Almeida vs. Pyle, photo via UFC.com
How do these guys stack up?
Almeida: 34 years old, 6'0"
Pyle: 35 years old, 6'1"
What have they done lately?
How did these guys get here?
Ricardo Almeida is a third degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt. He made his professional MMA debut at PRIDE 12, defeating Akira Shoji by decision. His next three bouts were in the UFC where he went 1-2 before ending up back in Japan, this time fighting for Pancrase. He worked his way up to winning the middleweight King of Pancrase title in a bout with Nate Marquardt. The bout wasn't without controversy as he appeared to hang on to a guillotine choke well after Nate had tapped out leading to a brief brawl involving the camps. Shortly after the bout Almeida retired from MMA for four years. He returned in February of 2008, defeating Rob Yundt at UFC 81. He's gone 5-2 since his return only losing to Patrick Cote and Matt Hughes.
Pyle shares a similarly long career, debuting in 1999. That debut came in the form of a loss to Quinton Jackson. He wouldn't fight again until 2002, this time defeating Jon Fitch by submission. Along with fighting two men who would go on to great success in his first two fights, Pyle was a world traveler. His first five bouts took place in Memphis, Las Vegas, Denmark, Russia and Lithuania. Over his long career he has developed a well rounded game with a strong focus on the ground attack. Now in the UFC, Pyle has won three of five fights and is coming off one of the most impressive performances of 2010. In his last bout he completely out gameplanned and shut down the much hyped John Hathaway. Pyle will be hoping that his Xtreme Couture camp can help him gameplan similarly for the very experienced Almeida.
Why should you care?
These are two guys who have absolutely earned their way into the UFC. Pyle is riding high on the strength of the Hathaway win and neither man can really afford a loss if they're hoping to ever have any sort of chance at a title shot.