This Week In The UFC

Last week, Glover Teixeira beat Thiago Santos in the third-round via rear-naked choke in last week’s main event. Teixeira continues to defy all odds especially taking some heavy shots from the knock-out artist and even getting dropped early in the third. The result started some controversy for who Jan Blachowicz should fight next for the light heavyweight title.

Should Glover get it or should Israel Adesanya move up? Also, for this weekend’s Fight Night, Islam Makhachev pulled out of the main event against Rafael Dos Anjos for an undisclosed injury; then, Paul Felder, out of the left-field, stepped up to fight Dos Anjos on five day’s notice. 

In the fight game, eventually, father time is going to catch up to everyone. It slowly sneaks up on them and then hits them like a freight train. As fighters get older, the camps take more of a toll on their body, and recovering after fights take much longer; most importantly, once they lose their chin it seems inevitable for them to be the same.

Take that all into account and just throw it out the window for the 41-year-old Glover Teixeira. Last Saturday’s win made it five in a row for the Brazilian who has seemed to change his fighting style in the last year or two. After losing to Jon Jones in 2014 for the title, he had to put together another great run.

Getting knocked out against Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson then dropping a decision against Corey Anderson made it seem father time was catching up to him. After the Anderson fight, he started using his jiu-jitsu more and implemented some ground-and-pound against his opponents. He seems to find the right balance as he has picked up three submissions and a TKO victory while taking a lot less damage. In his post-fight speech, he deservingly called for the title fight which everyone supported him for.

In a perfect world, he would get the title fight except for the fact that in the week prior, it was announced Israel Adesanya would get the opportunity. Adesanya is one of the sports biggest stars and sells pay-per-views. He has the pull that few of the sports best have. Adesanya has been vocal about his plans for the future and wants to stay active and continue to grow his legacy. Winning the light heavyweight title against Blachowicz would make him the eighth fighter to ever hold titles in two divisions.

That also gives him leverage for a future fight against Jon Jones as the two have been exchanging words on Twitter for the last year or so. Jones feels he is underpaid, so he gave up his belt to start training for heavyweight and get the money he feels he is deserved. Adesanya wants to be considered the best of all time and wants to fight Jon Jones to achieve that status. If Adesanya can beat Blachowicz, it sets up one of the biggest events in the company’s history.

Dana White is stuck between choices. In the past, he seems to favor a star moving up or down a division the opportunity for a title rather than giving it to a contender. This was last seen when Jose Aldo got to fight Petr Yan for the bantamweight title at UFC 251 over the more deserving Aljamain Sterling; however, the champ, Jan Blachowicz expressed his desire to fight Glover after his fight.

Thiago Santos, who fought for the title in his last fight and many thought would get a rematch, also expressed his desire for Glover to get the title fight as well. Dana White in his post-fight press conference acknowledged that Glover is deserving to be the next challenger for the belt given his recent dominance against the division’s best; however, nothing is certain in the UFC especially until the fight is signed. Glover is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and deserves the next title fight to go out on top; hopefully, he is given it as Adesanya will have more opportunities to make his case in the years to come. 

Fights fall apart all the time, but Dana White will always find a way to make a card go on. From last-minute injuries to personal reasons, fights always get canceled at the last minute. Dana White has one of the toughest jobs in sports as he always has to put on the best card he can.

With their recent partnership with ESPN, the UFC puts on a lot more events, and fight fans generally see a card every week. This week we were supposed to see Islam Makhachev fight Rafael Dos Anjos in the main event. They were supposed to fight before as well, but Makhachev tested positive for the coronavirus, so the fight was postponed. Many were excited to see a Dagestani fighter step up in competition against a former champ and make a run at the title; however, it was not meant to be, and hopefully, the two will fight in the future.

Then came the Irish Dragon, surprising us all, including his own mother, who found out about his fight before he could tell her himself. Felder has been a Swiss-army knife for the UFC in the last year. After his hard-fought loss against Dan Hooker back in February 2020, Felder said it was time for him to retire as he was in this sport only to be the best.

While many still wanted him to fight, he has since been calling fights for the organization and is training for a triathlon, which he feels is his calling after fighting. In one event, he was calling fights then went to be in a corner for a former teammate who’s coaches could not travel, then went back to calling fights. In terms of character, Felder is one of the best men and deserves a lot of credit for stepping up last second to fight a man as dangerous as Dos Anjos.

Felder is in shape for the main event as he has been working on his cardio and endurance over the last year, and we should be in for a good one Saturday night. For those who would like to wager on the fights, my picks for the card are below:

  • Brendan Allen ML
  • Alhassan via T/KO
  • Felder/Dos Anjos over 4.5 rounds