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Cesar Almeida of Brazil poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 06, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
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Prospect To Watch – Cesar Almeida

UFC Middleweight Cesar Almeida Looks To Build Off An Excellent Debut In A Primetime Opportunity At UFC 302 On June 1.

Every so often, a highly touted kickboxing champion decides to make the move to mixed martial arts, and when they do, extra eyes are on them from the beginning. Two of the most recent notable kickboxers that made the transition and lived up to expectations are Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira.

Their success and rivalry are well-documented, and now Cesar Almeida, who also has history with “Poatan,” has made his way to the UFC.

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The 36-year-old Almeida competed in Glory and Superkombat Fighting Championship, amassing a 47-8-1, 1 NC record. “Cesinha” faced Pereira three times in the kickboxing ring, and as of January of 2023, was ranked as a top three middleweight in the world.

Cesar Almeida of Brazil kicks Dylan Budka in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 06, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Cesar Almeida of Brazil kicks Dylan Budka in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 06, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Almeida first went pro in MMA back in 2016, winning his debut by first-round TKO. He didn’t make his second and third MMA appearances until 2021, when he won both bouts by TKO. In August of 2023, Almeida won a unanimous decision on season 7 of Dana White’s Contender Series, which earned him a UFC contract with just four professional fights to his name.

Almeida made his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night: Allen vs Curtis 2 on April 6, when he faced Dylan Budka at the APEX. Almeida bounced back after tough first round, which saw Budka look to control Almeida on the canvas, to knock Budka out in the second frame. It was a great debut for Almeida, who proved that his power and cardio could translate to the UFC level.

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UFC.com spoke with Almeida after his debut victory and he couldn’t have been happier to get on the board in the UFC.

“I feel comfortable because I train every day in MMA now,” Almeida said backstage. “I got good striking, and I can stop the wrestling now.

“The guys feel danger now because the real kickboxing is coming to the UFC.”

Cesar Almeida Punches His Way To Victory | UFC Fight Night: Allen vs Curtis 2
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Cesar Almeida Punches His Way To Victory | UFC Fight Night: Allen vs Curtis 2
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Almeida believes his addition to the UFC roster shakes up the middleweight division, and he said that he would be good to fight just a few days after beating Budka.

He wasn’t kidding. It took just a few days later for the shiny new middleweight prospect to get another fight, a clear indication that Almeida is looking to quickly rise up the rankings.

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It was announced that his next test will come against knockout artist Roman Kopylov at UFC 302: Makhachev vs Poirier. Considering that both Almeida and Kopylov are strikers, it’s the perfect matchup for both to score a highlight reel finish.

With only five total MMA fights to his name, beating someone as respected and talented as Kopylov would likely push Almeida to the next tier at 185 pounds. Kopylov’s most recent bout came against Anthony Hernandez, who currently sits at No. 14 in the rankings, so Kopylov is certainly a big step-up in competition for Almeida.

Cesar Almeida of Brazil poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 06, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
Cesar Almeida of Brazil poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 06, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

Almeida and Kopylov will throw down in the featured prelim on ESPN2 and ESPN+, and if Almeida delivers the type of performance he’s expecting, he’ll be fighting up in the middleweight rankings before the end of 2024.

“They better be ready,” Almeida said. “I’m coming for everyone.”

Order UFC 302: Makhachev vs Poirier

UFC 302: Makhachev vs Poirier took place live from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on June 1, 2024. See the Final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses, and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!