Originally published at UFC 267 Report: Glover Teixeira submits Jan Błachowicz
UFC 267 Report: Glover Teixeira submits Jan Błachowicz to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Petr Yan claims Interim Bantamweight title
By: Eric Marcotte
UFC 267 took place on Saturday afternoon, from the Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The UFC returned to Abu Dhabi for the first time since January for this numbered event, that aired on ESPN+ for American viewers at no additional cost. The card was headlined by the Light Heavyweight Champion, Jan Błachowicz, attempting to defend his title against the top-ranked light heavyweight contender, Glover Teixeira. Teixeira won five consecutive fights to earn this shot, and now at 42 years of age, it is very possible that this would be Teixeira’s final opportunity to win UFC gold. Błachowicz defended his title for the first time earlier this year, defeating Israel Adesanya by decision. While Teixeira does not have the same name value as Adesanya, he is a natural light heavyweight and posed very different threats stylistically to the champion. The co-main event featured another title fight, as Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen fought to determine the interim champion of the bantamweight division, with Aljamain Sterling sidelined for the time being. Both fighters were coming off of losses going into this fight, but with both Sterling and T.J. Dillashaw injured, this felt like the most sensible fight to make among the top fighters at 135lbs (if an interim championship had to be introduced).
The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier, and Paul Felder. Performance bonuses were awarded to Glover Teixeira and Khamzat Chimaev. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen. The announced attendance for this event was 10,171.
*Tagir Ulanbekov def. Allan Nascimento by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Andre Petroski def. Hu Yaozong by arm triangle at 4:46 of Round 3
*Lerone Murphy def. Makwan Amirkhani by KO at 0:14 of Round 2
*Michael Oleksiejczuk def. Shamil Gamzatov by TKO at 3:31 of Round 1
*Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos def. Benoit St. Denis by unanimous decision (29-26 all)
*Albert Duraev def. Roman Kopylov by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-27)
*Zubaira Tukhugov def. Ricardo Ramos by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Amanda Ribas def. Virna Jandiroba by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Magomed Ankalaev def. Volkan Oezdemir by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Khamzat Chimaev def. Jingliang Li by rear-naked choke at 3:16 of Round 1
*Alexander Volkov def. Marcin Tybura by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Islam Makhachev def. Dan Hooker by kimura at 2:25 of Round 1
*Petr Yan def. Cory Sandhagen by unanimous decision (49-46 all) to win the Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship
*Glover Teixeira def. Jan Błachowicz by rear-naked choke at 3:02 of Round 2 to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
TAGIR ULANBEKOV (13-1, 125) VS ALLAN NASCIMENTO (18-5, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Nascimento was very active with leg kicks to begin this fight. Ulanbekov closed the distance and took Nascimento down with a body lock, where he began to work from his guard. Nascimento threatened a number of submissions off of his back and was eventually able to take top position. Now working from his back, Ulanbekov went for a guillotine, and it looked as though the fight may have been over here, but Nascimento survived the submission attempt and made it to the end of the round. Very close round. 10-9 Ulanbekov on my scorecard.
Ulanbekov wasted little time in attempting another takedown, and he was eventually successful, taking Nascimento down about two minutes into the second round. There were some more strong grappling exchanges throughout the round, with Nascimento attempting to mount some offense off of his back, while Ulanbekov racked up the control time. I gave the round to Nascimento, but once again, this was a tough one to call. 19-19.
Nascimento rolled with a takedown attempt and went for an armbar, but was unsuccessful, and Ulanbekov took top position once more. I thought this was the strongest round for Ulanbekov, who never appeared to be in any significant danger throughout the round, and landed his best ground and pound shots of the fight. 29-28 Ulanbekov.
WINNER: Tagir Ulanbekov by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
I thought this was a fun fight to kick off this lengthy card. Despite the control time being entirely one-sided in Ulanbekov’s favor, Nascimento was extremely active off of his back, which led to a pair of very close rounds to begin this fight. I gave Ulanbekov the edge, but I wouldn’t have had any issues with Nascimento getting his arm raised here either. Ulanbekov is now 2-0 in the UFC.
YAOZONG HU (3-2, 186) VS ANDRE PETROSKI (6-1, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Hu slipped on a kick attempt about a minute into the fight, and Petroski immediately jumped on him with a guillotine attempt. He survived the submission attempt but gave up his back in the process. Petroski began to hunt for a rear-naked choke, however, he didn’t have the best angle on the choke, and Hu was able to scramble to his feet. Petroski threw a number of hard left hands as the fight resumed on the feet, finding a home for the majority of the. Hu defended a takedown attempt from Petroski late in the round and seemed to have a bit more in the gas tank before time expired. 10-9 Petroski.
Petroski began round two with a takedown. Hu initially did a good job of creating scrambles, but as the round wore on, Petroski was able to maintain dominant positions for longer periods of time. While Hu was able to defend numerous submission attempts, he was unable to create offense of his own or escape to his feet, resulting in a fairly dominant round for Petroski. 20-18 Petroski.
Petroski took the fight right back to the ground, about thirty seconds into the final round. There was a brief moment, halfway through the round, in which the action returned to the feet and they exchanged uppercuts, but Petroski quickly brought Yu back down, where he landed some of his strongest ground and pound shots of the fight. From here, Petroski transitioned into an arm triangle attempt, and Hu was forced to submit in the final seconds of the round.
WINNER: Andre Petroski by arm triangle at 4:46 of Round 3
Petroski had a sizeable advantage in the grappling department and was largely able to take Yu down at will. Yu was resilient but found himself unable to escape from the bottom position as he tired, allowing Petroski to really pour it on late in the fight and get the finish. With this win, Petroski improved to 2-0 in the UFC, and he has finished each of his professional wins.
MAKWAN AMIRKHANI (16-6, 146) VS LERONE MURPHY (10-0-1, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Amirkhani took Murphy down with a double leg, and began to work from side control. He moved to the back of Murphy, where Amirkhani locked his arms around Murphy’s waste, and repeatedly dragged him to the ground as Murphy attempted to escape. This round was all Amirkhani, although I didn’t think he did enough damage to earn a 10-8 scorecard. 10-9 Amirkhani.
Seconds into round two, Murphy connected with a knee to the head of Amirkhani as he dipped his head for a takedown, knocking him unconscious. Murphy landed some brutal follow-up shots before Mark Goddard was able to step in and stop the fight.
WINNER: Lerone Murphy by KO at 0:14 of Round 2
This was a scary knockout. It took a very long time for Amirkhani to recover here, but he was eventually shown on the broadcast on his stool, conscious. It was a perfectly timed knee for Murphy that ended this fight, making for a beautiful highlight knockout on these early prelims. Murphy has looked impressive thus far throughout his UFC run, and this was the type of knockout that could do a lot to place him in a more prominent position on the next card he fights on. Murphy is now 4-0 in the UFC.
SHAMIL GAMZATOV (14-0, 206) VS MICHAL OLEKSIEJCZUK (15-1, 1 NC, 206) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Gamzatov tagged Oleksiejczuk with a counter left early. Oleksiejczuk was applying a ton of pressure, leading to some very dangerous exchanges with Gamzatov, who was unafraid to fire back. They swapped body shots, and Oleksiejczuk found a home for a number of hard left hands. Oleksiejczuk eventually threw this uppercut up the middle that caused Gamzatov to just crumble to the ground, and Oleksiejczuk proceeded to throw down ground and pound blows until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Michael Oleksiejczuk by TKO at 3:31 of Round 1
This was an intense, hard-hitting bout while it lasted. The pressure that Oleksiejczuk was fighting with was suffocating, and from the opening minute, you could tell that this fight wasn’t going to last long with these guys swinging at each other as hard as they were. I can’t think of a fight in which Oleksiejczuk has looked better than this, and I think that this first-round knockout will inject some new life into his run in the UFC. Oleksiejczuk now has a record of 4-2 (1 NC) in the promotion.
ELIZEU ZALESKI DOS SANTOS (22-7, 170.5) VS BENOIT ST. DENIS (8-0, 1 NC, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
They exchanged heavy kicks throughout the opening seconds of the bout. St. Denis chose to change levels, and he successfully took Dos Santos down against the cage. He couldn’t keep Dos Santos down for long, however, and the fight resumed on the feet. Dos Santos ate a kick to the head, and St. Denis moved in to capitalize on the moment, but Dos Santos fired back with a straight right hand that looked as though it rocked St. Denis. St. Denis recovered quickly, and the round came to an end. 10-9 Dos Santos.
Dos Santos landed a hard right hook to begin round two, before defending a takedown attempt. Dos Santos began to pile on the right hands, and he proceeded to rock St. Denis with a pair of jumping knees. Dos Santos realized his opponent was hurt, and he just began to unload on him with strikes. St. Denis showcased an insane degree of resilience as he was hit by bomb after bomb, but as he stumbled across the cage, barely defending himself, it became clear that this fight should probably be stopped. The one man who felt different was the referee, Vyacheslav Kiselev, and the fight continued despite St. Denis barely holding onto consciousness. Late in the round, St. Denis was able to fire back at the exhausted Dos Santos, landing some hard ones, but this was a tough round to watch. I thought this was a 10-7 round. 20-16 Dos Santos.
St. Denis was poked in the eye early in round three and told the referee that he was unable to see out of that eye. The referee did not bring in a doctor to check on St. Denis and just allowed the fight to continue. Dos Santos hurt St. Denis with a shot as the fight resumed, and he proceeded to take his opponent down. St. Denis was able to escape to his feet, and Dos Santos accidentally caught St. Denis with a low blow against the cage. Kiselev decided to deduct a point from Dos Santos from this, as the commentator’s suggested that Vyacheslav Kiselev should be removed from any other bouts on this card in which he was scheduled to referee. 29-25 Dos Santos.
WINNER: Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos by unanimous decision (29-26 all)
The story of this fight was referee Vyacheslav Kiselev. His decisions throughout this fight were completely unjustifiable, from not stopping the fight in the second round to not bringing in a doctor to check on St. Denis after St. Denis told him that he could not see, to a point deduction to Dos Santos for the mildest of fouls. The commentary team spent the second half of this fight discussing Kiselev’s incompetence, and they were in the right to say that this referee should be removed of his responsibilities for the remainder of the card (which he quickly was). All of that aside, this was a strong performance from Dos Santos, who has been on a “win one, lose one” streak since his seven-fight win streak ended in 2019. He is now 9-3 in the UFC.
ALBERT DURAEV (14-3, 186) VS ROMAN KOPYLOV (8-1, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Duraev was content to stand with Kopylov throughout the first round, working his way inside by throwing short combinations of hooks. Kopylov was landing some good leg kicks, and while this was a close round, I did feel as though he was a step behind Duraev in terms of activity. Late in the round, Kopylov caught a kick from Duraev above his shoulder, and he attempted to take Kopylov down, but Duraev was somehow able to keep his balance, and the round ended on the feet. 10-9 Duraev.
Kopylov connected with a strong straight left hand that sat Duraev down to begin round two, which prompted Duraev to start hunting for a takedown. Kopylov grabbed the cage to stop a takedown, but referee Jason Herzog caught it and restarted them in their prior position, where Duraev was able to complete the takedown. After that last fight, it was nice to see some competent refereeing. Duraev moved into full mount where he began to throw down brutal ground and pound. Eventually, he switched from hammerfists and hooks to heavy elbows, and Kopylov was taking a serious beating here. He managed to make it out of the round, but only just. 20-17 Duraev.
Herzog brought the doctor into the cage to check on Kopylov between rounds, and it was determined that he was fit to continue fighting. Kopylov’s face was a complete mess by this third round. Despite all the damage he sustained in the previous round, Kopylov was still throwing with power, and he landed a shot to the left side of Duraev’s head that clearly broke his orbital. This was a very close round, but I actually thought Kopylov took the final five minutes, ending this fight strongly. 29-27 Duraev.
WINNER: Albert Duraev by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Both fighters took an immense amount of damage in this fight. I was pretty surprised by the 30-27 scorecard, as I really don’t know how you don’t give Duraev a 10-8 for round two. Regardless, Kopylov showcased some serious toughness and resiliency by coming back to win that third round, and so did Duraev by fighting through that brutal (presumed) broke orbital. This marked Duraev’s UFC debut.
RICARDO RAMOS (15-3, 146) VS ZUBAIRA TUKHUGOV (19-5-1, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Tukhugov rocked Ramos with a combination of punches against the cage, cutting Ramos above his left eye. Ramos was getting backed up and hit by some big shots, and he found himself unable to land much in response. The round was definitely going in Tukhugov’s favor, that was until he ran into a vicious spinning elbow from Ramos that sent him on the retreat. Ramos went on the attack late in the round, and while I don’t think he did enough to steal it back, this was a good sign for Ramos. 10-9 Tukhugov.
Tukhugov took back the center of the octagon in round two, pressing forward behind lunging jabs and right hooks. Ramos was doing much better with his counters in this round and seemed to have found more confidence on the feet following that spinning elbow to close the first. Tukhugov was still the more active fighter though, and I thought that was the difference-maker in what was otherwise a very close second round. 20-18 Tukhugov.
The fight continued at an impressive pace in the third round. Both fighters were at their most active throughout the third, working their jabs and occasionally meeting in the pocket to trade hooks. This round was really about as even as it gets, and I certainly had difficulty scoring this one, but I thought Tukhugov did just enough to take this final round. 30-27 Tukhugov.
WINNER: Zubaira Tukhugov by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was another fun fight on these prelims. Each round was close, but Tukhugov’s constant forward pressure did a lot to give him the edge he needed to win this fight. Win or lose, Ramos is always game, and despite losing here tonight, I thought he looked good in defeat with his performance here. Tukhugov looked about as good as I’ve seen him in this fight as well, and earned the hard-fought decision nod. With this win, Tukhugov’s UFC record now stands at 5-2-1.
AMANDA RIBAS (10-2, 115.5) VS VIRNA JANDIROBA (17-2, 116) – STRAWWEIGHT
Both fighters were unsuccessful on their first takedown attempts of the fight. It was Jandiroba who eventually succeeded in bringing the fight to the ground, where she began to work from the guard of Ribas. Ribas attempted what appeared to be an inverted triangle choke, but Jandiroba escaped the submission. Jandiroba was unable to do much from top position, but maintained top control until the final seconds of the round. They were stood up with twenty seconds remaining, and Jandiroba dropped Ribas with a shot before time expired. 10-9 Jandiroba.
Ribas tagged Jandiroba with a right hand to begin round two, and she landed a spinning back kick to the body not long after. This round took place almost entirely on the feet, with Ribas doubling up Jandiroba’s activity throughout these five minutes. Ribas took the second round with that activity, which evened things up on the scorecards. 19-19.
After her success on the feet in round two, Ribas appeared to be content keeping the fight on the feet. Jandiroba had some power behind her punches but was having difficulty finding her range and creating an opening. Ribas rocked Jandiroba badly with a head kick as well as an uppercut in the back half of the round, and while Jandiroba survived the exchange, she was clearly in need of something drastic in order to come back and win this round. That moment didn’t come for Jandiroba, and I scored the fight 29-28 Ribas.
WINNER: Amanda Ribas by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Jandiroba found a lot of success in the first round, but couldn’t replicate it as the fight progressed. She definitely seemed more fatigued than Ribas in the later rounds, and numerous failed takedown attempts contributed heavily to that. Despite perhaps not packing a ton of power, Ribas seemed to have the better fundamentals on the feet, and I thought she showcased impressive cardio here, picking up her activity throughout each round. Ribas improved to 5-1 in the UFC with this win.
MAGOMED ANKALAEV (14-1, 205.5) VS VOLKAN OEZDEMIR (17-5, 205.5) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Oezdemir began to fight aggressively about a minute into the bout, throwing a powerful uppercut before attempting a jumping knee that came very close to connecting with Ankalaev’s head. Ankalaev responded with a heavy hook that quickly caused some swelling beneath the right eye of Oezdemir. Moments later, Ankalaev caught Oezdemir with a straight left hand that dropped him but was unable to capitalize on the moment before Oezdemir recovered. 10-9 Ankalaev.
Ankalaev caught Oezdemir with another left hand early in the second round. About a minute later he grazed Oezdemir with a short right hook that cut Oezdemir open badly above his left eye. Ankalaev took Oezdemir down and wrestled him against the cage for the final minute or so of the round. Oezdemir was unable to get off much offense of his own throughout the second, and would certainly be in need of a finish in round three in order to win this fight. 20-18 Ankalaev.
Oezdemir shot for a takedown that was easily defended by Ankalaev. Oezdemir’s output was very low throughout the round, and it felt as though whenever he attempted to go on the attack, he was countered by Ankalaev, and put back on the retreat. This was another round for Ankalaev, and I score the fight 30-27 in his favor.
WINNER: Magomed Ankalaev by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Oezdemir felt like a different fighter after getting dropped in the first, never fully recovering that confidence and aggression that he began the fight with. Ankalaev is a very talented fighter, and to handle someone like Oezdemir as easily as he did here, speaks a lot to just how good this guy really is. With this win, Ankalaev should be considered a legitimate contender in the division, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees a top-five opponent in his next bout. Just off of the top of my head, Thiago Santos and the loser of this card’s main event would both make for interesting next matchups for Ankalaev, who is now 7-1 in the UFC.
JINGLIANG LI (18-6, 171) VS KHAMZAT CHIMAEV (9-0, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Li swung big immediately, and Chimaev changed levels, carried Li over to the cage, and put him down in front of Dana White. Chimaev worked his way to Li’s back, and he quickly flattened him out, Chimaev began to throw down vicious hooks, before proceeding to lock in a rear-naked choke. LI did an admirable job of fighting the choke, but eventually, Chimaev adjusted the submission and choked Li unconscious.
WINNER: Khamzat Chimaev by rear-naked choke at 3:16 of Round 1
There were a lot of questions going into this fight after Chimaev’s lengthy battle with COVID-19, but once again, Chimaev was able to make it look easy in the octagon, this time against a ranked opponent. Li was ranked 11th in the welterweight division, and despite never fighting a ranked opponent prior to this, and a lengthy lay-off due to COVID, Chimaev was a -600-favourite going into this fight. It feels as though his ceiling is limitless right now, and he almost certainly will be fighting a top ten opponent next. Chimaev is now 4-0 in the UFC and has only taken one strike across all four of those bouts.
ALEXANDER VOLKOV (33-9, 263) VS MARCIN TYBURA (22-6, 249) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Volkov landed a combination of short punches, which Tybura responded to with a heavy right hook. Tybura began to advance, looking for a takedown, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to take Volkov down. Instead, it was Volkov who brought the fight to the ground, where he began to work from half guard. Volkov spent the remainder of the round in this position. 10-9 Volkov.
Tybura continued to search for takedowns, but Volkov continued to defend the attempts with little difficulty. Volkov was landing solid knees up the middle throughout these exchanges, and between those and the failed takedown attempts, Tybura’s gas tank seemed to be emptying. Still, he continued to press forward, and Tybura switched up the strategy from wrestling to boxing as the round progressed. This was a very close round, but I gave the edge to Tybura. 19-19.
Volkov defended yet another takedown to begin round three, and he was well into the double digits for takedowns defended by this point in the fight. Volkov was timing his counters well in this round, and Tybura was beginning to fall behind on the strike count. Volkov really picked up his volume offensively in this final round, connecting with some sharp combinations, that were often started by hard uppercuts. The fight went the distance and I scored it 29-28 in favour of Alexander Volkov.
WINNER: Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
This was hardly Volkov’s best performance, but his takedown defense was impressive, and he did enough to get the decision nod. Tybura’s game plan was very ineffective, not securing a single takedown throughout the fight. He had more success while boxing with Volkov, but even then, he was getting cracked by combinations of punches in the pocket. All in all, not a fantastic fight, but a much-needed win for Volkov after his recent loss to Ciryl Gane.
ISLAM MAKHACHEV (20-1, 155.5) VS DAN HOOKER (21-10, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Makhachev took Hooker down after Hooker threw a leg kick, where he began to work from half guard. Makhachev began to hunt for a kimura from side control, and he locked it in immediately, forcing Hooker to submit.
WINNER: Islam Makhachev by kimura at 2:25 of Round 1
All it took was one mistake from Hooker, and Makhachev immediately capitalized. Hooker knew exactly what Makhachev was working for once he started working from side control, and was still unable to stop him. It was an extremely impressive performance, especially when you take into account that this was really the first high-ranked fighter Makhachev has been in there with. He called for a title shot in his post-fight interview, and I actually think that there is a fairly good chance that he gets that fight next. At the very least, his next fight will almost certainly be against a top-five opponent, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as the betting favorite no matter who is on the other side of the cage.
PETR YAN (15-2, 135) VS CORY SANDHAGEN (14-3, 135) – UFC INTERIM BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Sandhagen was the busier fighter in this opening round. He was constantly throwing kicks to the legs and body while circling away from Yan, who was slowly marching forward. Both fighters were constantly switching stances, and throwing out plenty of feints for the other to think about. Yan defended a takedown and landed a short right hand to end the round. 10-9 Sandhagen.
Both fighters continued to attack the body in the second round. Yan was beginning to fire with more power, really loading up on some heavy counters. Yan’s kicks to the legs and body were beginning to add up as well. That being said, Sandhagen was not backing down at all, as he continued to dig into the body and throw powerful combinations up top. Yan connected with a spinning back fist at one point and was able to defend a pair of takedown attempts from Sandhagen as well. Close round. 19-19.
Sandhagen caught Yan off balance with a counter left early in round three. Sandhagen had not slowed down in the slightest despite his constant activity. Whenever Yan landed a good one, Sandhagen was immediately returning fire to make up ground. This was a very high-level striking match. In the final minute of the round, Yan threw a spinning back fist, and followed it up with a hard left hand that knocked Sandhagen down. Yan pounced on him, in search of the finish, but Sandhagen defended himself well and made it out of the round. 29-28 Yan.
It felt as though Yan was pulling ahead in this fight by round four. Sandhagen was having difficulties circling away from Yan like he was in the first and eventually decided to change levels in an attempt to bring the fight to the ground. He took Yan down, but Yan popped right back up and began to pick up the aggression in pursuit of a finish. Yan was walking Sandhagen down, landing numerous shots, and successfully defended Sandhagen’s attempts to take him down. 39-37 Yan.
The two fighters had a tense staredown as they got up from their stools. Sandhagen’s corner told him that he needed this round to win the fight, but in all likelihood, he was actually in need of a finish here. Sandhagen defended a takedown attempt, however, he ate a strong hook as they broke from the clinch. Yan landed a head kick that Sandhagen just absorbed. This was a very close round, but once again, I gave the edge to Yan, who landed a spinning wheel kick to end the round. 49-46 Yan.
WINNER: Petr Yan by unanimous decision (49-46 all) to win the Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship
This was a very good fight. Petr Yan is a fighter who typically starts slow, and as the fight goes on, he picks up the pace, eventually overwhelming his opponent. He didn’t finish Sandhagen here, but that was exactly how this fight went, with Yan really taking over as this fight progressed. Sandhagen put up a great fight here, but Yan was the better fighter, and it seems as though a rematch with Aljamain Sterling will be next for Yan. Yan will be heavily favored going into that one, but with all the drama surrounding their first fight, I think there will be a lot of attention on that one regardless of the odds. For Sandhagen, he now has losses on his record to the three highest-ranked fighters in the division, Sterling, Yan, and T.J. Dillashaw. That puts him in a difficult position, but I think he was more than competitive enough against Yan and Dillashaw that he could create interest in those rematches down the line. As for Sandhagen’s next opponent, I think the winner of Rob Font and Jose Aldo would be a sensible direction to go in.
JAN BLACHOWICZ (28-8, 205) VS GLOVER TEIXEIRA (32-7, 205) – UFC LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Błachowicz opened up with a pair of leg kicks. Teixeira changed levels and took Błachowicz down, where he began to work from the champion’s guard. Teixeira was unable to advance but threw down numerous short elbows from top position. Błachowicz was unable to escape from bottom position, and Teixeira took this opening round.
Błachowicz was more active on his feet to begin round two and defended an early trio of takedown attempts from Teixeira. Glover landed a heavy left hook, causing Błachowicz to stumble, and after a heavy exchange of punches in the pocket, Teixeira was able to take Błachowicz back down after Błachowicz bizarrely attempted a kimura sweep. Glover transitioned to full mount quickly and forced Błachowicz to give up his back. Teixeira flattened Błachowicz out, locked in a tight squeeze around the jaw of Błachowicz, and the champion quickly tapped out.
WINNER: Glover Teixeira by rear-naked choke at 3:02 of Round 2 to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Seeing Glover Teixeira, at 42 years of age, with a big smile on his face as the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship was wrapped around his waist, was an all-time feel-good moment in the sport. Jan Błachowicz has really improved his wrestling over the years, but he was clearly still a step behind Teixeira, who has been on a streak of wins in which he’s just been steamrolling his opponents on the ground. Błachowicz made some strange decisions towards the end of this fight, but to be fair to him, he may have still been significantly hurt from that heavy left hook that Glover caught him with. Either way, nearly twenty years into his MMA career, Glover Teixeira is a world champion, and there are no easy opponents on the horizon for him. Jiří Procházka appears to be next in line for a shot at the title, and Teixeira suggested doing that fight in May. For Jan Błachowicz, this was a tough loss, but the former champion is still in a great position in the division. There are many fresh matchups for Błachowicz against highly ranked opponents, and I’m sure Błachowicz would be open to running it back against Thiago Santos as well.