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Fighter on Fighter: Breaking down UFC 267’s Glover Teixeira

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Heavy-handed veteran, Glover Teixeira, will square off opposite Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight kingpin, Jan Blachowicz, this Saturday (Oct. 30, 2021) at UFC 267 inside Etihad Arena on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Safe to say, no one really expected Teixeira to earn a second title shot, not after he looked a bit uninspired vs. Phil Davis in 2014 or walked into a 13-second KO loss to Anthony Johnson a couple years later. No, the Brazilian was relegated to the “fun veteran” category, and he was only really thought of as an example of missed opportunity due to his visa issues that kept him away from the Octagon in his younger years.

The 41 year old proved all that wrong. Teixeira has put together a majorly impressive five-fight win streak, all quality victories and mostly finishes. He’s decidedly earned this opportunity, and fascinatingly, he’ll be fighting another underappreciated, savvy vet as his final step.

Let’s take a closer look at his skill set:

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Striking

Teixeira is not a complicated striker. He’s a puncher, a man with power in both hands, and even at his age, he remains a durable and gir

Much of the time Teixeira fights, he’s stalking his opponent looking for his right hand over the top. His pressure forces his opponent to respond, and Teixeira is just waiting for his opponent to flick out a jab or even a left hook. Once that happens, Teixeira will slip inside and look to land the cross counter (GIF).

If his opponent is hesitant to throw, Teixeira is fine with leading as well. Teixeira is still focused on landing his right, but he has a few different set ups. For example, he’ll do a nice job with his jab and left hook to force his opponent to cover before slamming home his right around the guard. For a fighter that rarely uses it, Teixeira’s jab is rather sharp.

In addition, Teixeira is more than willing to lead with his right hand. He comes forward with the straight often, following up with a powerful left hook (GIF), which lands best on foes looking to back away from the exchange. Teixeira typically does nice work in capitalizing on cage position, teeing off an opponents after backing them into the fence.

For the sake of variety, Teixeira also has a strong right uppercut in his arsenal. Once his opponent begins to react to the threat of Teixeira’s hooks or is simply threatening with level changes, Teixeira will look to time his movement with the uppercut (GIF).

Teixeira does a nice job of mixing it up to the body as well, largely with his straight right hand. This helps keep him a bit more unpredictable, in addition to all the standard benefits of body punching. In particular, body shots were very effective for him opposite “Rampage” Jackson, who’s generally a difficult man to hit cleanly. However, Teixeira’s body work eventually took its toll and had Jackson’s hands lowered, allowing him to score with big punches to the chin more often.

Most of Teixeira’s recent success has come on the mat, but against Anthony Smith, it began in the stand up. Smith threw a ton of strikes without fully committing his power behind them, so Teixeira played it patient. In the second round, Teixeira began firing back more often, but the situation really changed in the third.

As a fatiguing Smith threw a bit of a sloppy jab, Teixeira slammed home an uppercut. Unwilling to let Smith off without further punishment, Teixeira used his left arm to keep Smith’s posture broken, allowing for more uppercuts (GIF). Smith was getting hammered and was forced to concede top position.

Teixeira is something of a brawler, so it shouldn’t be a major surprise that his game involves taking some shots. Predictability can be an issue — everyone knows that right hand is coming! — but speed is the larger problem. Teixeira has never been lightning quick, and age has not helped. Most notably against Alexander Gustafsson, Teixeira could not track his foe down, running into power shots repeatedly. In particular, the uppercut and knees up the middle have been used to catch Teixeira chasing, as he’ll lean forward a bit while looking to throw his power shots.

Wrestling

A strong man with solid set ups and agility, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Teixeira is such an effective wrestler. Offensively, he’s proven to be quite a handful, and his takedown defense has largely held up, though excellent transitional wrestlers have proven an issue for him.

Teixeira almost always initiates his takedown by changing levels for a single-leg takedown. He usually finishes by running the pipe with a dump, driving his opponent’s hips down into the mat. If his opponent keeps his balance, Teixeira will switch directions and drive through him with a double. Between those two basic finishes and his ability to fluidly chain them together, Teixeira has managed to take down most of his opponents.

Likely Teixeira’s best overall wrestling performance came against Quinton Jackson, a historically difficult man to take down (GIF). More recently, Teixeira has done a lot more wall-wrestling. Part of that comes from desperation — again, Teixeira uses wrestling to recover from getting rocked — but it’s also a pretty wise choice for a stronger, slower veteran with a fairly deep gas tank.

Teixeira has turned getting rocked into a double leg against the fence in at least half of his recent wins.

Once he takes down his opponent, Teixeira is plenty capable of finishing the fight with brutal ground strikes. An active guard passer, the Brazilian looks to move into at least half guard before opening up. Once in a controlling position, Teixeira will posture up above his opponent and throw heavy strikes.

If Teixeira can secure a mount, the fight is basically over. He climbs very high into his foe’s armpits, limiting his ability to bridge and shake the Brazilian off of him. In addition, his tight hips prevent elbow escapes while allowing him to posture. From there, he starts to hammer away with punches and elbows. Anthony Smith has a unique reputation for his ability to lose fights from bottom position without taking major damage in the process, but his possum act only saw him battered further by “Hands Of Stone.”

Prior to his bout with Phil Davis, Teixeira had successfully shut down each of his opponents’ attempts to bring the fight to the mat. In fact, he stuffed plenty of Davis’ shots, too. However, a few key errors mid-fight allowed Davis to routinely gain top position and control.

Though Davis rarely finished his initial shot, he found plenty of success transitioning into the back clinch, where he could weigh on Teixeira and drag him to the mat. Teixeira made this easier for Davis by swinging wildly, allowing him to duck under and move toward the back easily.

Additionally, Teixeira jumped on the guillotine choke numerous times. It’s hard to blame him for doing it once, as he’s finished fights with it, but Teixeira hopped on the submission repeatedly without ever coming close.

Fast-forward a few years to his most recent loss opposite Corey Anderson, and many of the same issues came into play. A more straightforward grinder like Nikita Krylov will struggle to drag Teixeira down, but crafty chain wrestlers can really give him trouble.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A second-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu, Glover Teixeira’s top game is brutally heavy, and it comes equipped with hammer-like punches and strangulations. Three of the wins on Teixeira’s current win streak came via tapout, and he’s submitted nine foes total — more than one would expect from a man nicknamed for his knockout power!

Teixeira really likes to secure the mount position, where he’ll reign down on his opponent with punches. When his foe bucks, Teixeira will often hunt for the arm triangle choke, which has allowed him to finish a pair of fights in UFC. All that is required is to catch his opponent in that halfway position between mount and back mount, and the choke can be quickly wrapped up. Alternatively, Teixeira will allow his foe to turn to their stomach, at which point he’ll reapply heavy hip pressure and bombing punches.

The rear-naked choke tends to become quickly available. It all comes back to that hip pressure, as Teixeira’s opponents really appear to be glued into miserable positions once the Brazilian drops his hips.

Aside from that killer combination of pressure, punches and chokes, Teixeira has shown a dangerous guillotine choke. It’s nothing overly complicated, but Teixeira is plenty willing to jump guard after wrapping up the neck. All the evidence points to Teixeira having a pretty murderous squeeze, because opponents tend to tap frantically.

Conclusion

Outside of the Krylov fight — which proved his toughest challenge — all of Teixeira’s recent wins came against strikers who grew overeager vs. the older man. It will be interesting to see if Teixeira can coax the some mistakes from Blachowicz, who has the experience to avoid such a pitfall but also has a reputation for moments of wildness.


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 267 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, before the main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 267: “Blachowicz vs. Teixeira” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, is a professional fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport’s most elite fighters.