The UFC returned to PPV this past weekend live from Abu Dhabi with a jam-packed card.
New champions were crowned, and definitive championship contender cases were made. Headlining the action was the light heavyweight title fight that crowned a longtime legend.
Teixeira submits Blachowicz in round 2
After a near 20-year MMA career, Glover Teixeira’s (33-7) crowning moment came Saturday night by becoming the UFC light heavyweight champion at age 42.
This makes him the second oldest UFC champion ever, behind only Randy Couture at age 45. Teixeira is, however, the oldest first-time champion in the company’s history.
A rear-naked choke early in the 2nd round spelled defeat for Jan Blachowicz (28-9), whose title reign ended at just over a year and one month.
Teixeira’s victory outlined his masterful skillet. He looked more comfortable exchanging blows with Blachowicz then some expected, out striking him 71-53.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist earned two takedowns, combining for 5 minutes of ground control. The striking success set up an imposing ground game that Blachowicz could not overcome.
“20 years baby,” Teixeira said with a heavy exhale after the fight. He was overwhelmed with joy and couldn’t find the exact words to say at the moment.
Thankfully, his peers knew exactly how he felt as congratulations poured in across the MMA community for Teixeira’s landmark victory.
Daniel Cormier asked if Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1) may be next up for a title shot, in which Teixeira was more than willing to accept - after his deserving championship honeymoon of course.
Yan reclaims the title he controversially lost
2021 has been a very up and down year for the new interim bantamweight champion Petr Yan (16-2).
He started the year as champ before losing it by disqualification to Aljamain Sterling (20-3). Sterling was unable to defend that title leading to Saturday’s interim title bout.
There, Yan reminded everyone of his excellence in a great fight with Cory Sandhagen (14-4).
Sandhagen was a worthy opponent, narrowly losing to TJ Dillashaw (18-4) in his return to the octagon in July. He had success against Yan throughout the fight but never landed a critical blow.
Yan, on the other hand, scored an impressive spinning back-fist knockdown, as well as other significant strikes that won the judges' scorecards.
They all scored the contest 49-46 in favor of Yan.
Though it has the interim label, Yan’s victory asserted him as the rightful bantamweight champion until further notice.
Dillashaw is likely the man who’s most ready for ‘No Mercy’ Petr Yan next.
Islam Makhachev steamrolls Dan Hooker
This lightweight bout featured two noteworthy contenders who have contrasting styles.
Islam Makhachev (21-1) quickly put to bed any doubt of who was more imposing at that style. In two and a half minutes, he grounded Dan Hooker (21-11) before forcing a submission via kimura.
Hooker admirably accepted the bout on very short notice after Makhachev’s scheduled opponent Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13) pulled out due to injury.
“Now it’s time,” Mahkachev proudly stated after the fight.
With nine consecutive UFC victories, dating back to 2016, Makhachev belongs among the lightweight elite and is knocking down the door for a title opportunity.
Training under the great Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev has all the makings of a future champion.
Perhaps fighting Dos Anjos would have further validated his case, but Mahkachev is on a tear and that can’t be denied much longer.
Chimaev makes quick work of Jingliang, stays undefeated
Sweden’s Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) defeated Li Jingliang (18-7) in almost jovial fashion.
He hoisted his opponent for a takedown in the opening seconds, but before slamming him walked all the way towards his corner of the octagon.
There he took direction from his corner, and executed a decisive rear naked choke in which his opponent lost consciousness.
Ending in under two minutes time, Chimaev threw a perfect game, not allowing his opponent any successful offense.
After his previous scheduled fights were pushed back, Chimaev finally made his 2021 debut.
If he finishes more ranked contenders in his coming fights, expect the 27-year-old to be eyeing the gold.
Volkov hold off Tybura in heavyweight ranks
Marcin Tybura (22-7) was ascending the Heavyweight ranks after putting together four wins in 2020, plus a first round knockout of Walt Harris (13-10) in June.
Alexander Volkov (34-9) stymied that momentum with a unanimous decision victory in Abu Dhabi over Tybura (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Volkov was disciplined and kept Tybura at bay with his reach advantage. He also successfully denied all 16 of Tybura’s takedown attempts.
The victory allows Volkov to hold his position in the division. He only holds losses to Derrick Lewis, Curtis Blaydes, and interim champion Cyril Gane over the past five years.
To potentially ascend, he’ll need to knock off one of those men again. For now we’ll also watch and see how Tybura rebounds from the loss.