Saturday, November 7th 2015 UFC Fight Night 77: Belfort vs. Henderson


Thomas Almeida (19-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 24 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 72.5″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Brad Pickett (7-11-15)
  • Camp: Chute Box (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management:Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+   Legacy BW Champion
+   Brown Belt BJJ
+   15 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   15 first round finishes
+   Aggressive forward pressure
+   Volume/variety striker
+   Finishes combos with L. Hooks
^   Especially liver shots
+   Dangerous lead switch-knee
+   Good elbows & uppercuts
+/-Will stand toe-to-toe
–    Takes damage(especially early)
+   Favors lead right hand
^   Head leans heavily left
+   Excellent get up ability
+   Improved TD defense
+/-Gets hurt but recovers well


Anthony Birchak (12-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 29 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Joe Soto (6-6-15)
  • Camp: Luta Elite MMA (Tucson, AZ)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: B-

Supplemental info:
+   Regional BW Titles
+   NCAA Div. 2 Wrestler
+   4x Greco State Champ (AZ)
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   6 first round finishes
+   6 submission wins
+   4 KO victories
+   Very strong in clinch
^   Good body-lock TD’s
+   KO power
+/-Aggressive submission hunter
^   Often misses/losses position
+   Active scrambler
^   Will expose back in turtling
+   Excellent G&P/Elbows
–    Shown leg-lock vulnerabilities
–    Head high/hands low on entries
+   Volume & variety striker


In my pick for the potential “Fight of the Night”, Thomas Almeida collides with Anthony Birchak. Almeida is a hot rising prospect from Brazil who embodies the classically aggressive “Chute Box” style. He’ll be facing his most well rounded opposition to date as he meets Birchak. Although coming from a wrestling base, Anthony shows a wild variety of techniques & aggression. This especially is apparent on the feet, where he keeps his opposition guessing from superman punches to clinch space, or fake shots into flying knees. However, the common thread here is that he keeps his head high and hands low on his entries. Favoring his right uppercut lead-ins, Anthony could particularly play into Almeida’s hands.

Thomas favors a lead/intercepting right hand of his own, which he uses to come over the top of oncoming attacks. Though Almeida’s willingness here has costed/exposed him to straight punches, Birchak’s wide open attack should prove less resistance for his accuracy. It is important to note that Thomas will turn his lead rights into counter set ups, as he leans heavily left/forward coming off his cross. This sets him up to come back hard with left hooks to the head & body. However, it’s in this high risk game that he also allows for his own counter vulnerabilities(seen in Pickett fight).

Though I give Almeida an overall edge standing, his willingness to go “toe-to-toe” makes Birchak’s KO power a live intangible in this fight. Not to mention Anthony’s shown durability & chin, you should not write this man off on the feet. That said, Birchak’s best chances will be by making this a gritty fight in clinch/grappling space. Almeida also shows improved TD defense & excellent get up abilities making the clinch the “Key Junction” in this fight. Should Birchak get Thomas down, I suspect he’ll try and test the Brazilian as we’ve seldom seen him grounded. However, I highly doubt we see any prolonged ground stanzas given each mans stylings.

Though possessing excellent ground striking & an aggressive sub game, Anthony will often make hasty/slightly technically deficient attempts that cost him position(even his back with his habit of turtling). Speaking of wrestling related habits, Birchak also shows to leave his legs for the taking in ground transitions(threatened/caught with leg-locks in last 4 of 4). Almeida also shows to threaten Heel Hooks in the scramble and whether he can catch Anthony or not, he should be able to use these opportunities to stand at the very least.

I actually like Birchak’s style & aggression for this fight, and I feel the odds are off as he’s a very live dog. But given the facts at play, I’ll be leaning toward the fight-to-fight improving prospect to get it done in his backyard. I cannot stress enough how close this fight actually is, and caution any plays for Almeida’s high price. That said, he is worth looking at for your high tier Fantasy picks given this ones promise for action. “When two Tigers fight, one losses but both end up maimed.” Expect high risk and high reward at it’s finest.

Official Pick: Almeida – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: To be determined.

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Thomas Almeida

Low Tier Picks:

-Dan Henderson

Pieces for your parlay:

-Johnny Case
-Alex Oliveira
-Chas Skelly

Props worth looking at:

-Almeida vs. Birchak – inside the distance
-Chas Skelly by Submission

Fights to avoid:

-Guida vs.Tavares
-Burns vs. Magomedov
-Andrade vs. Umalatov

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