The Match Up:
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is in curious position in the light-heavyweight division. Champ Jon Jones pretty much run the table with all the top-name light heavyweights, with the exception of Dan Henderson, and new contenders are much-needed. The problem is, compared to the likes of Shogun Rua, Lyoto Machida, Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort, guys like Teixeira have very little name recognition and highlight-reel promos against world-class competition with which to build them as challengers.
The match up tonight (Oct. 13, 2012) between Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado at UFC 153 should change that.
Maldonado, a dangerous, aggressive striker, fills in for the injured Jackson, who pulled out of the bout, and Fabio really has nothing to lose. His standup is top-notch, with heavy hands and sharp strikes, but he's been less than impressive on the ground and seems a bit one-dimensional. If Teixeira gets him down, expect it to be over soon.
This is something of a letdown, matchup-wise, for Teixeira, as he had the popular but disinterested Jackson lined up for the perfect home-country, breakout-style showing. Instead of getting the former ex-champ, whose spotty performances of late indicate a once-great fighter with one foot out the door, he gets a longshot like Maldonado, who'll be looking to play Jamie Varner to his Edson Barboza. For Maldonado, he has to seize the momentum early and nail Teixeira, punishing tie-up and takedown attempts while not getting planted to the mat. Against a talented grappler/athlete like Glover, that's a thin line to walk, indeed.
Much of the UFCs success is in proper matchmaking, and this fight has all the indications of it. Teixeira is a legitimate star in the making, and his long-delayed debut in the UFC, a quick steamrolling of Kyle Kingsbury, only added to the hype. He'll be brought down a few pegs as he moves up the ladder of competition but not in this match. Teixeira will roll up momentum early with a takedown midway through the first, running a ground and pound and positional clinic on Maldonado, prior to sinking home a fight-ending rear naked choke.
Teixeira via submission in round one
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card bouts on fight night (Sat., Oct. 13, 2012), which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view (PPV). The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 6:45 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" match-ups on Facebook and FX.
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Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst.