carve out a place in the UFC, Almeida finds assurance in the fact that he owns a kickboxing victory over current light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira. He went 1-2 against “Poatan” under the WGB Kickboxing banner between March 2013 and July 2015. All three of their fights went the distance.

“This counts very positively for me, as I’m one of the few guys who managed to defeat Alex in kickboxing,” Almeida said, “and when I lost to him, I wasn’t knocked out. I fought five rounds with him. That counts for a lot.”

Almeida admits he shares a kinship with Pereira as a kickboxing convert.

“Alex himself is still being doubted after everything he’s done in the world of fighting and in the UFC,” he said. “We’ll always be doubted. We have to have a strong head, be well-prepared and wait for what comes next. If you don’t win, people will doubt you, and if you do win, they’ll doubt you in another way, so we keep on working towards our goal.”

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/Cesar-Almeidas-Mind-for-Minutiae-193828

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