Glover Teixeira failed in his first attempt to win the UFC light heavyweight title, losing to Jon Jones at UFC 172.
Seven years later, riding a five-fight win streak, Teixeira earned his second shot at the title, challenging Jan Blachowicz in the main event of UFC 267—and Teixeira did not let this opportunity slip away. On a card full of dominant performances, Teixeira saved the greatest thrill for last, closing out UFC 267 by winning the light heavyweight title.
At the age of 42, Teixeira (33–7) becomes the second-oldest champ in UFC history. He forced Blachowicz (28–9) to tap in the second round, locking on a rare-naked choke that could not be broken. That created the biggest surprise of the whole card, as the fight world witnessed Teixeira, 21 fights into his UFC career, taking his place as the new undisputed light heavyweight champion.
Teixeira was not the only fighter to win gold at 267. Petr Yan won the interim bantamweight title, defeating Cory Sandhagen by unanimous decision. This five-round fight featured some of the best work of Sandhagen’s career, and while the judges were perhaps more focused on damage (Sandhagen’s eyes were beaten up), this should have been a split decision finish. Yan (16–2) now prepares for a rematch against Aljamain Sterling, who was unable to compete at 267 due to injury, with T.J. Dillashaw waiting in the wings.
There were two other outstanding showings on the card, with the first taking place when welterweight Khamzat Chimaev dominated 11th-ranked Li Jingliang. The undefeated Chimaev (10–0) forced Jingliang (18–7) to tap in the first round after locking on a rear-naked choke, and he is now only one convincing victory away from a title shot.
The other signature performance from 267 was Islam Makhachev needing less than three minutes to put away Dan Hooker. Makhachev (21–1) used a kimura to end Hooker (21–11), the same move Khabib Nurmagomedov—who was in Makhachev’s corner—used to defeat Michael Johnson five years ago at UFC 205. The win puts Makhachev right on the cusp of a lightweight title shot.
UFC 267 also included Magomed Ankalaev picking up his seventh straight win, defeating Volkan Oezdemir (17-6) by unanimous decision. That win should earn Ankalaev (16-1) a top-five opponent in the light heavyweight division. Alexander Volkov (34–9) also defeated Marcin Tybura (22–7), ending his five-fight win streak, and the win should keep his top-five heavyweight ranking secure.
This card showed off MMA’s future and its past. Chimaev and Makhachev are going to be major forces for UFC, and incredibly, at the age of 42, Teixeira is now the present-day face of the light heavyweight division.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT: JAN BLACHOWICZ (c) VS. GLOVER TEIXEIRA — 5:02 p.m. ET
Glover Teixeira had not been in a light heavyweight title match in seven years. He lost in his first opportunity, which was against Jon Jones, but made up for it in his second chance at gold.
In his last swing at the title, Teixeira (33–7) did not miss. He ended the title reign of Jan Blachowicz, forcing him to tap out to a rear-naked choke in the second round. Only months removed from a massive victory against Israel Adesanya, this was an entirely different night for Blachowicz (28–9), looking overmatched right from the beginning.
After controlling the first round, Teixeira’s big left hook rattled Blachowicz in the second round. That hurt Blachowicz, and once Teixeira got the back, effectively flattening out Blachowicz, the end was near. Now, at the age of 42, Teixeira is leaving Abu Dhabi as light heavyweight champion.
INTERIM BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT: PETR YAN VS. CORY SANDHAGEN — 4:11 p.m. ET
Petr Yan defeated Cory Sandhagen in an outstanding fight, winning the interim belt by unanimous decision.
Sandhagen (14–4) controlled the first two rounds, and he was competitive in the third, but the judges must have liked what they saw from Yan (16–2) in Round 3 and the championship rounds.
Yan started to seize control of the fight with a third-round spinning back fist and then a clean left hand, followed by some ground and pound. He continued to lay damage on Sandhagen in those championship rounds, and recovered after struggling early with Sandhagen’s frequent punches.
Sandhagen was fighting like a boxer, and that approach worked very well for him. He needed a more decisive standup victory in the final 10 minutes, which ultimately Yan was able to pull off. This ending as a unanimous decision was surprising. Perhaps the judges were more focused on shots landed. And if they were looking at damage, Sandhagen’s eyes showed far more damage.
Yan now starts his second reign as bantamweight champ, and his first opponent will be Aljamain Sterling. Yan had the advantage in their last fight until he hit that illegal knee kick, costing him the match and the title. Time will tell if Sterling can make the necessary adjustments to defeat Yan. The next shot goes to TJ Dillashaw. For Sandhagen, who has now lost two in a row, he will need to piece together a win streak before he gets to run it back for the belt.
LIGHTWEIGHT FIGHT: DAN HOOKER VS. ISLAM MAKHACHEV — 3:54 p.m. ET
Islam Makhachev is ready for his title shot.
Makhachev (21–1) earned his ninth consecutive victory with an outstanding showing against Dan Hooker.
The fight did not even go three minutes. As soon as Makhachev landed a right hook and then a double leg takedown, he was in complete control. He won the fight with a kimura submission, the same way Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Michael Johnson at UFC 205. And Nurmagomedov was in Makhachev’s corner as he tore apart Hooker (21–10).
We are in the midst of a very important couple of weeks for the lightweight division. There is a heavily anticipated lightweight fight next week at Madison Square Garden at UFC 268 pitting Justin Gaethje against Michael Chandler, and it appeared that the winner would be poised for a title fight against the winner of Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, who meet in December. But Makhachev made an emphatic statement with this win, making short work of an elite fighter and staking his claim for a title shot.
HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT: ALEXANDER VOLKOV VS. MARCIN TYBURA — 3:12 p.m. ET
Alexander Volkov held onto his No. 5 ranking, defeating Marcin Tybura by unanimous decision.
Volkov (34–9) ended a winning streak for Tybura (22–7), who had won five in a row. He was able to land more and cause more damage against Tybura, but the win places Volkov in a challenging spot. Though he has won three of his past four, he has struggled against the upper echelon of the division. His last three losses are to Ciryl Gane, Curtis Blaydes, and Derrick Lewis, who are all opponents he will need to defeat in order to become a genuine title contender.
WELTERWEIGHT FIGHT: LI JINGLIANG VS. KHAMZAT CHIMAEV — 2:49 p.m. ET
Khamzat Chimaev is for real.
The undefeated phenom ran through Li Jingliang, winning with a dominant first-round submission victory.
If anyone doubted him, Chimaev (10–0) made them believers. He was relentless against Jingliang (18–7), who had been ranked 11th in the division yet looked completely overmatched. The rear-naked choke was too much for Jingliang, who was in immediate trouble when he lost his back. There has now been only one shot landed on Chimaev in the past four fights, which is remarkable, and he is primed for a ranking in the top 10.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT: MAGOMED ANKALAEV VS. VOLKAN OEZDEMIR — 2:16 p.m. ET
Magomed Ankalaev picked up his seventh straight win, defeating Volkan Oezdemir by unanimous decision in the opening bout of the 267 main card.
Ankalaev (16–1) was accurate in his strikes, and he landed a brutal shot on the left eye of Oezdemir (17–6). Ankalaev looked dominant throughout the fight, and as the seventh-ranked light heavyweight entering the fight, he more than held his ground against eighth-ranked Oezdemir.
With no clear next opponent for Jan Blachowicz, there is a potential for Ankalaev to jump to the front of the line for a title shot. At the very least, he has earned a fight against a top-five opponent.
Jan Blachowicz has a chance to reassert his dominance at UFC 267.
Blachowicz defends his light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira, who is seeking to make the most of his final shot at gold. Teixeira is riding a five-fight win streak, but he has not met anyone quite like Blachowicz during that stretch, who has captured nine of his last 10.
Petr Yan is also expected to regain his bantamweight title, which he likely would not have lost had it not been for an illegal shot in his last defense against Aljamain Sterling. That illegal knee cost Yan the title via a disqualification loss, but Sterling was unable to compete at this card due to injury. So Cory Sandhagen, coming off a loss to T.J. Dillashaw, now gets his shot at the interim bantamweight title, which is an uphill battle against the talented Yan.
Unlikely to be a high-drawing pay-per-view, 267 is free to all ESPN+ subscribers. The card does not offer much in terms of star power, but there should be entertaining fights, including Dan Hooker against Islam Makhachev and a potential massive upset if Li Jingliang can find a way to defeat Khamzat Chimaev.
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