Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida may be soft-spoken and friendly when he isn't competing, but inside the Circle he's dangerous, calculating, and seemingly unstoppable.
The hulking Brazilian recently scored his third successive first-round victory in ONE Championship when he took out Australia’s Simon Carson in their heavyweight mixed martial arts battle at ONE 158: Tawanchai vs. Larsen on 3 June.
After winning his first two bouts in The Home of Martial Arts by submission, the 17-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion wanted to showcase his more rounded arsenal in his latest outing at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – and he did exactly that.
The fight began with "Buchecha" landing several damaging kicks on his Aussie opponent, who he then took down to the canvas. From there, the 32-year-old phenom unleashed devastating ground-and-pound that spurred the referee to intervene and bring an end to the fight.
The grappling great was delighted with the result and expressed his relief and gratitude at finally getting a third fight inside the Circle after having his last two bouts canceled.
“I'm so happy, so stoked, that I got one more win. Three and zero right now. A lot of respect for Simon Carson. He gave me his word, he signed the contract, and he showed up on the day. It was hard for me to find an opponent, but finally we found one, and I hope to get back as soon as possible. I want to keep on track, and I want to keep the momentum going,” Almeida said.
The discussion of who is next for the burgeoning MMA star is now on the minds of every ONE fan. “Buchecha” is adamant that he wants to stay active, and he would prefer it to be in his new discipline. But a man with a grappling record like his can never escape questions about when he’ll return to the mats.
“If I come here [for] a fight [that] was [cancelled], and they offer me a grappling fight [instead], I would be down to do it. But to prepare myself [in] a camp, to do a grappling fight, right now [it’s] not in my plans. But who knows. [It depends] if the organization asked me and Chatri asked me. [Then] it would make sense for me. But right now, it's not in my plans,” he said.
As for future opponents, “Buchecha” certainly has options. ONE has been developing its heavyweight roster over the last year, and the division is now becoming quite packed with talent.
Jasur Mirzamukhamedov and Duke Didier had an intense battle at ONE 158. The former edged out the latter by a tight split decision, but both looked like game competition. Kickboxing star Guto Inocente also had an incredible win over Rade Opacic, and he has previously spoken about competing in ONE’s MMA division, so that may be a possibility also.
Whoever is next for “Buchecha,” fans can expect him to go from strength to strength. After all, he’s happily settling into his new MMA career, and his future is bright in ONE.
“One thing I can say is I'm feeling really confident in the cage. I'm learning the game, and every fight becomes more comfortable. I'm not rushing anything. I'm taking my time to do everything,” Almeida said.
In the meantime, download the ONE Super App to catch all the action at ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash on Friday, 22 July, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.