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Glover Teixeira will get one more shot at the brass ring.
Now north of 40 years of age and clearly in the sunset stage of his outstanding career, Teixeira will challenge Jan Blachowicz for the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title in the UFC 267 main event on Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Brazilian enters the cage on the strength of a five-fight winning streak that includes four finishes. Teixeira, who turns 42 on Thursday, last competed at UFC on ESPN 17, where he submitted Thiago Santos with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their Nov. 7 pairing.
As Teixeira moves ever closer to his confrontation with Blachowicz, a look at some of the rivalries by which he has charted his course through the sport:
Utilizing a multi-pronged standup attack and devastating clinch game, “Bones” beat on Teixeira for five rounds and retained the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight crown with a unanimous decision in the UFC 172 headliner on April 26, 2014 at the Baltimore Arena. The incomparable Jones carried all three scorecards with 50-45 marks. Outside of a few exchanges, Teixeira did not make much headway against the champion. Jones scored with a variety of techniques, from axe kicks, oblique kicks and spinning back kicks to jabs, hooks and uppercuts. He was at his best in close quarters, where he waded through heavy fire and tore into the Brazilian with slashing standing elbows. One of them resulted in a horrific diagonal gash above Teixeira’s right eye. The wound plagued the challenger throughout much of the fight. Jones secured takedowns in the first and fourth rounds but did the majority of his work on the feet, proving once again that he remains in a league of his own at 205 pounds.
Teixeira rebounded from back-to-back defeats to Jones and Phil Davis, as he put “OSP” to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 73 main event on Aug. 8, 2015 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. St. Preux lost consciousness 3:10 into Round 3, his modest two-fight winning streak at an end. Takedowns, ground-and-pound and deft topside grappling buoyed Teixeira, who weathered a first-round liver kick from the former University of Tennessee linebacker. He took down and mounted St. Preux in the first and third frames, chipping away with punches, hammerfists, elbows and forearm strikes. Teixeira completed the last of his takedowns inside the first minute of Round 3, worked to mount, forced the Immokalee, Florida, native to surrender his back and locked in the choke. It was the first submission loss of St. Preux’s career.
Gustafsson showed once again he could swim in the deep waters of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division, as the Swede dispatched Teixeira with a volley of uppercuts and a right hook in the fifth round of their UFC Fight Night 109 headliner on May 28, 2017 at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. Teixeira bit the dust 67 seconds into Round 5, the crowd roaring its approval for its beloved native son. It was never competitive. Gustafsson picked apart the former Shooto Brazil champion from the outside, smashing him with power punches and standing elbows. Teixeira was rocked on more than one occasion and fought on despite being battered and bloodied. The right uppercut was the weapon of choice for Gustafsson, who routinely snapped back his counterpart’s head with the punch. Early in the fifth round, he fired off three of them in succession. All three landed and had Teixeira on unsteady footing. A clean right hook from “The Mauler” sent the Brazilian crashing to the canvas.
Vintage Teixeira will always be a sight to behold. The former Shooto Brazil titleholder weathered serious adversity and continued his unlikely resurgence in the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight division, as he dispatched Smith with punches in the fifth round of their UFC Fight Night 171 main event on May 13, 2020 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. “Lionheart” met his end 64 seconds into Round 5, having absorbed the kind of beating that can shave years off of a career. Not all went according to plan for Teixeira. Smith pushed a ridiculous pace through two rounds, had the Brazilian in trouble more than once and connected with an overhand right that had Teixeira’s left eye on the verge of swelling shut. However, the output proved unsustainable. As fatigue set in, Teixeira seized control. He forced Smith into survival mode in the third round, where he followed a right uppercut at close range with a sweeping left hook that floored the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder at the base of the cage. Teixeira swarmed for a finish, achieved full mount and hammered away with ground-and-pound for what felt like an eternity. Round 4 offered more of the same. Teixeira cut loose with a volley of uppercuts, forced the Factory X rep to dive on a takedown out of desperation and assumed top position, at which point the abuse continued to an uncomfortable degree. Smith was a shell of himself by the time the fifth round was underway. Teixeira ducked in for a takedown, moved to full mount and let go with punches to prompt the stoppage.