What a week for Glover Teixeira. The Danbury, Conn., native by way of Brazil celebrated his 42nd birthday Thursday, then Saturday went out and became UFC light heavyweight champion.
Teixeira stunned the mixed martial arts world by submitting Poland’s Jan Blachowicz to claim the title in the main event of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi. Teixeira (33-7) earned the tapout at the 3:02 mark of the second round and became the second-oldest fighter in UFC history to win a championship.
“Twenty years, baby, 20,” Teixeira said. “I have no words to describe (this). Never give up on your dreams.”
A world class-grappler, Teixeira worked his foe from the beginning. He scored a takedown in the first round, but couldn’t get into position to work a submission. In the second, however, he wobbled Blachowicz (28-9) with a left hook, wrestled him to the mat, used ground-and-pound strikes, and got a near-immediate surrender after sinking in the choke.
Teixeira won his sixth straight fight and is second only to Randy Couture, who was 43 when he won the heavyweight title in 2007, for oldest fighter to win a UFC belt.
The co-feature bout was a fantastic battle for an interim bantamweight championship between Russia’s Petr Yan (16-2) and Colorado’s Cory Sandhagen.
This was high-level striking at its finest, a chess match of flurries and counters. Sandhagen (14-4) got off to a fast start with a varied mix which kept Yan guessing. But Yan is a hard-hitting power punch, and after losing the first round, he picked up the pace in the second and turned it up in the third. A spinning back fist that landed flush and dropped Sandhagen was the turning point. From there, Yan dictated the tempo and earned a unanimous decision on scores of 49-46 across the board.
Yan lost the bantamweight title via disqualification to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259. Yan was slated to rematch Sterling on this card but Sterling withdrew, leading to this interim title bout.
–Field Level Media