Glover Teixeira won his 20th straight. | Photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
The light heavyweight division may have its next title contender.
Glover Teixeira notched his 20th consecutive victory in the UFC Fight Night 28 headliner on Wednesday night at the Jornalista Felipe Drumond Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, stopping Ryan Bader with strikes 2:55 into the opening round of their light heavyweight showdown. The triumph did not come without a momentary scare, however, as Bader briefly dropped the Brazilian with a left hand and rushed in to finish.
It was only a matter of time before Teixeira (22-2, 5-0 UFC) responded.
“As he knocked me down, I knew he was going to come with his guard open because he was going to try to submit me,” Teixeira said. “That’s the opportunity I used … that’s why I was able to end the fight.”
With his back against the fence, the Chuck Liddell protégé appeared to be in peril as Bader (15-4, 8-4 UFC) fired off an uppercut and two overhand rights after failing on a guillotine attempt. The Brazilian answered with a two-punch combination of his own that dropped the former Arizona State University wrestling star, and from there it was academic. Sensing the end was near, Teixeira pounded his foe with right hands until referee Herb Dean called a halt to the bout.
UFC President Dana White recently said that an impressive victory over Bader might net Teixeira a shot at the winner of the upcoming title tilt between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson on Sept. 21. Even if Teixeira did prove himself to be the next No. 1 contender, he still believes there is room for improvement.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t happy with this fight. It disappointed me that he was able to knock me down,” he said. “I’m telling you, this belt is gonna be mine. It doesn’t matter if it’s Jon Jones or if it’s Gustafsson, it’s mine.”
Jacare’ Dominates Okami, Earns First-Round TKO
The co-main event showdown between Ronaldo Souza and Yushin Okami was expected to be a competitive bout with serious 185-pound title implications. As it turned out, those prognostications were only half true.
With one massive overhand right, “Jacare” cemented his place as one of the world’s top middleweights, earning a first-round technical knockout over Okami, a former title challenger and Top 10 staple. The end came 2:47 into the frame.
“Yes, I have a very tough right hand,” said Souza, who captured just the second knockout victory of his professional career.
The former Strikeforce titlist established that right hand earlier in round one as well, hurting Okami with an overhand after exiting the clinch. Referee Leon Roberts gave the Japanese standout a long leash as Souza pounded away with left hands in hopes of a stoppage. While Okami was able to recover, it only delayed his demise.
The Brazilian dropped Okami with another overhand right, and this time Souza was able to finalize the victory with furious ground-and-pound as his opponent clung to his leg. The X-Gym representative has now won five straight bouts since he dropped the Strikeforce middleweight strap to Luke Rockhold in September 2011.
Benavidez Overwhelms ‘Formiga’ for Third Straight Victory
If his bout against Jussier da Silva was an audition for a return date with reigning flyweight king Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez certainly stated his case in impressive fashion.
In a bout contested entirely on the feet, Benavidez (19-3, 6-1) dropped “Formiga” with a two-punch combination to the head followed by a knee to the body. With his opponent face down on the canvas, Benavidez hammered away with a series of unanswered right hands until referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in on da Silva’s behalf, bring a halt to the bout 3:07 into round one.
The Team Alpha Male product never had to test his submission defense against da Silva, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt once regarded as the top 125-pound talent in the world.
“I landed a good shot and a good knee to the body that hurt him as well, and I had to finish him off,” Benavidez said.
The Las Cruces, N.M., native improved to 3-0 thus far in 2013, adding his finish of da Silva to earlier victories over Ian McCall and Darren Uyenoyama. Still, the WEC veteran refused to demand another chance at championship gold.
“I’m not the type to bark for a title shot,” he said. “I’m just trying to get better every day, but I think I’ve proven I can beat and finish the top guys in the division.”
Hallmann Survives Body Kicks, Submits Trinaldo
Piotr Hallmann made his first UFC appearance a memorable one, submitting Francisco Trinaldo with a kimura 3:50 into the second round of their lightweight encounter to earn his 10th consecutive victory.
For a round, Trinaldo (13-3, 3-2 UFC) did his best to give the Pole a rude welcome to the promotion, as he punished Hallmann repeatedly with left kicks to the body, one of which dropped his opponent. The Brazilian was unable to finish, however, and Hallmann (14-1, 1-0 UFC) was able to capitalize when fatigue took over in round two.
A failed double leg against the fence expended whatever energy Trinaldo had left, and Hallmann responded by landing elbows from top position. From there, the Polish lightweight framed a kimura, passing from half guard to side control and eventually stepping over his adversary’s head, giving Trinaldo no choice but to ask out of the fight.
Natal Outpoints ‘TUF 17’ Alum Troeng
Rafael Natal keeps finding ways to win. Relying on heavy hands and an active top game, the Brazilian took a unanimous verdict (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Tor Troeng in a featured middleweight bout, his fifth UFC triumph in his last six outings.
While the bout featured its share of back-and-forth grappling exchanges, it was Natal’s (17-4-1, 5-2-1 UFC) power that proved to be the difference. “Sapo” dropped his Swedish opponent with punches in both the first and second rounds and appeared to on the verge of earning a stoppage in the second stanza with a furious barrage of
punches and hammerfists on the mat.
Troeng (16-5-1, 1-1 UFC) was plenty resilient, however, as he maintained his composure enough survive the assault and eventually take Natal’s back.
Having spent a considerable amount of energy looking for the finish, Natal’s pace slowed in round three, but he was still able to finish the contest in top position to clinch the victory.
Debuting Bagautinov Blasts Pancini
Ali Bagautinov enjoyed a spectacular Octagon debut, knocking out “Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” alum Marcos Vinicius Borges Pancini with a thunderous straight right and follow-up standing to ground strikes. The end came 3:28 into the final frame of the flyweight bout and was the Russian sambo specialist’s third consecutive victory by knockout or technical knockout.
Bagautinov (11-2, 1-0 UFC) lived up to his explosive reputation in round one, dropping Pancini (20-5-1, 1-2 UFC) with a big punch against the fence and swarming for the finish on the ground.
While Pancini would ultimately survive that initial assault, he was unable to avoid his opponent’s power in the decisive final frame.
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