Both bantamweights arrive at the fight in need of a career reboot. For Almeida, the issue is definitely more pressing – the Brazilian knockout artist has been victorious just once in his previous four outings, falling short consistently against top-tier competition. In his most recent fight, though, he was outpointed by up-and-comer Jonathan Martinez, a troubling development for a once-hot prospect.
For O’Malley, the slope hasn’t been so steep. The Contender Series vet was rolling along at 135 pounds, stopping a quartet of opponents in the octagon to threaten the top-15. Then he ran into Marlon Vera and suffered an ankle injury that left him exposed to a ground and pound attack that stopped him late in the first round.