Glover Teixeira will enter the cage on a 17-fight winning streak. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Quinton Jackson (32-10, 7-4 UFC) vs. Glover Teixeira (19-2, 2-0 UFC)
The Matchup: The Jackson that showed up at UFC 144 did not look like a fighter worthy of a prominent position on a future Fox broadcast. Overweight, injured and disinterested, “Rampage” was lackluster in dropping a unanimous decision to Ryan Bader in Japan, where he was once revered during his Pride Fighting Championships heyday. Bader controlled the bout with clinch work, takedowns and ground-and-pound, raising plenty of questions regarding Jackson’s long-term future in the Octagon.
The former light heavyweight champion did not help himself afterward, as he blasted UFC brass and matchmaker Joe Silva, claiming he was not shown the proper appreciation he deserved for going through with the fight while nursing an injured knee. As far as anyone knows, Jackson has just this bout remaining on his current UFC deal, and it appears the promotion is hoping to use the “Rampage” name as a springboard for the career of the promising Teixeira, who has been frighteningly dominant in two abbreviated Octagon outings.
Teixeira has piled up all sorts of gaudy statistics in dispatching Kyle Kingsbury and Fabio Maldonado, with the latter bout earning Sherdog.com’s 2012 “Beatdown of the Year” award. In those two victories, the Brazilian out-landed his foes by a whopping ratio of 8-to-1 significant strikes per minute, and he has shown equal proficiency attacking with aggressive power shots on the feet and heavy ground-and-pound on the mat.
Teixiera’s dominance comes with one disclaimer: Maldonado and Kingsbury have been prone to absorbing large quantities of punishment during their UFC tenures, so Teixeira’s efforts against them are not especially unique. Still, the 33-year-old has ripped through nearly everyone he has faced, and he will carry a 17-fight winning streak into his showdown with Jackson.
The direction of this fight will hinge on the motivation and conditioning of “Rampage.” If he is sufficiently interested and in shape, Jackson’s one-shot knockout power, strength and solid defensive wrestling will pose a worthwhile challenge for Teixeira. If he looks anything like he did against Bader, Teixeira’s ascent up the divisional ranks will continue with little resistance.
Expect the Brazilian to test his opponent by launching heavy hooks and uppercuts in the bout’s opening moments. This is where it is important for Jackson to use his fundamental boxing to become the aggressor. Although the Pride veteran is one of the division’s best counterpunchers, he risks eating several punches per exchange while waiting for the right opportunity to headhunt.
Jackson’s chin is durable -- he has not been knocked out since 2005 -- but he can easily lose rounds if Teixeira lands with the volume and precision he has in previous bouts. The Memphis, Tenn., native can wear out swinging for a home run knockout, and that is when Teixiera can shift gears with takedowns and ground-and-pound. The Nova Uniao member is brutal with punches and elbows from top position, as he landed something in the neighborhood of 100 unanswered strikes against Maldonado. That is why it is paramount for Jackson to find the right range for his dangerous right hand; expending too much energy will leave him vulnerable. Teixiera can also slow Jackson’s movement by making judicial use of leg kicks, long a weakness of the B.A. Baracus impersonator.
The Pick: Whether it is his farewell showing or not, Jackson will give a spirited effort in front of a national television audience. However, it has become clear that he is not the fighter he was during his Pride and early UFC days. With more weapons at his disposal, Teixeira wears down his foe and wins via third-round submission.
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