Glover Teixeira continued to roll back the years as the Brazilian won a back-and-forth war with compatriot Thiago Santos on Saturday night.
The pair of former UFC light heavyweight title contenders duked it out and Teixeira had to show off his durability as Santos had him compromised on multiple occasions over the three rounds they shared in the Octagon.
Santos was winning most of the striking battles on the feet and Teixeira was forced to revert to his wrestling and ground game – a strong facet of the latter’s game which we haven’t seen a whole lot of during his UFC tenure.
Knocked down and wobbled on multiple times, Teixeira took the fight to the mat on multiple occasions and Santos drowned under the pressure from his opponent’s relentless ground assault.
“Marreta” was saved by the bell as Teixeira had him locked into a rear-naked choke with little time remaining in the second round. Santos, however, started the third stanza strongly and hurt Teixeira once again, proceeding to hunt after a finish with violent ground and pound.
Teixeira survived once again. The 41-year-old managed to somehow regain his wits about him and scramble to take Santos’ back. With minutes remaining on the clock, Teixeira was able to finish what he had started in the second round with another rear-naked choke attempt. This one was successful as an exhausted Santos was forced to tap, awarding Teixeira the win.
Not only was Teixeira’s toughness impressive, his superior skills down on the mat really shone as he stakes a claim to have a second crack at the UFC light heavyweight championship.
Last week, UFC President Dana White announced the promotion was looking to book UFC middleweight king Israel Adesanya in a fight with newly-minted 205-pound champion Jan Blachowicz.
However, Teixeira called his shot as he rides the crest of a wave with his five-fight win streak.
“Dana White, come on, man. I’m an old man over here and you’re gonna give this shot to [Israel] Adesanya and make me wait?” Teixeira said in his post-fight interview. “Come on, man!
“Five fights in a row, beating these young guys… It’s not easy. Give me that title shot, man. Give me that title shot.”
Teixeira’s performance against Santos, along with his previous victories and the ability and toughness he showed against a power striker like Santos, will certainly provide White with some booking headaches. Likewise, Adesanya could well be sweating on that chance of winning a second UFC championship at light heavyweight next if Teixeira continues to make such a strong case.
UFC Fight Night: Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira full results
Light Heavyweight: Glover Teixeira def. Thiago Santos by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:49 of round three
Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski def. Tanner Boser by unanimous decision after three rounds
Bantamweight: Raoni Barcelos def. Khalid Taha by unanimous decision after three rounds
Featherweight: Giga Chikadze def. Jamey Simmons by TKO (head kick and punches) at 3:51 of round one
Women’s Strawweight: Yan Xiaonan def. Cláudia Gadelha by unanimous decision after three rounds
Middleweight: Trevin Giles def. Bevon Lewis by TKO (punches) at 1:26 of round three
Heavyweight: Alexandr Romanov def. Marcos Rogério de Lima by technical submission (forearm choke) at 4:48 of round one
Featherweight: Darren Elkins def. Luiz Eduardo Garagorri by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:22 of round three
Welterweight: Max Griffin def. Ramiz Brahimaj by TKO (doctor stoppage) at 2:03 of round three
Bantamweight: Gustavo Lopez def. Anthony Birchak by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:43 of round one