Photo by Ken Pishna via MMA Weekly.
The vaunted grapplers didn't take it to the ground as many expected. Both men squared off on the feet early, trading kicks and punches for much of the round before Almeida looked for the takedown with two minutes left in the round. After little success in the clinch, Almeida successfully tripped up Pyle, but he was unable to control Pyle on the ground. Pyle regained his feet, eating a few punches for his trouble before getting tagged hard. Almeida controlled the rest of the round in the clinch, eating a couple of knees from Pyle. Very close round to call considering Pyle's success with knees and Almeida tagging Pyle.
A minute into the second, Almeida secured a takedown along the fence, hoping to work from top control. Pyle immediately pressed to the fence and wall walked his way back to his feet where a position battle ensued. After separating, Almeida and Pyle went to battle on the feet once again with Pyle eying knees and punches and Almeida trying to work kicks and counter punches. With forty-five seconds left, Almeida dumped Pyle to the floor, sitting in his guard and working small body shots to end the round.
Pyle and Almeida squared off in the third on the feet for half of the round before Pyle was able to take down Almeida along the fence. Pyle toyed with Almeida from his feet, contemplating whether he should go into guard or not, but Almeida reared up and grabbed Pyle's leg. Almeida transitioned to the clinch immediately, trying to damage Pyle with elbows and body shots with a minute left in the round. With forty seconds left, Pyle landed a nice knee strike to Almeida's chin with no visible effect. The round ended with Pyle attempting to topple Almeida to the floor.
Pyle entered the contest on a two-fight winning streak, defeating John Hathaway and Jesse Lennox at UFC 120 and UFC 115 respectively. Pyle is well-known for possessing an effective grappling game despite never being formally taught the intricacies of the Jiu-Jitsu in his early years. With seventeen of his twenty wins coming by way of submission, it's safe to say Pyle has become one of the better submission fighters in the sport.
Almeida is a decorated third-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie. He had previously defeated TJ Grant at UFC 124 in December after succumbing to an anaconda choke from Matt Hughes at UFC 117. This was his fourth bout since dropping down to 170 lbs.