BJJ legend Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida finally returned to the ONE Championship circle after multiple fight cancellations and did so in an impressive fashion. At ONE: 158, the Brazilian remained undefeated, finishing his opponent Simon Carson via a quick TKO in the first round. The victory marks Almeida’s first win by way of strikes and it improves his mixed martial arts record to 3-0.
As “Buchecha” remains one of the top heavyweight contenders in ONE Championship, a match against fellow top contenders is gearing up for him. With Almeida coming into the bright lights, ONE Championship’s heavyweight division has become a much more interesting picture. So, what’s next for Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida?
1. Oumar “Reug Reug” Kane
Well, this matchup was supposed to be what’s next for Almeida. Scheduled at ONE: 157, it was, however, canceled due to an injury on the Senegalese Star Kane. If ONE Championship does book this matchup back, not only will it be a fan-friendly fight, but it will also serve as an important stepping stone for both fighters.
So far in Almeida’s resume, he has faced notable strikers, and in all of those, he used his unrivaled ground game to prevail. However, Almeida’s submission threats might get canceled out by Kane’s dynamic wrestling, forcing both men to will themselves to win in other facets of the fight game.
2. Amir Aliakbari
The two-time Greco-Roman wrestling world champion, Amir Aliakbari has had a rough stretch recently. The Iranian star has suffered two consecutive knockout losses, the latest being against the now ONE heavyweight interim champion, Anatoly Malykhin. However, the recent setbacks do not diminish the skills and dangers that Aliakbari can present to any opponent. A suffocating wrestler with powerful hands, this would be a tough matchup for Marcus Almeida, but would also serve as a good experience in preparation for bigger fights.
3. Arjan Bhullar or Anatoly Malykhin
Current ONE heavyweight champion Arjan Bhullar has yet to defend his title since capturing it against long-time champion Brandon Vera. This prompted the promotion to set up an interim title, which Anatoly Malykhin won. Both men have exchanged trash-talks since then, and it is for certain that both men’s next fights are against each other.
Depending on what the outcome of Arjan Bhullar vs Anatoly Malykhin will be especially with injuries, it is very possible that Marcus Almeida will face either of them. Yes, the Brazilian still holds a record of 3-0, but seeing how easily he handled all of his previous opponents, plus his background and caliber, Almeida is just as ready as any top contender would be.
Marcus Almeida did cite at his ONE: 158 post-fight ring interview that he would like a short turnaround, so waiting for this championship fight wouldn’t be much of the vision right now.
If it’s a quick turnaround he would like to have, fights against Kirill Grishenko or Brandon Vera (if he would take the fight), would be entertaining ones.
Featured Image Credits to ONE Championship PR