In July 2018, Glover Teixeira was soundly out-wrestled by Corey Anderson to a 30-27 decision loss. The Brazilian veteran was quickly approaching his 40th birthday, and he’d now lost three of his last five fights. Nobody would have given him anything but respect had “Hands of Stone” walked away then, 16 years into his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
At that point in time, does anyone have any idea how long the odds were for Teixeira to become champion? They’re simply incalculable. All the pieces had to fall into place perfectly, from Jon Jones abandoning the division to Anderson dipping off to Bellator. Meanwhile, Teixeira had to actually win the fights, consecutively winning five fights against five younger opponents just to get a second title opportunity.
He was flash knocked out three times in those wins.
That’s what made his eventual title win over Jan Blachowicz so incredible. The cosmic dominoes lined up, and the fighting world recognized the miraculous nature of a newly crowned 42-year-old champion. It was a tremendous! Everyone watching recognized that all of Teixeira’s hard work and resiliency combined perfectly with factors beyond his control to create an amazing moment.
Reality set in a bit when Teixeira’s body failed him in the fifth round of his war with Jiri Prochazka. Fans judged his guillotine attempt harshly, but is it really that shocking that an athletic foe a decade younger was better able to capitalize in the 24th minute of a war of attrition?
Circumstance gave Teixeira one final opportunity, a chance against a new opponent, Jamahal Hill, no less. On paper, there were many areas where Teixeira could win UFC 283’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event last night (Jan. 21, 2023) in Rio de Janeiro. It was perfectly reasonable to hope that the dominoes still lined up, that a second miracle could play out for a similarly joyous occasion.
He seemed really intent on smacking Teixeira around the cage, and he did pretty much just that from the first bell. It was a great performance, but it was also one that quickly grew uncomfortable.
This fight didn’t need to go beyond the fourth round. Teixeira was repeatedly trying swipe the blood from both eyes without any success. There was a distinct moment where Hill didn’t seem to land anything that devastating — especially compared to all the huge shots from the previous three rounds — but Teixeira still wobbled backward. He was no longer stable on his feet and no longer reacting well to shots, relying on the cage for a sense of his bearings.
Realistically, he was no longer intelligently defending himself.
The referee could have stopped the content, and the corner certainly should have. Instead, Teixeira walked out for the fifth, and while he scored a surprise takedown, his inability to keep up with the scrambles was a clear demonstration that Teixeira was operating on autopilot.
There would be no second miracle.
For complete UFC 283: “Hill vs. Teixeira” results and play-by-play, click HERE.