Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at Brazilian heavyweight Junior Albini as he makes his UFC debut against 12th-ranked heavyweight Tim Johnson.

Junior “Baby” Albini

Hometown: Paragagua, Brazil
Age: 26
Height: 6-foot-3
Reach: 74 inches
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Camp: Astra Fight Team
Career Record: 13-2
Key Wins: None
Key Losses: Alberto Uda

Background

The Brazilian heavyweight has won nine straight fights and hasn’t lost since 2012. He has won six of his last seven fights overall inside the distance. 

Strengths

  • Decent footwork
  • Good ground and pound
  • Fights with a lot of composure

Weaknesses

  • Lower tier athlete
  • Lacks the size of most of the top 15 UFC heavyweights
  • Can be pushed and held against the cage

Fighter Grade

Offensive Striking: D+
Striking Defense: D+
Knockout Power: D
Athleticism / Speed: D
Footwork: C
Chin: C-
Offensive Wrestling: D
Takedown Defense: D+
Submissions: D
Conditioning: D+
Intangibles: D-

Overall Grade: D

Matchup with Tim Johnson

Albini makes his UFC debut against the experienced Tim Johnson. That experience against several of the UFC’s Top 15 heavyweights will be very helpful for Johnson in this bout. He’s seen fighters that are stronger, more skilled, quicker and better strikers than Albini. Johnson is a reliable heavyweight that can win with heavy strikes or pushing his opponent against the cage and working against the cage. Albini has been pushed against the fence in several of his fights. I fully expect Johnson to employ that game plan in this bout to control his opponent. Johnson will dominate the control in this bout, and that will be the difference. It may not be pretty, but it’s effective. With the over 2.5 priced at -110, that’s a nice opportunity to hit the over. Both fighters have shown in their careers to be durable, and with this bout mainly being contested along the cage, I expect it to go to a decision with Johnson getting his hand raised. 

UFC Ceiling

Albini is a young heavyweight at just 26 years of age. That in and of itself has some value in an aging division. Unfortunately, he has no weapons that can threaten the top fighters in the division. He doesn’t have the grappling game or the punching power to keep opponents honest. If he proves to be durable, he’ll be able to stick around a bit in the UFC, otherwise don’t expect much. 

Fight Film

Check out Albini in some of his most recent fights…

Albini vs. Jose Rodrigo Guelke

Albini vs. Ivan Vicic