Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight hitters Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira will clash TONIGHT (Sat., Nov. 7, 2020) at UFC Vegas 13 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Santos came pretty damn close to dethroning Jon Jones a little more than one year ago, but a shredded knee midway through the fight derailed the his dreams of an upset win. Several knee surgeries later, Santos has to return at the age of 36 following a considerable layoff and hopefully prove he’s still a top-notch contender. On the other hand, Teixeira has defied age to put together a four-fight win streak when he previously seemed close to retirement. It hasn’t been easy, but “Hands of Stone” is back in title contention, likely one win away for another shot at gold.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Jan Blachowicz (UFC Fight Night 145), Jimi Manuwa (UFC 231), Anthony Smith (UFC Fight Night 125), Jack Hermansson (UFC Fight Night 119), Eryk Anders (UFC Fight Night 137)
Key Losses: Jon Jones (UFC 239), Gegard Mousasi (UFC 200), David Branch (UFC Fight Night 128), Uriah Hall (UFC 175)
Keys to Victory: Santos is a remarkable mix of power and volume. He throws his kicks and punches with everything behind them, trying to put his foe down for good from the first bell, yet somehow, he’s able to do so deep into fights.
Now that Santos has fought a few times at 205 pounds, he’s demonstrated two distinct strategies. Against Anders and Manuwa, Santos fought like a berserker, exhausting his foes in a mad brawl until they crumbled. Against Jones and Blachowicz, however, Santos was more evasive, relying on low kicks and counter swings.
Against Teixeira, the latter strategy appears to be the better bet. Swinging widely could open Santos up to takedowns, which has been Teixeira’s primary path to victory as of late. If Santos fights from his back foot, however, he’s likely to pull ahead on the strength of his speed and range kicks. That will force Teixeira to wade through the fire to close the distance, which is prime opportunity for Santos to drop the hammer.
On a more specific note, Teixeira’s guard leaves him vulnerable to strikes up the middle, like uppercuts and front kicks — Santos should take note!
Key Wins: Anthony Smith (UFC Jacksonville), Ryan Bader (UFC 160), Ovince St. Preux (UFC Fight Night 73), Quinton Jackson (UFC on FOX 6), Misha Cirkunov (UFC on FOX 26), Ion Cutelaba (UFC Fight Night 150), Nikita Krylov (UFC Fight Night 158)
Key Losses: Jon Jones (UFC 172), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC Fight Night 109), Anthony Johnson (UFC 202), Corey Anderson (UFC Fight Night 134)
Keys to Victory: Teixeira is the premier example of a hard-nosed veteran. He’ll get touched up or rocked, yet the Brazilian still manages to find his way back into the fight, either by scoring a fight-changing power shot or by simply grinding away with takedowns as his foe fatigues.
Teixeira is not one to quit when the going gets tough.
Against Santos, the primary goal is not to walk into something painful. Teixeira is 41 years old, no longer as durable as in his prime. His chin is not yet a liability, but if he walks into a clean “Marreta” hook, it’s probably lights out.
As such, patience is important. Teixeira’s top game is very deadly; him taking top position with time to work a single time could drastically change things. Fortunately, while Santos is a difficult man to drag down — though it’s still worth some attempts! — he can rarely hold in his own wildness.
If at any point Teixeira can back Santos into the fence and convince him to brawl, that’s ideal. Santos loves to throw himself off-balance, and capitalizing on such a moment could change everything for the veteran.
A title shot may still be on the line.
This bout would have guaranteed a contender had it happened months ago as planned, but things have changed. With Israel Adesanya now in the mix, the path forward is far more blurred. There is a chance the winner here faces the victor of Adesanya vs. Jan Blachowicz, but he may also need to fight someone like Jiri Prochazka to fully secure the title shot depending on the timing.
While a title shot may or may not be on the line, there’s much to lose for both men, who are not young contenders. For Santos, he has to prove that he’s still the same explosive finishing threat whose power backed Jones off. If he’s lost a step, he will be written off quickly — that’s the unfortunate truth. Meanwhile, at 41 years old, Teixeira simply doesn’t have time to recover from any losses, so it’s now-or-never for his UFC title dreams.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 13 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN2 / ESPN+ 10 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 13: “Santos vs. Teixeira” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
At UFC Vegas 13, Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira will go to war in the main event. Which man will score the knockout?