Speed, accuracy, and discipline have taken Jimmie Rivera a long way in the UFC bantamweight division.
Case in point came Saturday night at UFC on FOX 25. Fighting at home in the New York area, Rivera’s well-rounded game was too much for Thomas Almeida to handle. The judges’ scores at Nassau Coliseum were 29-28, 30-26, and 30-27 his 20th consecutive victory.
Rivera put on a clinic in the first round, slipping the Brazilian’s punches with ease and landing crisp counters. Rivera dropped Almeida twice in the round, the first time with a left to the jaw and the second with a right which landed flush on the face.
Almeida certainly had his moments in the fight. He’s at his best when he’s a tornado of action, and he had his best round in the second, landing flush punches and kicks. Rivera scored as well in what was a close round.
In the third, Rivera shot for a single early and got the takedown on a second effort. Almeida worked his way back to his feet, but Rivera scored another takedown with about a minute left. This likely made the difference in a round which was even in the standup.
After the fight, Rivera made his case to fight one of the division’s top dogs.
“I want to give it up to Almeida, he’s a very tough opponent,” Rivera said. “I’m 5-0, if Cody [Garbrandt] is still hurt I’ll fight T.J. [Dillashaw] for the interim belt and if [Dominick] Cruz is getting off the bench let’s fight at MSG.”
Rivera (21-1) is now 5-0 in the UFC. Almeida (22-2) has dropped two of his past three.