In the early moments of their featured light heavyweight contest, Glover Teixeira looked out of his depth against Misha Cirkunov at UFC on Fox 26.
The 30-year-old Latvian pressed the action on the feet, mixing in his kicks and punches to keep Teixeira on his heels. The success was short lived, however, as the 38-year-old Brazilian secured a takedown about two minutes in and quickly transitioned to a rear-naked choke. While Cirkunov was able to defend the choke, he went belly down, allowing his opponent to posture up and unload with punches from back mount.
A flattened Cirkunov appeared to be helpless at that point, and Teixeira earned a relatively easy stoppage at the 2:45 mark.
“I think people underestimate my jiu-jitsu and wrestling because they know I have the knockout power but grappling is a real passion for me,” Teixeira said. “So, once I grabbed him, I was able to take the top position and flatten him out.”
While Teixeira was outlanded during the brief exchanges on the feet, he says was never felt truly threatened in the early going.
“I felt his punches and I didn’t think much of the power,” Teixeira said. “There was a good one that stunned me a bit but nothing too serious.”
Teixeira has alternated wins and losses in his last four bouts, falling to former title challengers Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson via knockout. Teixeira came up short in a title bid of his own in April 2014, losing a five-round decision to Jon Jones at UFC 172.
By dispatching Cirkunov, the Teixeira showed he still has plenty left in the tank. He is hoping that his performance could warrant a 205-pound title shot in 2018. Reigning champion Daniel Cormier is slated to defend his belt against breakout star Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220 in Boston on Jan. 20.
Next, I want Cormier. I am the next in line for whoever wins that fight,” Teixeira said. “If Gustafsson wasn’t injured, he would be the next in line, but I am the one here and I’ll be ready for whoever wins the fight between Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir.”