Two exciting prospects, undefeated in their professional careers are about to face off in Cody Garbrandt (8-0) and Thomas Almeida (21-0). These are fighters rising fast and making noise on their way to the top of the division with several mesmerizing moments of brutal knockouts. Now the time has come for them to test one another. It’s so common to see them apart of a brutal exchanges that it’s becoming apparent these fighters take their fair share of damage, but why are they getting hit? Is it the luck a “puncher’s chance?” We’ll be exploring those reason in this piece while getting a glimpse at some of their signature habits to truly paint a clear picture of what makes them unique as a fighter.
Offensive Craft of Almeida
Almeida shines from working his offense in the pocket. This often requires that he must be able to get his opponent to stay in the pocket to engage. One of the brighter sides of a fighter who likes spending time in the pocket is that they tend to carry over a variety of skills to deal with an opponent in that range. Almeida has some diversity in offensive options and it makes for entertaining viewership, but I narrowed some of his craft down to some of the more common and interesting applications he can be seen applying in fights.
One of the main strategies in Almeida’s craft is to control his opponent’s weapons to prevent them from attacking. He does this in various ways from inside the punching range.
Let’s take a look at this next application where Almeida smothers his opponent’s range, thereby controlling his opponent’s weapons to prevent counters.
In this sequence, Almeida changes level and smothers the lead arm of his opponent, preventing them from attacking with their lead arm. Almeida also uses his own lead arm as a barrier to block punches from the opponent’s power hand. This is similar to Bernard Hopkins use of smothering the opponent’s effective punching range to deny offense.
Almeida often looks to control their arms to set up attacks. By controlling the arms, he takes away their attack options momentarily to expose other openings. He regularly uses that opportunity to destroy the body.
In this picture, note that Almeida baits the guard up and controls the hand from attacking. Almeida’s rear arm is also up high enough to protect the chin from the opponent’s lead hand.
He doesn’t always goes to the body and has shown a variety of other ways to attack after controlling their posture. He mixes things up and throws leg kicks or uppercuts while controlling their arms.
He doesn’t just uses posture control to set up offense, he’s sometimes uses it to end his attacks to ensure they’re tools are in check.
Another favorite of Almeida’s attacks is the lead elbow. He’ll often execute the lead elbow by taking a step forward to smother their range, then he’ll follow up with the power hand.
If you followed Almeida’s career, you’d be familiar the fact that he’s got powerful punches and he throws them with conviction. He won’t shy away from throwing his power. He does this regularly as well by constantly looking to time that simultaneous overhand right or elbow timed perfectly as the opponent advances.
Reminiscent of Chris Weidman’s rear elbow knockdown on Mark Munoz.
Almeida utilizes the traditional level changes you see from the typical skill-set of a boxer. He can be seen going for the body to force the opponent to drop their guard, and then move the shot up to the exposed head. He’ll also reverses this process by attacking the head to raise the guard, then going downstairs to the exposed body.
At this point, you can get an idea that Almeida uses a variety of offensive options on the inside range. He has the body shot ability, the aggression, the high finish rate, and the style that makes for back and forth exchanges, it’s no wonder he’s become a fan-favorite so fast.
We continue to the rest the piece in Part 2 where I reveal a glimpse of Garbrandt’s craft and finally shed some light about the openings in their game and how they get caught with strikes. Part 2 click here.