One of the best rising light heavyweight stars in the UFC took center stage last night (Oct. 13, 2012) as Glover Teixeira battled late replacement Fabio Maldonado on the UFC 153 main card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Teixeira had been preparing to face Quinton Jackson in the co-main event, but an untimely injury opened the door for the hard-headed Maldonado.
Maldonada can take a shot perhaps better than any fighter on the planet, and he proved it last night by absorbing a hellacious beating from Teixeira and continuing to press on.
Sometimes, you're just too damn tough for your own good.
Despite Maldonado's titanium skull being put on full display, Teixeira was still awarded a second round stoppage victory. So what helped put him over the top? And where do both men go from here?
Early on, Teixeira entered "kill mode," zeroing in on Maldonado as he stepped forward and clocked him with a trio of insanely powerful punches which put the Brazilian boxer down for the first time in his UFC career.
Teixeira quickly swarmed him and proceeded to lay down one of the biggest beatdowns from full mount that had ever been seen in the Octagon. Teixeira was postured up and dropping heavy punches and elbows, picking his shots to break through Maldonado's defenses and actually providing an acccurate and measured torrent of blows.
Somehow, some way, Maldonado survived the bevy of blows, surviving an arm triangle choke from Teixeira but this only resulted in more punches and elbows from full mount but then the unthinkable happened.
Maldonado escaped to his feet and Teixeira pressed forward with more massive blows. At times it seemed like the only thing keeping Maldonado on his feet was the fence but then as Teixeira dropped his hands, Maldonado stepped forward with a quick left hook that blasted Teixeira square on the chin and wobbled him. He pressed forward and landed another but Teixeira wisely took him down until the remainder of the round. Those big shots from Maldonado likely saved him from being on the receiving end of a 10-7 round.
In the second round, Teixeira wisely took Maldonado down immediately and dropped occasional punches from his half guard for a solid four minutes.
After the returned to their feet, the doctor checked Maldonado's face for the cuts and swelling but allowed him to finish the round. He would proceed to eat more massive blows from Teixeira on the feet, absorbing heavy left hooks and Teixeira's power right hand. A massive combination had Maldonado on seriously wobbly legs at the end of the round and the doctor mercifully put a stop to it in between rounds.
For Fabio Maldonado, this guy has to be hands down the toughest fighter in the UFC. He can take some monstrous shots both standing and on the ground and keep coming forward. It's kind of scare the amount of punishment he can take, which is why it was a good thing the doctor stopped it because he would have never quit. Perhaps he was going for the Homer Simpson strategy and had this been a five round fight, he might have been able to push Teixeira over at the end of the fifth round to secure a TKO. Him rocking Teixeira at the end of the first round despite barely being able to stand will be forever etched in some fans' memories.
Maldonado, despite his 1-3 UFC record, deserves another fight. He stepped up in a big way against a fighter that no one wanted to face and he took his licks. He's still got some skill on the feet and I'd love to see what would happen if you put him in there against the equally iron-chinned Joey Beltran. Other potential fights to make include Roger Hollett or Chad Griggs.
For Glover Teixeira, this man is scary violent. He looked sharp on the feet (other than briefly dropping his hands at the end of the first round) and his ground game was straight up vicious. He passed guard smoothly and he dropped some of the most devastating ground and pound in UFC history for four minutes straight without gassing. Teixeira proved he has good cardio and being the first man to stop Maldonado, even if it was form a doctor, is something to be proud of.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you hoping this fight would have been stopped sooner? How high is Glover Teixeira's ceiling in the light heavyweight division?