Brazilian phenom Thomas Almeida improved to 20-0 in the main card opener, surviving a furious first-round assault from veteran Brad Pickett to come back and finish their bantamweight bout in the second with an emphatic knockout.
“I had a very tough opponent,” Sao Paulo’s Almeida said. “Brad is a very tough guy, but I took a little time to get into the fight, and afterwards I handled it.”
Pickett’s hooks to the head and body served him well as the bout began, producing swelling under Almeida’s right eye. Nearly two minutes in, Pickett rocked the Brazilian with a hook, and moments later he dropped him. Almeida rose quickly, blood covering his face, and he got back into the fight with a right that produced a flash knockdown. With both men getting their cracks in, the bout settled into a war in the pocket, both showing no fear of exchanges that would make most fighters cowers.
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Getting right back to business, Pickett and Almeida engaged in the second round, “One Punch” throwing a flying knee that didn’t land cleanly. Almeida’s return left knee did though, putting Pickett flat on his back, and after seeing him bang his head on the canvas, referee John McCarthy intervened immediately. The official time of the stoppage was 29 seconds of round two.
With the win, the 23-year-old Almeida improves to 20-0; East London’s Pickett, 36, who was returning to the bantamweight division after a three-fight stint at flyweight, falls to 25-11.