When Saul Almeida (19-8, Sityodtong) stepped into the cage last Friday at CES 42 against Josh LaBerge (11-6), Almeida had hit a three fight losing streak. His opponent, LaBerge, had collected another head in his last bout, and his only loss in recent memory was a decision to the current CES featherweight champ by decision.
A battle of utterly opposite styles and physiques, the “Spider” Almeida made good on his moniker and dismantled his opponent using his long limbs to punch and prod LaBerge into submission.
“I can play it both ways, I can stay on the outside or come in and hit. I can grapple and put an enormous amount of pressure that very few people can handle,” said Almeida
Almeida has demonstrated an uncanny ability to correct his descent when he has steered too far off course. When he suffered his first lose as a professional, it moved him, and he rebounded with a five fight win streak. His previous three loses, albeit close, were loses nonetheless, but have not gone unlearned by the Spider.
“I want a CES belt,” said Almeida. “I just gotta do what I know I can do. I’m not uncomfortable anywhere in a fight against anybody. I know what I can do, and I haven’t peaked yet. I still haven’t shown my full potential.”
With a win under his belt and momentum starting to swing, Almeida is primed to make a move in the CES organization and continue to rise through the New England ranks. Almeida’s ultimate goal is to grace the UFC’s Octagon and join his fellow Brazilian fighters and role models Jose Aldo and Anderson Silva.
Almeida was first exposed to the UFC promotion in it’s fullest capacity as a translator and training partner with Aldo leading up to his historic bout with Connor McGregor for the featherweight belt in 2015. In addition to his duties with the UFC, Almeida had his own fight lined up and was concluding his preparation for a bout in the World Series of Fighting.
“It was a tough decision to make, it was going to take a week away from me training, so do I go? I said I’ll go and train with Aldo on the way and stay in shape. I thought it was a good decision and something I couldn’t pass up,” said Almeida.
The culmination of his experience thus far has helped mold Almeida into a threat at both the featherweight and lightweight divisions. With the recent win, Almeida senses a rebound on the horizon, and it shows through his latest victory. Framingham’s own is a serious competitor threat duel threat in the lightweight and featherweight divisions. Now it’s just a question of who get’s the call next.