Roman Kopylov, UFC 302

Roman Kopylov utilizes superior wrestling in win over Cesar Almeida at UFC 302

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to us tonight, June 1, 2024, for UFC 302, going down live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Headlining the event is a lightweight championship affair showcasing no. 1 pound-for-pound ranked Islam Makhachev (25-1), who attempts to make the third defense of his title tonight opposing no. 4 ranked former interim champion Dustin Poirier (30-8) in the main event of the evening.

Co-headlining the event is a middleweight bout between no. 1 ranked former champion Sean Strickland (28-6) and no. 7 ranked former title challenger Paulo Costa (14-3).

Our preliminary main event of the evening came in the middleweight division between a pair of dangerous strikers in Cesar Almeida (5-1) and Roman Kopylov (13-3).

Almeida, a former multi-organization world kickboxing champion (47-8-1) and two-time opponent of Alex Pereira, recently switched his focus to MMA, making his UFC debut earlier this year in April and picking up a second round TKO that saw him keep his undefeated record with his fourth knockout.

Kopylov on the other hand, following a unanimous decision victory in his professional debut, had secured 11 knockouts in 11 victories since.

Continue reading to see how this middleweight encounter went down:

Official Result: Roman Kopylov def. Cesar Almeida via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Almeida opened up the bout with his thudding leg kicks, landing a number of them before Kopylov sat him down with a single leg momentarily. Kopylov allowed Almeida back to his feet, where the Russian landed a vicious straight left.

Kopylov secured another easy takedown shortly after, again allowing Almeida back up where he landed that nasty left hand again, this time flooring the Brazilian on the spot. He followed up with some ground and pound but ultimately let Almeida back to his feet before securing another takedown in the latter stages of the opening round.

Almeida had a better start to the second, getting back to work with his striking and defending Kopylov’s initial takedowns well. He was however taken back down to the mat on Kopylov’s fourth attempt and held there for the final two minutes of the middle stretch.

Almeida landed a pair of hard right hands in the opening minute of the third and final round, but was again taken down and controlled through the majority of the round.

Kopylov’s takedowns in round one really seemed to open up his striking game, but he wasn’t able to continue winning the stand up exchanges as the fight went on. Nonetheless, he is the more versatile mixed martial artist and it showed.

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Brady Ordway
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That's the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you'd like to see those pieces, be sure to check out!