Prospect of the Week: Thomas Almeida
Thomas Almeida is likely on UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby’s shortlist for future UFC Bantamweight signings. Almeida has one of the most impressive records of any prospect, sporting a 15-0 record with all 15 of his wins coming via finish, and 14 coming in the very 1st round.
Despite being just 22 years old, Almeida is one of the most experienced fighters amongst Bantamweight prospects. He has a 29-2 Muay Thai record, and even has highlight videos dating back to 5 years ago. He trains out of Chute Boxe and Jorge Patino’s Macaco Gold Team, which is home to UFC fighters Charles Oliveira and Lucas Martins. Almeida sports a very similar striking style to Charles Oliveira, though Almeida has a much better chin and has significantly more power in his strikes. Though Almeida doesn’t have Oliveira’s ground game, he has proven to be sufficient in getting back to his feet when giving up takedowns.
A few concerns I have about Almeida right now are his lack of wrestling and his striking defense. If you watch the videos below you will quickly see that Almeida is very hittable. He doesn’t show a ton of head movement and has a straight up style, which as mentioned is very similar to Oliveira. Luckily, Almeida has made up for it with one punch knockout power. In his fight with Valdines Silva (3rd video below), Almeida was nearly finished, but he somehow kept his composure and immediately turned the tide with big power strikes. This is a key quality to look for in future top prospects. Some elite level prospects do not react very well to getting hit, but in Almeida’s case, he seems to rise to the occasion.
Almeida differs from some of his fellow Brazilian prospects in that he’s already competed stateside for Legacy Fights. He’s used to the travel, weight cutting overseas, and unfriendly fighting venues. By the time he makes it to the UFC, he should be ready to immediately start making a run towards the Top 15. Almeida’s likely not ready to face elite level competition just yet, but he’s certainly capable of being a future contender in the division.
Video 1: Almeida vs. Cody Williams (Legacy FC 15, 2012)
Video 2: Almeida vs. George Pacurariu (Legacy FC 26, 2013)
Video 3: Almeida vs. Valdines Silva (MMASH, 2013)
Sherdog Profile: http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Thomas-de-Almeida-87865
The 2013 MMA Prospects Report
Photo Credit: www.Sherdog.com, Andy Hemingway