UFC 267: Glover Teixeira makes history against Jan Blachowicz to win light heavyweight title

Glover Teixeira of Brazil works for a rear choke submission against Jan Blachowicz of Poland
Glover Teixeira submitted Jan Blachowicz in the second round

Glover Teixeira wrote his name into the record books by capturing the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 267 on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.

Teixeira, who turned 42 on Thursday, set a new record as he became the oldest fighter to win a UFC title for the first time by defeating defending champion Jan Blachowicz in the main event at the Etihad Arena.

Teixeira’s victory came in his second attempt at championship gold, with his first resulting in unanimous decision defeat to Jon Jones at UFC 172 in 2014.

Seven years later, the US-based Brazilian returned to the world championship stage and completed a remarkable career renaissance by submitting Blachowicz in the second round with a rear-naked choke to spark wild scenes of celebration in the octagon.

Teixeira took Poland’s Blachowicz to the mat and dominated proceedings throughout round one, and the challenger stunned the champion on his feet in round two before taking him to the mat again.

With Blachowicz seemingly without an answer for the Brazilian’s grappling, Teixeira moved into mount, flattened out the champion and locked up a rear-naked choke to secure the 33rd win of his 19-year professional MMA career, making him the second-oldest UFC champion in history.

After the championship belt was wrapped around his waist, Teixeira said that, by capturing his first title in his 40s, he confounded common opinion about ageing fighters and their ability to compete at the highest level.

“We were talking about Dana [White] today, how he promotes the UFC, how he breaks the rules and that’s why the UFC is what it is,” he said.

“I’m breaking the rules – 42 years old – and I’m going to keep breaking those rules!”

Teixeira also had kinds words for 38-year-old Blachowicz after a week that was highlighted by various moments of respect between the pair, including when the Pole presented him with a bottle of Polish beer on his birthday.

“He’s a tremendous champion. He’s a great champion,” said Teixeira.

“He beat undefeated [Israel] Adesanya and he beat everybody to get here. He’s a hard-working man. I love this man, he has my respect forever.”

A crestfallen Blachowicz was philosophical after losing his title, as he said: “Everything goes wrong with me, you know?

“I think I left the ‘Legendary Polish Power’ in the hotel room. That’s what happened.

“But this is not the end of the story. This book is not closed. I’m not a quitter, I’m not going anywhere. I will come back, for sure.”

Yan reclaims bantamweight gold after five-round war

Petr Yan kicks Cory Sandhagen
Petr Yan (right) won the interim bantamweight title in defeating Cory Sandhagen

In the night’s co-main event, Russia’s former undisputed bantamweight champion Petr Yan captured the interim bantamweight title after a five-round thriller with American Cory Sandhagen.

Sandhagen, 29, appeared to start the better of the pair, but Yan, 28, got better as the fight went on and, when he dropped ‘The Sandman’ in the third round with a spinning backfist, the momentum swung firmly in Yan’s favour as he ran out the unanimous decision victor with scores of 49-46 on all three scorecards.

Yan, nicknamed ‘No Mercy’, lost the undisputed title in controversial circumstances in March after an illegal knee saw him disqualified against Aljamain Sterling, with the American crowned champion.

The pair were due to rematch in Abu Dhabi, but lingering issues following Sterling’s neck surgery meant Sandhagen was drafted in and an interim title instituted.

The Russian had a message for Sterling as he declared himself the true champion of the UFC’s 135-pound division.

“Everyone knows I am the real champion,” said Yan.

“I’m here [and] I’m ready to fight anyone. It’s either going to be [former champion TJ] Dillashaw or the clown Sterling.”

Sandhagen, meanwhile, received the applause of the Abu Dhabi crowd, before paying tribute to Yan for his performance, before vowing to return even better in a future rematch.

“He’s a hell of a fighter, man,” he said after the bout. “He was better tonight, man. I have nothing else to say.”

Makhachev calls for title shot after first-round submission

Elsewhere, Russian lightweight contender Islam Makhachev showcased his elite grappling skills to finish New Zealand’s Dan Hooker in the first round of their main card clash, then called on the UFC to give him a shot at the undisputed lightweight title.

Number five-ranked contender Makhachev, 30, submitted world number six Hooker, 31, with a Kimura shoulder lock in just two minutes, 25 seconds, and underlined his performance with a call for a shot at the 155-pound title.

“That was number six [in the world]. Now I have to talk,” said Makhachev, whose record is now 21-1. “Nine-fight win streak. Now I’m ready for a title fight. Anyone, doesn’t matter.”

Current champion Charles Oliveira is set to put the title on the line against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 on December 11, while former interim champion Justin Gaethje and former Bellator champion Michael Chandler are due to face off at UFC 268 next weekend.

Islam Makhachev
Islam Makhachev has a 21-1 record

Another former Bellator champion Alexander Volkov returned to the win column with a hard-earned unanimous heavyweight decision win over in-form Pole Marcin Tybora, bouncing back from his June loss to current interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane in Las Vegas.

Chechen-born Swedish welterweight Khamzat Chimaev served notice to the elite competition in the UFC’s 170-pound class with a dominant technical submission victory over Li Jingliang.

The 27-year-old even had time to carry his opponent across the cage to have a conversation with UFC president Dana White before taking his man to the canvas, eventually rendering Chinese fighter Li unconscious with a rear-naked choke just over three minutes into the opening round.

Chimaev’s victory improves his perfect record to 10-0, with all 10 victories coming via finish.

In the first main card bout of the night, Russian light heavyweight contender Magomed Ankalaev extended his winning streak to seven fights with a unanimous decision victory over Swiss former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir.

England’s Murphy continues unbeaten run with huge KO

Earlier in the evening, undefeated English featherweight Lerone Murphy enhanced his growing reputation with a stunning second-round knockout of Finnish grappler Makwan Amirkhani in their preliminary card bout.

Operating from the southpaw stance, 32-year-old Murphy feinted to tempt the Finn into a takedown and, when Amirkhani dived in, the Mancunian answered with a perfectly-timed knee that instantly knocked out his man 14 seconds into the round.

After improving his record to 11 wins, 1 draw, Murphy called on the UFC to reward him with a fight against ranked opposition for his next outing.

“We’re here. We’re coming for the top 15,” he said.

“Everybody in my division are killers, and every matchup is a big matchup.

“Just give me any one of them, and we’ll go!”

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