Last night (Sat., Nov. 7, 2020), UFC remained in the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 13. One had to look a bit harder than generally preferred, but last night’s event featured a handful of relevant bouts among the usual mix of action fights and rebounding veterans. Plus, the main event was a guaranteed firefight, pitting two Brazilian veterans with tremendous knockout power opposite one another.
It all made for a fun night of combat, so let’s take a closer look at the slickest techniques and best performances:
The Man Of Stone
Glover Teixeira’s nickname is “Hands of Stone,” and that’s fair, guy does punch pretty damn hard and has stopped 18 foes via knockout. Yet, it doesn’t quite tell the whole story of the 41-year-old veteran’s unbending resistance and mental fortitude when put in compromising positions.
Teixeira was nearly put out in the opening minute. Santos cracked him with a Southpaw check hook, the same punch that slept the very sturdy Jan Blachowicz. Teixeira stumbled, Santos swarmed, and the veteran found himself wrapped up on the legs, eating those brutal elbows to the side — or often, back — of the head that can very quickly cause a fighter to go limp.
Instead, Teixeira finished the takedown. When he found himself dropped in the third round, he landed a sweep to come up on top. Neither his mind nor his body relented, and he was able to win as a result. Teixeira might just fight for the title a second time, which absolutely no one could have predicted in 2018.
As for Santos, his game has always been one of managing wildness. Twice he hurt Teixeira, and twice he was overzealous in pursuit of the finish. The same instinct that tells him to throw a jumping spin kick while rocked is the same one that cost him this fight. Hell, it’s the same instinct that makes us love “Marreta,” what makes him worthy of the giant hammer on his chest.
There is a silver lining. Despite Santos’ mistakes in this fight, the Brazilian looked as dangerous as ever returning from surgery. He should be given another camp and another high-level fight before getting written off just yet.
Final note: Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira have now violently finished the two men who took Jon Jones to the absolute limit. Maybe abandoning the division was a good move after all?
Just Heavyweight Things
Alexander Romanov won via forearm choke! Forearm choke! That is not a move that is supposed to work against anyone who knows what they are doing at all, yet it happened last night.
Heavyweight MMA is different. The rules of regular contests do not apply. Squeezing on the head is a viable path to the finish, and it appears that jamming the forearm across the windpipe is similarly deadly in the correct over-sized hands.
Darren Elkins Appreciation Thread
Elkins is undoubtedly closer to the end of his career than the start. He’s been fighting for ages, a UFC member since 2010 who’s really fought nothing but tough opponents throughout those years. He holds some Featherweight records for number of takedowns, top control time, and total fights.
All the same, you don’t get nicknamed “The Damage” without taking some shots.
Elkins entered last night’s contest with Eduardo Garagorri following four-consecutive losses. Prior to those defeats, Elkins was on the best streak of his career, but those losses really seemed to push the 36 year old closer to release or retirement.
With his back to the wall, Elkins managed to implement the usual game plan to great success. His face bled before any real punches landed — as is tradition — but Elkins was picking up takedowns almost immediately. Garagorri adjusted and made it more difficult over time, but Elkins simply kept hustling, grinding his foe down until the rear naked choke became available in the third.
Who knows how much Elkins has left in the tank? Maybe there are plenty more grinding Elkins wins to come. Either way, credit to the longtime veteran for continuing to hang tough and defend his spot in the Featherweight division.
They simply don’t come tougher than Darren Elkins.
’You Hit Me In The Ear!’
Max Griffin picked up a sold win last night over UFC newcomer Ramiz Brahimaj. The fight started off innocent enough, as Griffin moved to avoid any takedown attempts and picked at his opponent with the jab.
Griffin picked up the pace a bit more in the second, landing more right hands and digging to the body on a couple occasions. Despite the blood on Brahimaj’s face, it still remained a relatively calm fight. Brahimaj entered the third with a real sense of urgency, and the two commenced trading heavier leather.
Soon, both men were bleeding, but a right hand from Griffin stunned his opponent. The two clinched up, and an elbow over the top landed to the side of Brahimaj’s head. Somehow, his ear was caught by the strike, tearing it nearly in half.
It was disgusting (take a look!), and the referee quickly stepped in.
- Giga Chikadze defeats Jamey Simmons via first-round knockout: Mismatch! A short-notice opponent switch saw Chikadze face an undersized wrestler, and the result was ... predictable. After shucking off a couple clinch and takedown attempts, Chikadze ripped his left kick into the body. A moment later, that left kick went high, separating Simmons from his consciousness.
- Trevin Giles defeats Bevon Lewis via third-round knockout: This was a weird fight. After spending a majority of the round pushing each other in the clinch, Giles stung Lewis with a jab that dropped him. After that strike, Lewis seemed to lose all confidence, backing away from exchanges and throwing strikes from too far off. Giles was slow to take advantage, but he finally pressed his edge in the third, stepping into the pocket and dropping his foe with a right hand to finish the bout.
- Gustavo Lopez defeats Anthony Birchak via first-round rear naked choke: Lopez made his UFC debut on short-notice against Merab Dvalishvili, an incredible hard opponent to face under any circumstances. He didn’t win a round, but Lopez still managed to impress me a bit, showcasing some dangerous offense and staying composed in bad spots on the mat. Faced with his own short-notice replacement opponent in Birchak — a former training partner — Lopez showed no mercy. Birchak was entering the pocket a bit tall, and Lopez teed off quickly, rocking his foe with a left hook and overhand in the opening minute. As Birchak tried to scramble to his feet, Lopez jumped his back and strangled his buddy for his first UFC victory.
For complete UFC Vegas 13: “Santos vs. Teixeira” results and play-by-play, click HERE!