Those who were ready to bury Glover Teixeira as a legitimate contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight division might want to reconsider their position.
Teixeira snapped a two-fight losing streak, as he rendered Ovince St. Preux unconscious with a third-round rear-naked choke in the UFC Fight Night “Teixeira vs. St. Preux” main event on Saturday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. Referee John McCarthy stepped in to save the limp and unresponsive St. Preux 3:10 into round three.
A former Shooto Americas champion, Teixeira spent much of the fight exposing what remains a serious weakness for St. Preux: takedown defense. According to preliminary FightMetric data, the Brazilian completed five of his nine takedown attempts, passed guard 11 times and landed 71 percent of his 53 significant strikes on the ground. While equals on the feet, there was no doubt about who was superior once the action spilled onto the canvas.
In wake of UFC Fight Night “Teixeira vs. St. Preux,” here are six matchups that ought to be considered:
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Glover Teixeira vs. Anthony Johnson-Jimi Manuwa winner: Back-to-back losses to Jon Jones and Phil Davis had some questioning whether or not there was room for Teixeira at the light heavyweight table. He erased those doubts by systematically dismantling St. Preux, a freakish athlete who could stand to smooth some of his rough edges. Teixeira countered kicks with takedowns, assumed top position and let his grappling skills do the rest. He gradually wore down St. Preux, who was ripe for the picking when they hit the mat for the final time in the third round. Johnson and Manuwa will lock horns at UFC 191 on Sept. 5.
Beneil Dariush vs. Al Iaquinta: The beneficiary of a widely panned split decision against Blackzilians export Michael Johnson in the co-headliner, Dariush was gracious in victory even as the boo-birds howled across the arena. The Kings MMA lightweight had issues with Johnson’s speed and output through much of the first two rounds and appeared to need a finish entering the third. Johnson cruised through the last five minutes, allowing Dariush to enjoy some success on the feet and to build some rapport with the judges. Still, when the verdict was announced, everyone, including Dariush, seemed stunned. Nevertheless, he will carry a five-fight winning streak into his next appearance. Serra-Longo Fight Team’s Iaquinta picked up a controversial split decision over Jorge Masvidal on April 5.
Derek Brunson vs. Gegard Mousasi-Roan Carneiro winner: Brunson played with fire and did not get burned. The surging Strikeforce veteran blasted through Sam Alvey with punches, scoring the technical knockout 2:19 into round one. A wrestler by trade, Brunson engaged the former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder in the clinch and at range. The strategy paid off for the 31-year-old North Carolinian, as he put his 10th first-round finish in the books. Mousasi and Carneiro will do battle under the UFC Fight Night banner on Sept. 27 in Japan.
Amanda Nunes vs. Jessica Eye-Julianna Pena winner: Nunes was dazzling against Sara McMann, as she secured the most significant victory of her career with a rear-naked choke submission on the 2004 Olympic silver medalist. The American Top Team standout drove McMann to the canvas with punches in the first round, transitioned to the back and cinched the choke for the tapout. Nunes, 27, has won four of her past five bouts, losing only to Cat Zingano in that span. Eye and Pena will square off at UFC 192 on Oct. 3 in Houston.
Ray Borg vs. Kyoji Horiguchi-Chico Camus winner: Full of promise and ability, Borg claimed a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Geane Herrera in their three-round flyweight showcase. The 22-year-old Fit NHB prospect has the look of a future title contender at 125 pounds, and, in a division in dire need of some new blood at the top, he could conceivably be a win or two away from such an opportunity. Horiguchi and Camus will partake in the UFC Fight Night “Barnett vs. Nelson” event on Sept. 27 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Anthony Johnson-Jimi Manuwa loser: St. Preux’s physical gifts are undeniable, as are the holes in his game. The 32-year-old former University of Tennessee football player yielded takedown after takedown to the aforementioned Teixeira, absorbed a beating on the ground and ultimately left himself open to the fight-ending choke in the third round. The defeat cost St. Preux valuable momentum he had built up in consecutive first-round knockouts against Patrick Cummins and former UFC light heavyweight titleholder Mauricio Rua. Johnson and Manuwa will face off as part of the UFC 191 card on Sept. 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.