Two of MMA’s hottest young prospects met in a bout sure to produce fireworks (and a future title contender) when Thomas Almeida faced off with Cody Garbrandt in the main event of tonight’s (Sun., May 29, 2016) UFC Fight Night 88 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The heavily-hyped Brazilian Almeida brought a gaudy 21-0 record into the bout, with three straight TKO wins over Anthony Birchak, Brad Pickett, and Yves Jabouin after winning his UFC debut by decision. The flashy 8-0 Garbrandt had made possibly more headlines with relationship with Paige VanZant and his trash talk than his fighting skills, but the boxing prowess of the Team Alpha Male fighter most definitely made “No Love” one of the best up-and-coming stars in the highly talented 135-pound landscape.
Garbrandt most recently finished late replacement Augusto Mendes at February’s UFC Fight Night 83 after winning a decision against Henry Briones and beating Marcus Brimage via TKO.
The winner would most likely cement themselves as either the next bantamweight title challenger to the winner of June 4’s Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber championship match-up, or find themselves in a title eliminator bout. The stakes were high in Las Vegas, and Garbrandt won a huge jackpot when the cards were all out on UFC Fight Night 88.
The hyped bout began with Garbrandt throwing a wild kick that missed. He landed a low kick and pushed the action, but Almeida scored with a sharp counter. Garbrandt threw a flying knee but missed, but landed a right hand behind it. He followed with another one-two and a three-strike combo. Almeida scored with a big right, but Garbrandt snapped another combo. Then he rocked Almeida with a big combo, following with a one-two. More shots scored from Garbrandt and Almeida was in big trouble.
An absolutely huge right hand came from Garbrandt, and Almeida was down for the count as John McCarthy stopped the fight.
Final Result: Cody Garbrandt def. Thomas Almeida via R1 KO (punch, 2:53)