UFC VEGAS 13 is done and dusted, but you know who isn’t done and dusted? Glover Teixeira is probably used to getting rocked early in fights. He needs his skull rattled just a bit to really get going. So it was no surprise that when Thiago Santos had him on skates in the opening minute, he turned to his wrestling and grappling to completely turn the fight in his favor. What I didn’t expect was for Teixeira to do this twice. After he almost had Santos choked out in round two, Santos nearly knocked him out to start round three! Thiago could not put Teixeira away and did not opt to let him stand back up. Next thing you know, Teixeira gets his back and definitely seals the deal with the rear-naked choke in an absolutely crazy main event.
It sucks for Glover that he ain’t getting the next title shot, because the very idea of Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira for the UFC title in 2021 is just wild to me. He has absolutely earned it with his five-fight winning streak, including consecutive finishes of recent title challengers. Father Time is undefeated but Teixeira is doing one hell of a job staving him off. His toughness is absurd and his top game is a thing of beauty to watch.
As for Santos, that’s a really tough loss to take after such a long layoff due to the surgeries he had on both knees after the Jon Jones fight. He had two great moments to seize victory and yet simultaneously was dominated for much of the bout. And he also looked tired early. It’s back to the drawing board for Marreta.
More thoughts below:
- Pretty bad look for Jon Jones to struggle with “no working knees” Santos in a range kickboxing match while refusing to take him down, whereas Teixeira rather easily took “repaired knees” Santos down and did whatever he wanted on the mat.
- Andrei Arlovski vs. Tanner Boser was bad. I scored it for Arlovski 29-28. The judges agreed. Arlovski’s ability to win these fights at his age is really admirable. ‘Twas a great night for old dudes at the top of this card.
- No more screwing around with Raoni Barcelos’ career. It is absolutely time for him to get a top-10 opponent next because he looked outstanding against Khalid Taha and has been terrific throughout his UFC career. He’s a major threat on the ground and his striking looks so crisp and powerful. The only reason he didn’t get a finish is that MMA corners hate stopping fights and Taha’s chin is made of granite. That was such an insane pace and such a great scrap (even though it was mostly one-sided) and it just shows you how stacked the men’s bantamweight division is.
- Featherweight Giga Chikadze got a late call to fight on this card and he made short work of the severely overmatched Jamey Simmons with a head kick and punches stoppage late in the opening round. It was also a timely stoppage by Herb Dean, who’s been under fire much of this year but Simmons was not there at all and he didn’t need to take an assortment of unnecessary punishment.
- Yan Xiaonan might not quite be headed for a title shot next, but she’s getting really close. The Chinese strawweight struggled a bit with Claudia Gadelha’s takedowns in the opening round, but her speed, her jab, and workrate slowed Gadelha down for the remainder of the fight. Gadelha couldn’t get Yan to the floor again and as a result Xiaonan picked up a deserved decision to firmly establish herself as a serious title contender for 2021. Perhaps we may see an all-Chinese title fight next year if Zhang Weili and Yan keep on winning.
- Trevin Giles had a serious heart issue just three months ago prior to a scheduled UFC appearance. He was back in action tonight and outclassed Bevon Lewis on his way to a third-round TKO. Lewis may have been disappointing and his UFC career as a whole has been underwhelming, but Giles looked great and composed in there while methodically picking Bevon apart. He got the knockdown in round one and the knockout in the final round, and that has to feel great knowing what he went through.
- Heavyweight Alexander Romanov put Marcos Rogerio de Lima to sleep with a forearm choke. Yup. That’s the type of thing that happens at heavyweight and light heavyweight. He’s a scary dude and a good prospect!
- After a strong start, Darren Elkins was getting chewed up on the feet by Eduardo Garagorri in rounds two and three. You know what that means... it’s time for Darren Elkins to survive the punishment and win the fight. Rear-naked choke midway through the final frame and you’ve got yourself another miracle. He snapped a four-fight losing skid and adds yet another comeback highlight to his reel.
- AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH RAMIZ BRAHIMAJ’S EAR!!!! As if getting kicked in the nuts to the point of heaving wasn’t bad enough, Max Griffin had that dude’s ear almost totally detached. I have nothing more to add. That shit was gross even for MMA injuries.
- Anthony Birchak’s late notice return to the UFC didn’t go very well. His buddy Gustavo Lopez worked him over, scored and early knockdown and eventually got the fight-ending rear-naked choke in under three minutes. Needless to say, a better showing from Lopez compared to his own short notice defeat to Merab Dvalishvili, and he’s got his first win in the UFC.