Garbrandt, undefeated himself heading into the fight, moved forward with combinations that connected early. A left hand staggered Almeida, but he was able to recover.
After being stunned, Almeida turned up the aggression. He began pressuring Garbrandt. It was a strategy that backfired.
During an exchange, Garbrandt hurt Almeida. The Brazilian backed up to the cage and tried to cover up. Garbrandt continued to throw punches and a right hand landed flush on the jaw of Almeida. Almeida fell to the canvas and Garbrandt landed one more shot before referee “Big” John McCarthy stepped in.
“I have the utmost respect for Thomas Almeida. 21-0, you don’t get that good,” he said after the fight. “He’s going to be a future champion as well, so I’m looking forward to future fights with him.”
Garbrandt was unranked prior to Sunday’s event. He felt overlooked and disrespected by the analysts. After the knockout win, he called for some overdue recognition.
“Can I get some respect now? I wasn’t even ranked in the top 15. First-round knockout over an undefeated guy, give me some credit,” he said.
“No Love” will be ranked tomorrow and believes that he can knockout anyone in the division, including the current champion.
“I know I’m the hardest hitter in the 135-pound division. I’ll knock anyone out in my division, Dominick Cruz, whoever. I’m going to be the champion,” he proclaimed. “When the lights are shining, that’s when I’m the best. Put whoever in front of me, I’m going to knock them out.”