UFC Heavyweight Jailton Almeida Schedules Charity MMA Fight Against Man with Down Syndrome in Brazil

Rising heavyweight Jailton Almeida will fight Alvaro Borges, an athlete with Down syndrome, in a MMA exhibition at the upcoming Demo Fight 18 in Salvador, Brazil.

Upcoming heavyweight sensation, Jailton Almeida, has a new fight on his hands. This one, however, is a battle he’s willing to lose, and it’s all set before his UFC 299 face-off with Curtis Blaydes.

The Brazilian MMA promotion, Demo Fight, broke the news on Wednesday. They revealed that “Malhadinho” is set to fight Alvaro Borges in an MMA exhibition. Now, Borges isn’t your typical athlete; he’s a fighter with Down syndrome.

This special match is part of the Demo Fight 18 show in Salvador, Brazil. The date? Jan. 27.

Almeida’s reaction to this unique bout? He’s thrilled. “I’m very happy to be part of this event and help Alvaro’s dream come true of fighting MMA again,” he said.

Borges isn’t new to the ring, though. He’s a regular at special jiu-jitsu tournaments in Brazil and internationally. He’s even had a charity MMA bout under the Demo Fight banner before, emerging victorious.

Demo Fight promoter, Demistocles Brito, shared his motivation behind booking these special matches. It’s all about love for his autistic nephew and recognizing the positive impact of sports on his development.

Brito’s vision for Demo Fight is clear. “Demo Fight’s goal is to not only reveal new talents but also promote inclusion,” he said. They’ve been doing this since Demo Fight 11, featuring a one-handed fighter, Marney Maxx, and a grappling match with two blind athletes. Alvaro had his first MMA fight at their last event, and now he’s back for round two against Malhadinho.

For Almeida, his next UFC challenge is a three-round duel with Curtis Blaydes in Miami. His goal? To make a mark in the heavyweight championship conversation.

Almeida’s last fight was in Sao Paulo, where he defeated Derrick Lewis, a short-notice replacement. The Brazilian remains undefeated in the UFC with six wins, five of which were stoppages.

Almeida isn’t the first UFC veteran to support a special needs individual in achieving their dream. In 2015, Nate Quarry, a one-time middleweight title challenger, came out of retirement for an exhibition bout with Jake Beckmann, who also has Down syndrome.

Quarry’s experience was unforgettable. “It was just so great to hear everyone just screaming and yelling and so supportive of what he’s gone through,” he said. His aim was to show that this wasn’t a spectacle, but a young man with goals and dreams.

Former UFC star Diego Sanchez also participated in an exhibition bout with a Down syndrome competitor, Isaac Marquez, in 2017. Sanchez commended “The Shermanator” for his dedication to training and “lost” their match via a first-round armbar.


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