Still chasing finishes, Thomas Almeida excited to show more technical approach on UFC return

Thomas Almeida is finally set to make his return to the octagon and he’s eager to show off a new version of himself.

The Brazilian bantamweight hasn’t competed since January 2018 and has been sidelined due to an eye injury that required surgery.

Almeida (21-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) has lost three of his past four, where his willingness to constantly engage in wars eventually caught up with him. But Almeida knows that he has the skills and raw talent to compete with the best in the division and has used the time off to correct those wrongs.

“I think I lost to myself,” Almeida told MMA Junkie. “Every loss I had, to myself. I know I’m capable of doing much more and much better, but sometimes you gotta go back and look at yourself and fix some problems, some techniques, learn some new moves and that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m thinking about being an MMA fighter and that’s the way I’m going right now. That’s the point that I have to improve. Not just striking, be an MMA fighter, a complete MMA fighter. That’s the change I’ve been doing, that’s the mindset I’ve changed.”

But that doesn’t mean that Almeida, whose thrilling style has earned him bonuses in all five of his UFC wins, is going to entirely change his approach. With 20 of his 21 pro wins coming via finish, his fight-ending intentions will remain the same. They’ll just come via a more technical approach.

“That’s my roots, I’m never gonna change that,” Almeida said. “But sometimes, be smarter, takedowns, control the fight, make some points, this is important. So change a little bit, but always trying to win, trying to knock the opponent out or submit the opponent, that’s the goal. Always.”

He will face Alejandro Perez at the UFC’s Oct. 10 event, which takes place at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, and Almeida is happy to face an opponent who will be willing to engage.

“Alejandro is a tough guy,” Almeida said. “I think we’re gonna strike a little bit and then – it’s hard to say, it’s not my style, but I think he’s a tough guy, I’m a tough guy too and we’re gonna have fun for sure for the fans. I’m always looking for the knockout. I’m not gonna change, I’m gonna try and knock him out all the time. I promise you to all the fans and that’s always my goal.”

He continued, “I like this matchup because Alejandro likes the striking, the same as I like (it), and he’s very aggressive, and I think the fans are gonna love the fight. The matchup is super cool, we go to fight, we’re always looking for the knockout so that’s why I think it’s a good matchup.”

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