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Almeida vs. Romanov: Will the Favorite Choke or Be Choked Out?

Two beasts of the grappling realm do battle on the UFC 302 preliminary card this weekend when Brazil’s Jailton Almeida takes on Alexandr Romanov.

Despite losing his first UFC bout last time out, Almeida’s UFC odds don’t reflect this and have placed him as a significant favorite. The question is, can Romanov defy expectations? Let’s jump straight into our comprehensive preview to find out!

Almeida vs. Romanov: Will the Favorite Choke or Be Choked Out?
Jailton Almeida at UFC Fight Night - Marina Uezima / BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS


Almeida vs. Romanov Fight Information

  • Date & Time: Saturday, June. 1, 2024 – 06:00 p.m. ET  
  • Location: The Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
  • How to Watch: ESPN+
  • Live Stream: UFC Fight Pass
  • Main Event Bout: Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier
  • Co-Main Event Bout: Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa



Almeida vs. Romanov Odds


Jailton Almeida: Black Belt Expertise

Almeida has been one of the most successful heavyweight crotch sniffers over the past two years, and it’s not even close. No, but seriously, his black belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu credentials assisted him in collecting a six-fight win streak and position in the top heavyweight rankings as he dominated the opposition up until UFC 299.

Unfortunately for him, and en route to placing himself in the title picture, he crossed paths with Curtis Blaydes… An elite wrestler who managed to survive an early onslaught before ground and pounding the Brazilian into his first octagon defeat.

Almeida, now with a 6-1 promotional record, meets another respected grappling at UFC 302 this weekend in a contest that might require two grapplers to duke it out instead of relying on what they know best.



Alexandr Romanov: Freestyle Wrestling on the European Scene

Moldova’s Alexandr Romanov, like Almeida, was introduced to MMA through his lifelong experience as a grappler. However, instead of BJJ, freestyle wrestling has been the style he’s practiced since he was a youngster, and it’s also been a primary asset in garnering the 6-2 UFC record he owns thus far.

Therefore, as Romanov pits his freestyle wrestling style against a BJJ specialist on Saturday, the storyline heading into UFC 302 is that a potential grappling stalemate will ensue. Let’s hope they cancel each other out because the last thing we want to see is two extremely large, sweaty men hugging for 15 minutes.


Almeida Believes His Speed Will Kill

Almeida is a huge betting favorite heading into his bout with Romanov, and he believes the speed differential is a leading factor:

He’s a strong opponent and a great grappler, but I believe my advantages lie within my movement and the fact that I am a quicker fighter. I believe I will use these to my advantage,” he told BJPenn.com.


Almeida vs. Romanov: The Tale of The Tape

Pro Record (Win/Loss)
7 KOs, 12 Submissions 
5 KOs, 10 Submissions
Avg Fight Time
Knockdown Avg (15 min)
Avg Strikes Landed Per Min
Takedown Avg (15 min)
Win/Loss (Last 5)


Almeida and Romanov Skillset Breakdown

We, the MMA community, are certainly a strange bunch, but calling Almeida “boring” really takes the biscuit. Sure, he’s not throwing spinning back kicks or jumping guillotines, but the man has finished 19 of his 20 pro-MMA bouts inside the distance.

Occasionally, his style isn’t pretty, and the grinding style of a heavyweight grappler can seem lethargic to the view. However, his explosive double-leg takedown – minus the Blaydes situation – and his guard passing are elite. When mixed with his BJJ black belt, he can quickly finish a fight before the opposition even gets going.

As he’ll face a fellow grappler in Romanov this weekend, his gameplan might have to change or adapt mid-fight. Almeida, the kickboxer, anybody? Sure, he’s often used his strikes to set up takedowns in the past. Still, if you didn’t know, he actually began boxing as a seven-year-old, and while he’s no Oleksandr Usyk, the speed advantage he’ll own in this area could certainly overwhelm the Moldovan.

The betting odds aren’t displaying much promise in Romanov, but as an elite freestyle wrestler, he could be the first man to test Almeida’s grappling defenses. We have seen much from the Brazilian in this regard, and what’s the best remedy to combat an opponent who’s excellent in top position? Get that top position first!


  • Almeida has won all but one (20) of his career wins inside the distance 
  • Almeida has lost just one fight in the previous six years 
  • Romanov’s first UFC loss was via strikes in a grappling position 
  • Romanov has gone the distance in just 3 of his 20 pro-MMA bout  


Almeida vs. Romanov: UFC 302 Odds & Prediction

That -330 betting line on Almeida doesn’t feel as comfortable when he’s returning from a loss, does it? Well, my friends, this is called ‘recency bias,’ and we shouldn’t allow this to be the sole reason for clouding judgment.

In a contest where the grappling skills of both men could result in a standup war, I have to side with Almeida, the more athletic and speedier fighter of the two. Neither man is the heavyweight equivalent of Alex Pereira. Still, as we don’t know who’ll truly have a grappling edge, I’d say that picking Almeida to be more successful in striking situations is a viable answer to finding who has a greater chance of victory.

As we’ve seen from Romanov previously, his cardiovascular health is questionable, and judging by his appearance, he’s once again neglected his diet. Give me Almedia to get this one done by KO/TKO or submission before the judges can intervene.

My Best Bet: 



Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.


Questions Of The Day

Can Almeida Defeat Romanov by Knockout?

As two heavyweight fighters with grappling backgrounds, Almeida and Romanov might cancel each other out in offensive wrestling strategies. As the faster, longer fighter, Almeida to win by KO/TKO is certainly live!

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