UFC Vegas 90: Cesar Almeida TKOs Dylan Budka Despite Takedown Defense Holes

Dylan Budka and Cesar Almeida, UFC Vegas 90
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 06: (R-L) Cesar Almeida of Brazil kicks Dylan Budka in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 06, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Kickboxing won a stylistic clash at UFC Vegas 89 as Cesar Almeida TKOed Dylan Budka.

Budka and Almeida made their UFC debut against each other after graduating from the Contender Series, where both won by decision. Although Dana White had said Budka would have to move down to welterweight, he still debuted in the UFC at middleweight. His foe, a former kickboxer, had once beaten Alex Pereira in one of the fights in their trilogy, which helped him earn his DWCS fight at only 3-0.

Budka took Almeida down with a double leg the second that Cesar threw his first strike. Almeida instantly butt-scooted to the fence. Budka did no damage on the ground and Almeida eventually got up. Although he was still stuck in the clinch, Dylan was unable to do damage or yet the Brazilian back down, while Almeida punched him from the awkward angle. Although Budka racked up several minutes of control time, his lack of damage put the round score in doubt.

Almeida came forward to start round two and landed a few strikes before getting taken down, but this time he sprung back up instantly. Cesar did even more damage this time around, enough that he bruised Dylan’s face badly and forced him to back off. Budka circled the outside of the cage, breathing heavily and taking damage. When he shot again he got no drive on it, and a knee from Almeida sent Budka to the canvas in the turtle position. The rapid turn of the tides ended when the referee stepped in shortly after.

Although Cesar Almeida had a flawed performance, he also showed resilience and has a bright future given his striking pedigree if he can shore up the takedown defense. With his first UFC win he moved to 5-0 and will look to emulate his old rival, Alex Pereira, the rest of the way. Although he is undefeated in MMA, 5 fights is no great sample size so we need to see more. His post-fight call out of Chris Weidman was a bold one, however.

Official Result: Cesar Almeida def. Dylan Budka by TKO (knee and punches), Round 2, 2:13