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One way or another, Thomas Almeida will fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship shortly.
MMA Junkie first broke the news on Thursday morning that Almeida (21-3) will be taking on Jonathan Martinez (12-3) at featherweight on UFC Fight Night 180 on Oct. 17. Almeida was originally booked against Alejandro Perez at UFC Fight Night 179 on Oct. 10, but a failed COVID-19 test for Perez scuttled the matchup. Although both Almeida and Martinez typically fight at 135 pounds, the short-notice nature of the pairing forced it to be contested at featherweight. Martinez has since confirmed the booking on his Instagram page.
Attempting to make his first appearance since UFC 220 in 2018, Almeida is looking to snap his first-ever losing streak. A massive 20-fight win streak to open his career came to a violent end when Cody Garbrandt knocked him out in 2016, and “Thominhas” has lost two of three bouts since then. His last win in nearly five years was a knockout of Albert Morales in 2016. In victory, the Brazilian has finished 20 of his 21 opponents before the final bell, with over 80 percent of his triumphs coming by knockout.
Martinez rebounded from a February loss to Andrew Ewell in February by knocking out Frankie Saenz in August. Although “Dragon” lost his UFC debut to Andre Soukhamthath in 2018, he bounced back with a decision win against Wuliji Buren and went on to knock out Pinguan Liu. Although lower than that of his opponent, the Factory X product maintains a stoppage rate of 75 percent, with finishes in four of his last five wins.
UFC Fight Night 180 takes place on Oct. 17 at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where it will be capped off by a long-awaited featherweight contest of Brian Ortega against Chan Sung Jung. Although the promotion does not officially list a co-headliner, Modestas Bukauskas will face Jimmy Crute at light heavyweight, while Jessica Andrade moves to women’s flyweight to take on Katlyn Chookagian.