Glover Teixeira needed to make a statement when he faced off with Ryan Bader in the main event of last night's (Sept. 4, 2013) UFC Fight Night 28 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. A possible title shot was within reach for the rapidly rising Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight, but Bader threatened to be his toughest test in the Octagon.
And for a moment, "Darth" was just that, putting Teixeira in danger that we hadn't really previously seen him in.
In the end (watch highlights here), the Brazilian slugger persevered to pull out an impressive victory over a battle-tested UFC veteran, and now sits with five straight victories in the Octagon. Let's review this hard-hitting main event between Glover Teixeira vs. Ryan Bader from Mineirinho Arena, which aired on FOX Sports 1.
Not surprisingly, the decorated wrestler Bader came out immediately looking for a takedown. If he had an advantage in any one skillset, it was gong to be there.
Teixeira shrugged it off with ease.
Bader switched his strategy to boxing, landing a hard left hand. Bader swarmed, eventually transitioning into a guillotine by jumping guard. That may have been an ill-advised move. Teixeira escaped the hold and Bader found himself taken down by Teixeira's own wrestling skills. Getting back to his feet, Bader pressed forward with power strikes once again. Finding a home for another hook and some uppercuts, he briefly stunned his opponent.
Just when it seemed like Teixeira was destined to be upset in dramatic fashion, the Brazilian countered with a combo of his own.
Rocking Bader with two huge punches, the tides were quickly turned. Teixeira pounced on Bader and rained down a torrent of shots that left the referee with no choice but to stop the bout.
The comeback win showed Teixeira's heart and determination in a big way. The Chuck Liddell-mentored contender was disappointed in himself after the fight, calling it a wake-up call. It appears that Teixeira will accept nothing but perfection in his quest towards the championship.
With five straight victories, Teixeira is most likely headed for a title shot next against the winner of UFC 165's main event between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson from Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
He's earned it, showing a solid all-around game in dispatching of Bader. "Darth" was no easy task last night, and it appeared that Teixeira would be put away at times.
Teixeira's will to win is the true mark of a champion. His propensity to stand in front of his opponents and eat shots is not. If he wants to topple the fighters waiting at the top of the UFC 205-pound mountain, he'll need to acquire some elusiveness.
He's now won 20 fights in a row, so that's about the only knock on him.
For Bader, it's a tough loss, because beating Teixeira in Brazil may have been the biggest victory of his career, and he was close to his goal. He'll move further out of the Top 10, but he can still provide a stiff challenge for many of the fighters on that list.
Perhaps Bader could fight Mauricio Rua to see which fallen combatant has more left in the tank. Bader remains very good, but his chance at a title run is all but finished with his knockout loss last night.
Glover Teixeira was in trouble against Ryan Bader, but caught him rushing in to score the huge knockout win. Is he ready for a title shot in his next bout?