Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi yesterday (Sat., Oct. 30, 2021) to stage UFC 267 live from inside Etihad Arena. In the main event of the evening, Glover Teixeira submitted Jan Blachowicz to become the new Light Heavyweight champion (see it again here). In the co-main event, Petr Yan defeated Cory Sandhagen to win the interim Bantamweight title and secure a rematch against current division champion, Aljamain Sterling.
Biggest Winner: Glover Teixeira
Seven years removed from his loss to Jon Jones in what his first and only title fight inside the Octagon up until yesterday, Glover Teixeira is now the Light Heavyweight champion at 42 years of age after he submitted Jan Blachowicz. The win is the cherry on top of a stellar run from the longtime veteran who has been fighting professionally for two decades now. He extends his win streak to six straight and now looks forward to a life as UFC champion and all of the benefits that come with it — including bigger paychecks. Chuck Liddell told us Glover would be champion one day when “Hands of Stone” made his UFC debut at UFC 146, and though it took him 20 fights to do it, Teixeira proved “The Iceman” right. Score one for the good guys with this one. He will have a lot of young and hungry contenders ready to knock him off his throne, but Teixeira is more than up for the challenge.
Runner Up: Petr Yan
There are statement-making performances, and then there is the one Yan put up against Cory Sandhagen. After giving up the first round, and getting into some trouble in round two, Yan started to download the data he needed to start timing his shots just right to take over the rest of the fight. Yan used his crisp, technical and powerful boxing to dominate the bout, tagging “The Sandman” at will to pull out the unanimous decision win. It was perhaps his best performance to date, which was aided by the fact that he had a willing partner who was up for the challenge. Not only does he get the interim belt and a rematch against Sterling, but he goes home with the adoration of fight fans and a sweet $50,000 post-fight bonus. It was a great night all around for the Russian striker, who probably has the best boxing in the game at the moment.
Honorable Mention: Khamzat Chimaev and Islam Makhachev
We can’t talk about the event without giving props to Chimaev and Makhachev. If you didn’t believe the Chimaev hype after his stellar run in 2020, you have to give him his props now. “Borz” picked up his fourth straight win to remain undefeated (10-0, 4-0 UFC) by absolutely manhandling Li Jingliang in the very first round. “Leech” was far from a guaranteed notch on “Borz’s” belt because prior to the loss, he had won eight of 10 UFC fights and is sitting on the outside looking in of the Top 10 at No. 11. What’s more impressive about the win is that he made it look effortless. This man is legit and the sky is the limit for the 27-year old.
Makhachev, meanwhile, ran right through another one of his opponents by absolutely dominating Dan Hooker en route to scoring a first round submission win. That is now nine straight wins for the Khabib Nurmagomedov protege, who likely made a case for a shot at the title next. At the very least, he will be involved in a title eliminator bout. Makhachev has been putting in work for some time now, and he has more than proven that he is ready to stake his own claim as one of the absolute best fighters in the world at 155 pounds.
Biggest Loser: Jan Blachowicz
Coming into his main event fight against Glover Teixeira, Jan Blachowicz had one title defense under his belt, taking out current Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Against a true 205-pounder, though, Jan couldn’t come through. And it was a puzzling performance, too, because the Polish bruiser looked slow out there, even saying afterward that everything went wrong and he left his power in the hotel room. That tap came rather quickly, too, tapping three seconds after Teixeira put the rear-naked choke in. Then again, I’ve never had the life choked out of me by a world class fighter, so only Blachowicz knows that type of pain or discomfort he was in. Still Blachowicz’s Cinderella run comes to an end for now, but he can look across the cage and see that the new champion is living proof that you can reach the top of the sport regardless of your age and previous setbacks.
For complete UFC 267 results and coverage click here.