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Matches to Make After UFC 267


Father Time stared into Glover Teixeira’s eyes—and blinked.

The 42-year-old Brazilian defied the odds and quieted his detractors once more, as he submitted Jan Blachowicz in the second round of their UFC 267 main event and captured the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title on Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Blachowicz conceded defeat 3:02 into Round 2, becoming the first sitting champion at 205 pounds to ever surrender the throne via submission.

Teixeira set the stage for his upset with a one-sided first period, where he took down the WCA Fight Team rep and consolidated his efforts with stifling control and effective ground-and-pound. Blachowicz managed to string some punches together early in Round 2 but staggered on the end of a clubbing left hook from the challenger and ultimately gave up another takedown. Teixeira advanced to full mount, transitioned to the back, flattened out the fading champion and cut loose with punches before cinching the choke for the tapout.

In the aftermath of UFC 267 “Blachowicz vs. Teixeira,” here are five matches that ought to be made:

Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka: Teixeira completed his unlikely climb to the top of the light heavyweight mountain with his sixth consecutive victory, his late-career renaissance in full bloom. He can savor his conquest for now, but serious obstacles loom in the not-too-distant future. Already established as one of the sport’s most violent and entertaining contenders at 205 pounds, Prochazka finds himself on a 12-fight winning streak that features 11 finishes. He last appeared at UFC on ESPN 23, where he brought down Dominick Reyes with a spinning back elbow in the second round of their May 1 headliner. Prochazka, 29, has not tasted defeat since Dec. 31, 2015.

Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling: A little less than eight months after a lapse in judgment cost him the undisputed bantamweight crown in a disqualification loss to Sterling, Yan laid claim to the interim 135-pound title with a unanimous decision over Cory Sandhangen in the five-round co-feature. All three cageside judges scored it 49-46. Yan overcame his customary slow start to overwhelm the Elevation Fight Team standout with pace, pressure and efficient output. He connected on 55% of his significant strikes and authored the defining moment of the match when he floored Sandhagen with a spinning backfist-left hook combination in the third round. Sterling has not competed since being awarded the aforementioned disqualification on March 6.

Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira-Dustin Poirier winner: Makhachev has emerged as a clear-and-present danger to any and all who call the lightweight division home. The methodical 30-year-old Russian sambo stylist wrecked Dan Hooker and continued his climb toward contention, as he submitted the City Kickboxing star with a kimura in the first round of their hotly anticipated showcase. Hooker bowed out 2:25 into round 1, having encountered a man who was leagues ahead of him. Makhachev now sports a 20-1 record—more than 2,000 days have passed since he suffered his lone professional setback—and will ride a nine-fight winning streak into his next assignment. Oliveira will defend the undisputed lightweight crown against Poirier in the UFC 269 main event on Dec. 11.

Khamzat Chimaev vs. Vicente Luque: There appears to be quite a bit of substance behind the hype surrounding Chimaev. The undefeated Allstars Training Center export improved to 10-0 and barely broke a sweat while doing so, as he put Jingliang Li to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their welterweight feature. Li refused to raise the white flag but lost consciousness 3:16 into Round 1. Chimaev, 27, has finished all 10 of his opponents, seven of them inside one round. Few stars in the sport are burning any brighter. Luque has rattled off 10 wins in 11 outings, including four in a row. The 29-year-old Cerrado MMA representative last fought at UFC 265, where he submitted “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 winner Michael Chiesa with a first-round brabo choke on Aug. 7.

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Thiago Santos: The surging Ankalaev exploited discernible speed and skill advantages, as he outstruck Volkan Oezdemir to a unanimous decision in pivotal light heavyweight battle. Scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, all for the Gorets Fight Team standout. Oezdemir was a step or two behind the sambo stylist for a majority of their three-round encounter. Ankalaev battered him with jabs, decked him with a left cross in the first round and opened a gash on his left eyebrow with a right hook in the second. By the time it was over, he had outlanded Oezdemir by a 66-48 margin in significant strikes. Santos last appeared on Oct. 2, when he slammed the door on a three-fight losing streak and took a five-round unanimous decision from Johnny Walker in the UFC Fight Night 193 main event.
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