Glover Teixeira has won 20 fights in a row. | Photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
One win away from a shot at light heavyweight gold, Glover Teixeira almost slipped on the banana peel.
Teixeira weathered a knockdown and dismissed “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner Ryan Bader with a multi-punch combination and follow-up ground-and-pound in the UFC Fight Night 28 main event on Wednesday at Jornalista Felipe Drumond Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Bader succumbed to the blows 2:55 into round one.
The No. 1 contender in waiting at 205 pounds, Teixeira withstood an admirable charge from the Power MMA Team representative. After a failed guillotine attempt, Bader staggered the Brazilian with an uppercut and two overhand rights. A longtime training partner of Ultimate Fighting Championship hall of famer Chuck Liddell, Teixeira responded with a two-punch volley of his own, a wicked left hook dropping Bader where he stood. The well-rounded Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt pounced and smashed his fallen foe with right hands and hammerfists, forcing referee Herb Dean to call for the stoppage.
Teixeira, who last lost in March 2005, certainly looks the part of a serious title contender. The 33-year-old has rattled off 20 consecutive victories, 18 of them finishes. He has compiled a perfect 5-0 mark since arriving in the UFC a little more than a year ago, scoring impressive wins over Bader, James Te Huna, Quinton Jackson, Fabio Maldonado and Kyle Kingsbury. Though “disappointed” in his latest performance, Teixeira will now await the outcome of the forthcoming title bout between champion Jon Jones and surging Swede Alexander Gustafsson in the UFC 165 headliner on Sept. 21 in Toronto.
Bader, meanwhile, must return to the proverbial drawing board after another failed bid to unseat one of the division’s elite. A two-time NCAA All-American wrestler and three-time Pac-10 conference champion at Arizona State University, the 30-year-old has fallen short against Jones, Teixeira and Lyoto Machida. Despite those setbacks, Bader figures to catch another high-profile matchup in a weight class suddenly lacking in quality depth. Perhaps a showdown with former UFC champion and 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner Mauricio Rua comes next. The popular Brazilian finds himself on a two-fight losing streak, leading some to wonder if he has passed his prime.
In the wake of UFC Fight Night 28 “Teixeira vs. Bader,” here are four other matchups that ought to be made:
Ronaldo Souza vs. Vitor Belfort: Souza could not have been more impressive in his second Octagon outing, as he wrecked Yushin Okami with an overhand right and follow-up punches on the ground. The decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has finished his last five opponents, four of them inside one round, and could soon find himself challenging for middleweight gold in the UFC. Belfort last fought at UFC on FX 8 in May, when he wiped out former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold -- ironically, the last man to defeat Souza -- with a ridiculous spinning heel kick. He meets Dan Henderson in the UFC Fight Night 32 main event on Nov. 9.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson: Team Alpha Male’s Benavidez did his part towards securing a rematch with the flyweight champion, as he blitzed Jussier da Silva with a first-round knee strike and follow-up punches. The 29-year-old San Antonio native has won three fights in a row since losing to Johnson by split decision at UFC 152 in September 2012, taking care of business against “Formiga,” Darren Uyenoyama and Ian McCall. Johnson was in top form in July, as he submitted John Moraga with a fifth-round armbar at UFC on Fox 8 to defend his 125-pound crown.
Yushin Okami vs. Costas Philippou-Francis Carmont loser: A painful encounter with a “Jacare” right hand brought a quick halt to Okami’s modest three-fight winning streak. Still, he remains a fixture in the 185-pound division. A brutish judoka renowned for his ability to impose his will on others, Okami’s 13-5 mark inside the Octagon is impossible to ignore. Philippou and Carmont will lock horns at UFC 165 later this month in Toronto.
Jussier da Silva vs. John Moraga: Da Silva was never a factor in his matchup with the aforementioned Benavidez. Once hailed as the world’s premier flyweight, the 28-year-old Brazilian grappler was victimized by power punches and a brutal knee strike from the Team Alpha Male ace. Da Silva has lost two of his three fights since arriving in the UFC, clouding his place within a fledgling division. Moraga failed in his attempt to capture the 125-pound title in January, submitting to a fifth-round armbar from “Mighty Mouse.”