Jailton Almeida: Curtis Blaydes ‘in for a surprise’ if he expects predictable grappling at UFC 299

MIAMI – Jailton Almeida has been a dominant force thus far in his career run thanks to his smothering grappling game, but he may have a few tricks up his sleeve for Curtis Blaydes at UFC 299.

Blayes (17-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) believes he has Almeida (20-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) figured out. With more than double the experience of the Brazilian fighting the best in the world under the UFC’s banner, Blaydes has experienced several high-level fighting styles, and expects a predictable gameplan that lacks striking.

According to Almeida, if Blaydes thinks he will be easy to figure out in the feature prelim bout at Kaseya Center, then he will be disappointed.

“I didn’t come here to just be another fighter in the division, I’m here to stay,” Almeida told reporters through an interpreter at Wednesday’s media day. “If he didn’t see my striking, it’s because I haven’t had a need to use it yet. Just the grappling alone has been enough to get pretty much everybody out of my way.”

In his second UFC main event in November, Almeida defeated former title challenger Derrick Lewis by unanimous decision. It was a grappling-heavy gameplan, but one that was effective against the heavy-handed Lewis. But the No. 12-ranked heavyweight in the latest USA TODAY SPORTS/MMA Junkie rankings warns Blaydes to be ready for more than just wrestling and jiu-jitsu.

“I just fought five rounds against who might be the heaviest fighter in the division and someone who’s very accomplished, and I did fine,” Almeida said. “If the UFC wants to make it five rounds on Saturday, I’m more than happy to take it right now. If he’s thinking I’m that predictable, maybe he hasn’t watched the latest fights, then he might have a surprise there on Saturday.”

Blaydes recently stated he sees himself as a heavyweight version of Justin Gaethje for this fight, in that he will use his wrestling to keep the fight on the feet, and potentially end the fight by knockout.

“If he’s comparing himself to Gaethje and how he wants to use his wrestling, then I’ll be Khabib (Nurmagomedov) for him,” Almeida said. “That’s not a problem. I’ll get him down and I’ll wear him out. Eventually, I’m going to get him down and I’m going to get the submission.

“I’m going to finish him. If that’s his plan to keep it standing – all the respect to his skill and everything – he’s in for a surprise.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 299.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie