Almeida entered this bout having lost two of his previous three, putting some pressure on him to perform in this match up. Opposite a fellow striking specialist, the Brazilian was hoping to get back in the win column and title mix. Font was in a similar situation of beating up all non-contenders but struggling against the best. The Boston-native has scored some highlight reel finishes in the past, and one more here would do big things for his career.
Font took advantage of his opponent’s habit of starting slow by walking his foe back. Working behind the jab, Font set up his right hand and hunted for the takedown. It didn’t come, but Font was scoring well early on the Brazilian athlete.
As Almeida grew comfortable, he began to make adjustments. First and foremost, Almeida began to time the jab, countering with low kicks and the cross counter. Additionally, Almeida stopped backing off, standing his ground in exchanges and back Font up more often.
It was a competitive round, but Almeida finished strong.
Font didn’t like the end of the round one bit, and he went after Almeida at the start of the second. The Boston-native landed a pair of right hands that followed his jab, and the second one dropped Almeida badly. Font very likely could have finished his foe with punches, but he chose to wrestle instead, and Almeida was able to recover.
Ultimately though, it didn’t matter. Just as Almeida seemed to have his feet back under him, Font fired a head kick as the Brazilian slipped over to land a body shot. It connected clean, and Almeida slumped to the mat.
This had all the makings of a firefight, and both men delivered. It was a back-and-forth scrap that saw both men land hard shots, but ultimately it was Font who pulled ahead in the second round.
Stylistically, Font’s boxing seemed to match up well with Almeida’s historic lack of head movement. The Brazilian relies on distance to keep him safe, but that tends to fall apart opposite an intelligent jab. Font used the jab to work his way forward as Almeida back away, setting up his hard right hand repeatedly.
For a moment, it seemed like Font made a mistake by choosing to wrestle his rocked opponent. Once the two were back up, however, Font continued to pick his shots well, switching to the uppercut as his foe tried to block the cross. Finally, the right high kick was wonderfully timed, designed to counter Almeida’s favorite punch: the left hook to the liver.
More than anything else, it’s notable that Font managed to stick to the game plan this time around. Previously, adversity has caused him to abandon the strategy. Opposite Almeida, he definitely ate some hard shots and lost moments of the fight, but Font was able to trust in his skill set and pull out the finish.
Font is back in the win column and ready for another top 10 foe.
As for Almeida, his defense continues to plague him. Almeida looks wonderful on offensive, throwing great combinations at a high pace. His shots are punishing and the strike selection is great.
Unfortunately, Almeida’s defense style is not well-suited to MMA. For the most part, he either backs straight up or covers up in place and fires back. That’s great from a volume point of view, but smart strikers like Font will make sure his shots count more as Almeida focuses on returning.
In all likelihood, it’s an issue Almeida will need help to solve, likely by working with a different coach or camp.
Last night, Rob Font scored the biggest win of his career in front of his home crowd. Who should the knockout artist face next?
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