If this was a crossroads fight for Glover Teixeira, he went the right way.
Teixeira knocked out former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder Rashad Evans in the first round of their UFC on Fox 19 headliner on Saturday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. A replacement for the injured Mauricio Rua, Teixeira (25-4, 8-2 UFC) drew the curtain 1:48 into round one and joined Lyoto Machida as the only men to finish Evans in his 25-fight career.
Evans (19-5-1, 14-5-1 UFC) was forced into a constant backpedal by the Brazilian’s relentless forward movement. Teixeira corralled him on the cage, dropped him to his knees with a left hook and then knocked the Blackzilians cornerstone unconscious with a right uppercut.
Teixeira, 36, has rattled off three straight wins. Evans, meanwhile, has not recorded a victory since his decision over Chael Sonnen in November 2013.
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Namajunas Avenges Torres Loss
In the co-main event, Grudge Training Center’s Rose Namajunas took another step toward a potential shot at the women’s strawweight championship with a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Tecia Torres. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Namajunas (5-2, 3-1 UFC), as she avenged a 2013 defeat to “The Tiny Tornado” under the Invicta Fighting Championships banner.
Torres (7-1, 3-1 UFC) beat “The Ultimate Fighter 20” finalist to the punch in the first round -- she clipped her with a left hook in the clinch that buckled her knees -- but could not sustain her momentum. Namajunas established herself in the second, where she stood up the American Top Team export with stiff punches upstairs and struck effectively in combination. A hotly contested third round saw Torres turn to leg kicks while Namajunas landed the cleaner shots and mixed in a tactical takedown in the final minute.
Namajunas will carry a three-fight winning streak into her next appearance, perhaps against the winner of the forthcoming rematch between strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha.
Nurmagomedov Dominates in Return
The unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov blew away onetime Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Darrell Horcher with second-round punches in their featured lightweight clash. A short-notice fill-in for the injured Tony Ferguson, Horcher (12-2, 0-1 UFC) withered 3:38 into round two.
Nurmagomedov (23-0, 7-0 UFC), in his first appearance in nearly two years, executed a high-amplitude takedown in the first round, passed guard and sliced away with elbows before achieving full mount. The bell saved Horcher from being finished, but it only prolonged the inevitable. Nurmagomedov secured another takedown inside the first minute of round two, unleashed punches from the mounted crucifix position and climbed to the back. From there, the 27-year-old battered Horcher with unanswered lefts and rights, forcing referee James Warring to step in.
Afterward, Nurmagomedov called for a rematch with lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos -- a man he defeated by unanimous decision in April 2014.
Swanson Bests Fellow Contender Dias
Jackson-Wink MMA mainstay Cub Swanson rebounded from back-to-back losses to Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway, as he captured a unanimous decision from Hacran Dias in a three-round featherweight showcase. Swanson (22-7, 7-3 UFC) swept the scorecards with identical 29-28 marks from all three judges.
Dias (23-4-1, 3-3 UFC) found some success with leg kicks and a few overhand rights but could not match his opponent’s skill in the standup department. Swanson knocked down the Nova Uniao rep with a left hook in the second round and dropped him with a head kick in the third. In the exchanges in between, he mixed a stinging jab with low kicks and some clandestine work to the body that had its desired effect.
The loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for Dias.