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How WSOF champion Alexandre Almeida beat Lance Palmer and the sports books last time around

WSOF

Alexandre Almeida entered World Series of Fighting as a former Jungle Fight featherweight champion, and needed only one win in the promotion to earn a shot at 145-pound champion Lance Palmer. A huge underdog at WSOF 26, "Capitao" came out victorious via unanimous decision after five rounds.

Some athletes feels disrespected when labeled as an underdog, but Almeida and his team saw an opportunity to make extra money.

"The oddsmakers always believe Americans will win, especially in this case," Almeida told MMA Fighting. "Lance was the champion and I wasn’t well known in the United States, but they didn’t know that I was the number one in Brazil. I loved being the underdog because I bet all my money on me and won everything. I bet $20,000 and won $80,000. It was great. I want to be the underdog again. I hope I’m the underdog again [laughs]."

That cash didn’t come from his pockets, though. Before walking out for the title fight, Almeida’s sponsor Beto, who owns a company called Samel in Brazil, decided to make the bet.

"I won part of this money," Almeida explains. "Beto is like a father to me. He invests a lot in my career. He bet on me, and gave me some money as a prize for the win."

The WSOF featherweight champion wants to be the underdog again. If the odds indicate that, he might bet $20,000 from his own account.

"I’ll put my money on me this time, and make more money," he said with a laugh. "Beto is hoping that I’m the underdog too, so we can win more money from the casino [laughs]."

Aside from a chance for extra cash, defending his belt against Palmer is like any other fight for Almeida. In fact, he wasn’t even surprised that the promotion decided to give the Team Alpha Male talent an immediate rematch.

"They will always want an American defeating a Brazilian, so it’s normal," Almeida said. "It’s good for me because I already know his game, the way he fights, his strength, so I know what I have to do in there. I always expect the best from my opponents. I always think he’ll do everything perfect in the fight so I train harder than ever. I never expect him to be at his worse, afraid. He will come at his best, like a monster."

"I see this fight as just another one," he added. "I don’t worry about the belt. I’m going there to win and kick ass the same way I went last time. I don’t think about the belt, that I have to win to stay champion. I don’t add this extra pressure. If it’s a title fight or not, I don’t care. It’s just another fight for me. I need to win. I can’t lose."

As Almeida points out constantly, he has more first-round submissions in his MMA career (13) than Palmer has fights overall (12), and guarantees that he has everything to tap Palmer if they go to the ground. However, he plans on finishing his opponent standing this time.

"He wasn’t expecting me to trade with him the first time," "Capitao" said. "He thought I was going to shot for takedowns, get tired and lose. I believe he will come more aggressive this time, but I want to knock him out. I know what I have to do if we go to the ground, but I want to knock him out this time."