The Film Room: Glover Teixeira

By Kevin Wilson Sep 12, 2019
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Former title challenger Glover Teixeira will take to the Octagon for the third time in 2019 when he meets Nikita Krylov in the UFC Fight Night 158 co-main event on Saturday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Brazilian has spent the last two years as a gatekeeper at 205 pounds, with the Ultimate Fighting Championship throwing young talents like Misha Cirkunov and Ion Cutelaba his way. He has prevailed more often than not.

Teixeira steps into the spotlight in this installment of The Film Room.

Despite turning into more of a striker since he joined the UFC in 2012, Teixeira remains one of the most able grapplers in the UFC today. He is a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Luigi Mondelli and is a two-time medalist at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships, having struck gold in 2009. However, Teixeira suffers from weakness that plagues many jiu-jitsu players when they transition to MMA: a lack of takedown setups and creative entries. He is still good enough to get the majority of his opponents down eventually, but he generally just reaches for single-legs with no setup strikes or tricky entries. Krylov is one of the fastest and strongest fighters in the division, and Teixeira cannot trap him against the fence, he could have a difficult time executing takedowns in the center of the cage. Krylov throws lots of kicks, and the Brazilian has proven to be adept at catching them and transitioning to a single-leg, which might be his best chance at getting the fight to the ground.

Once the fight hits the mat, Teixeira offers the perfect mix of knowing when to pass guard, when to posture up and strike and when to slow down and look for submissions. He generally looks to lock down the opponent’s head and use chest-on-chest pressure to slide into mount. However, he will not spend all of his time on the ground trying to pass. If the first few attempts fail, he will look for strikes to open up opponents, and if they try to scramble, he can look for submissions.

Teixeira likes to pass into full mount before unloading with ground-and-pound, but he also knows he can sometimes simply posture up in half guard or full guard and land heavy blows. Most of his TKO victories have come from ground-and-pound, and when opponents become flustered from the pressure, they leave themselves open for submissions.

Despite only having eight submission wins on his resume, Teixeira’s best chance at victory always centers on his jiu-jitsu, and seems to have realized this reality while he has aged, as he has spent much less time standing and trading with opponents. His most recent wins over Cutelaba and Karl Roberson were two of the finest performances of his career. Against Roberson, he wasted no time getting the fight to the ground and finished him with an arm-triangle in under four minutes. With Cutelaba, he was hurt early but recovered well in the second round, went back to his grappling and submitted him with a rear-naked choke. Teixeira could extend his career by taking the Demian Maia route, completely dropping his striking and using his two decades of grappling experience to tap the young guns the UFC continues to throw at him.

Early in his UFC career, Teixeira had the power, chin, aggression and complementary grappling to outstrike most opponents. These days, he is much slower and looks a bit chinny, which is why following Maia’s lead would be his best course of action. Looking back at his career, it is amazing that he had any striking success at all, despite being marketed as Chuck Liddell’s prodigy. He throws the same overhand right-lead hook combo over and over again but somehow finds success with it. However, this does not work at the highest levels, and Teixeira has never been able to beat the light heavyweight division’s elite. He will occasionally throw an uppercut or kick, but he usually gets stuck throwing the overhand right-lead hook combo.

This predictability on the feet has kept Teixeira from reaching the top of the division, as technicians like Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson easily exploited his tendencies. This is an interesting matchup. Krylov clearly has the advantage on the feet but can get overaggressive and leave his hips open for takedowns, and Teixeira can finish anybody on the ground. Krylov also throws more kicks than punches, and if he gets lazy with them, the Brazilian will make him pay with a single-leg. Perhaps Teixeira will trade in his violent tendencies for a more cerebral approach. If not, Krylov could be the man who dominates him on the feet and sends him into retirement. Advertisement


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