While the main card of UFC Vegas 13 from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas was shortened due to COVID-19, the main event went off without a hitch unlike the three previous attempts.
Glover Teixeira submitted Thiago Santos in the third round of their light heavyweight main event Saturday, Nov. 7.
Teixeira got the finish on his second attempt at a rear-naked choke on the former title contender.
A strong performance in any light heavyweight outing nowadays can go a long way since the division has gone through a shakeup as of late.
Former longtime champion, Jon Jones, relinquished his title back in August with the intention of moving up to the heavyweight division.
Since then, Jan Blachowicz has staked claim on the title after a knockout win over Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 in September.
Last week, UFC President Dana White announced that middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will move up to challenge Blachowicz for the light heavyweight crown.
Saturday’s fight marked the first one for Santos since tearing both his ACLs in his championship bout against Jones in July 2019.
Even with two injured knees, Santos was able to fight for the future Hall-of-Famer to a split decision finish.
The 16-month layoff in between bouts marks the longest of Santos’ career.
Teixeira is chasing a championship opportunity one more time, now over the age of 40.
Back in 2014, Teixeira lost a unanimous decision to Jones after winning 20 straight fights.
From the start of the fight, Santos could be seen gearing up for the big shot even clipping Teixeira more than once in the early going.
Being rocked early, forced Teixeira to cause a scramble only to have Santos rain down hammerfists and elbows.
Soon after, Teixeira would secure position setting up for the double-leg takedown as he pressed Santos against the cage before slamming him to canvas.
At one point, Teixeira got to the mount position and was able to dish out some ground-and-pound.
That firestorm continued at the start of the second round when Teixeira landed a right hook before going in for another double-leg.
After getting Santos to the ground, Teixeira dished out more ground-and-pound strikes.
The seventh degree Black Belt nearly had Santos submitted at the end of the round with a rear-naked choke just as time expired.
Attempting to secure position again, Teixeira was stunned once again and this time dropped, by the powerful hands of Santos.
Also known as “Marreta” or sledgehammer, Santos nearly finished Teixeira early in the fourth round with more vicious ground-and-pound.
As he so often does, Teixeira was able to create a scramble and get to Santos’ back.
In an attempt to slam Santos, Teixeira collapsed and gained back control looking for the rear-nake choke for the second time in the fight.
Unlike the first attempt, Teixeira was able to get the finish via submission for the ninth time in his 19-year career.
Coming into the fight, the 41-year old was the +200 underdog.
Teixeira landed 96 percent of his strikes on the ground, where he landed four of his seven takedown attempts.
According to bloodyelbow.com, Teixeira accumulated over nine minutes of control time.
In addition, he landed 82 percent of his total strikes including 73 percent of his significant strikes.
On the other hand, Santos landed 74 percent of his total strikes including 63 percent of his significant strikes.
Teixeira has now won five straight fives dating back to last January to improve to 32-7 in his career.
Santos is now 21-8 in his professional mixed martial arts career and has now suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since 2016.