O’Malley on Tuesday announced via his YouTube channel a bout with Brazilian slugger Almeida for the March 27 pay-per-view event at a location to be announced. A person close to Almeida told MMA Fighting that verbal agreements are in place for the fight; O’Malley said he’s received a contract for the bout.
The matchup arrives as both fighters try to snap recent skids. O’Malley injured his ankle prior to a TKO loss to Marlon Vera this past August at UFC 252. The setback was his first as a professional after rocketing up the UFC’s 135-pound ranks with four straight wins, including a highlight-reel knockout of Eddie Wineland at UFC 250.
“He turned it down, he said my right hand was too powerful or something along those lines of COVID or something, so he turned the fight down,” O’Malley said. “Good decision on his part, would have been a nasty KO.”
Once one of the brightest prospects in the promotion’s 135-pound class, Almeida is on shaky footing after going 1-4 in his past five outings. He most recently faced Jonathan Martinez at UFC Fight Island 6 and was outpointed for the second time in his UFC career, which started off with a 4-0 run that included three straight knockouts.
Almeida and O’Malley share a foe in Cody Garbrandt, who handed Almeida first pro loss via knockout. O’Malley has repeatedly called for a fight with the ex-champ.