For reasons that haven’t been made clear UFC officials have decided to demote the originally planned UFC Fight Night 224 headliner on May 13th in North Carolina between Anthony Smith vs. Johnny Walker to co-main event status and have now promoted Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Jailton Almeida to the main event instead.
According to MMAJunkie the promotion had been seeking an alternative fight to front the show for some time, and as the 5th and 7th ranked contenders at light-heavyweight respectively, Smith and Walker will likely find it hard to take it as anything but a snub that they’ve eventually been pushed down to allow a fight between the 9th and 12th ranked heavyweights Rozenstruik and Almeida instead.
The 31-year-old Almeida is making a name for himself in the heavyweight ranks though, having originally joined the promotion via the Contender Series with a 14-2 career record, before going on to notch up four stoppage wins in a row inside the Octagon, defeating Danilo Marques, Parker Porter, Anton Turkalj and most recently Shamil Abdurakhimov in January.
He’ll now be taking a big step up in competition against the 35-year-old Rozenstruik, who shook off a couple of losses against Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov last time out when he KO’d Chris Daukaus in just 23 seconds>
With Rozenstruik vs. Almeida headlining and Smith vs. Walker in the co-main event, UFC Fight Night 224 event proceeds with a line-up that will also include Matt Brown vs. Court McGee and Tim Means vs. Alex Morono.