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UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3 - Toe to Toe Preview: Glover Teixeira vs Patrick Cummins

Phil and David talk 80's music and oldies while breaking down everything you need to know about this late bloomer battle for UFN 77 in Brazil.

Phil MacKenzie

Glover Teixeira takes on Patrick Cummins at light heavyweight for the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3 on November 7, 2015 at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil.

Single sentence summary:

Phil: In the aging light heavyweight division, two fighters are determined to say: "better latte than never."*

David: Late bloomers try to steal the show with what's left of their own.


Glover Teixeira 23-4

Odds: -490

Patrick "Durkin" Cummins 8-2

Odds: +390

History lesson / introduction to the fighters

Phil: Glover Teixeira was the pride of The Pit, the secret weapon of Chuck Liddell, and one of the best fighters outside of the major MMA orgs for a good long while. That being said, I don't think anyone expected him to set the UFC on fire once he arrived. We talk a lot about how fighters over or under-deliver, but Teixeira has had a career trajectory which has been almost exactly what you'd expect. He made it to a title shot, gave Jones a tough fight (although, let's be clear, he did not take him to the limit) and then lost to Phil Davis, coming back with a win over OSP.

David: I think Glover had the moxie, and talent to set the division on fire. Maybe not the flaming dog urine that resurrected Freddy from Part 4 kind, but certainly enough gasoline to be part of the revolving door of tyrants the LHW division once symbolized. The problem was just age. His skillset would have been tailor made for the UFC/PRIDE wars. But he just kind of entered the spotlight too late. It sucks, but these things happen in MMA.

Phil: Patrick Cummins had one of the toughest UFC debuts ever, when he came in as an injury replacement for Rashad Evans against Daniel Cormier on short notice. There was a host of bizarre stories that came along with this - how Cummins had been working as a barista, how he'd apparently made Cormier cry or something, and of course the shameless hype-job from the UFC which tried to pump him up as a legitimate challenge. Cormier slaughtered him, of course, but since then Cummins has carved out a respectable UFC run.

David: I thought he was working as a barista with only two dollars and fingerless gloves in his pocket before Dana rescued him from underneath the bridge? You never really know with Dana's stories. I hated the hype show they foisted on Cummins. It was the absolute worst of its kind; setting the token manufactured vendetta to frappe in their hype blender.

Thankfully Cummins turned out to be a decent fighter. He finally picked up a solid win against Rafael Cavalcante, which is what he needed to avoid become one of the UFC's version of Flock of Seagulls.

What are the stakes?

Phil: Neither of these guys are particularly young and they have a limited time to make an impact on the division. Cummins is at least a fresh face so has more potential upside, but realistically the ceiling of these two gentleman figures to be getting fed to the elite of 205 as bounce-backs.

David: Perhaps. It's tougher for Glover because he's still a ridiculous test for younger fighters. The UFC probably wants to keep him away from running down the young guns. Cummins will probably always have a job. Even if it's just some Rock-esque scenario where Dana buys him his own Starbucks so that he can tell customers how he used to work there until he won Dana White's blackjack money.

Where do they want it?

Phil: Cummins is one of the most one-dimensional fighters in the UFC. Commenter King's Gambit referred to him as being 2015 Mark Coleman, and that is not far off being true. He makes gestures towards level change mix-ups, coming in with an uppercut or jab, but they're pretty perfunctory, and mostly just an excuse to try and get in on the hips and chain-wrestle. This isn't to be overly critical: MMA development is a constant battle between tactical improvements in order to win fights and strategic improvements to make a better fighter. No shame in focusing in on your strengths; lots of bouts have been lost in search of the unicorn of well-roundedness.

David: Unicorn of well-roundedness? Oh snap. I smell a Toe to Toe Debate coming on? That or these rotting Baby Ruths in my house from trick-or-treaters who took all of my 100 Grands. Greedy bastards. I agree that Cummins is one dimensional in a prototypical sense of the word. But I don't think his lack of striking comes from discomfort in inability, so much as a desire to stay horizontal. He's too old to embed new tricks into his DNA, but he's certainly not useless.

Phil: Glover is a strong, plodding wrestle-boxer- he marches in behind a probing jab and a cross counter right, and then gets to work with punching combinations or level changes in the pocket. His top game is still his strongest asset, where he has powerful ground and pound, and a nasty arm triangle and choke series.

David: Glover's game would have looked next level 10 years ago. I take that back. 10 years ago, he lost to Ed Herman. But you get what I'm saying. He's just so strong with his punches, and imposing with his guard passing that it would have been difficult for even the elite at 205 to beat him; LHW in the UFC vs. Pride era never had a fighter who really stood out on both facets of the game. Shogun was probably the most well rounded back then, but Glover would have been a hell of a foil.

What I like about Glover's game is that he seems aware, consciously or not, of his age. He doesn't try to Brad Pickett his way to victory, which is something he's surely capable of. Instead he works the fine technique he's developed over the years, demanding his opponent to not simply outfight him, but rather, to outfox him.

Insight from past fights?

Phil: Teixeira managed to fend off most of Jon Jones' wrestling, but got dominated by Phil Davis. I think this speaks more to the unique, top-ride and seatbelt-centric nature of Davis's grappling and how unique it is within the greater MMA metagame, than it does to any kind of physical deterioration.

There's a tendency to map 205's wrestlers over one another to an extent- if Bader beat OSP, then so can Cummins; if Davis beat Teixeira, then so can Cummins. This perhaps undersells quite how skilled Bader and Davis have become, and how much work it takes to get as good as them.

David: Agreed. Strikers don't have that problem because really bad takedown defense makes it all a moot point. But people tend to have a more modest appetite for pure wrestling. Whereas everyone can list random K-1 champs, and slick ADCC golden boys. Back on topic, I think the Quinton Jackson bout is a decent starting point; revealing how physically adroit Glover is despite his lumbering frame.


Phil: Teixeira is pretty old in cage age. As we mentioned in our prior breakdown, he seems to have stopped training out of The Pit in favor of working closer to home. That didn't apparently affect him much in his last fight, but it's often the indicator of someone with one foot out of the door.

David: Cummins is only 2 years younger, and will never fight for a title. I see your point, but Glover has only two more UFC fights than Cummins. Speaking of, how the hell is this Cummins 7th fight in less than two years?


Phil: Teixeira is a three-dimensional fighter with a ton more experience against a one-dimensional fighter with a suspect chin. While Teixeira has struggled with wrestling before, there are just too many things stacked against Cummins. Glover Teixeira by TKO, round 2.

David: Glover by autopilot. Glover Teixeira by Decision.

Oh and awesome job with the artwork. These things just get better and better.

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