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Glover Teixeira refused to give in.
The respected Brazilian veteran on Saturday likely cemented himself as the No. 1 contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division, as he submitted Thiago Santos with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their UFC on ESPN 17 headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. In his first appearance since July 6, 2019, Santos (21-8, 13-7 UFC) capitulated 1:49 into Round 3.
Teixeira (32-7, 15-5 UFC) walked through hellfire to secure one of the most significant victories of his 39-fight career. Hurt on multiple occasions, the former Shooto Brazil champion turned to his takedowns, world-class grappling and destructive ground-and-pound to neutralize another knockout-minded opponent. He dominated Santos in the second round and cinched a rear-naked choke in the closing seconds of the period. Only the bell could stop him.
Santos denied his countryman’s first takedown attempt of Round 3, blasted him with a left hook, swoopped into top position and applied some ground-and-pound of his own. Teixeira remained calm under considerable duress, forced a scramble and eventually moved back into top position, his countless hours of experience in the cage and on the mat paying dividends yet again. By then, Santos was out of gas. “Maretta” surrendered his back, and Teixeira clamped down on the choke to prompt the tapout.
The 41-year-old Teixeira has recorded five straight victories, four of them finishes.
Ageless Arlovski Upends Boser
American Top Team’s Andrei Arlovski won for the third time in four outings, as he laid claim to a forgettable unanimous decision over Tanner Boser in the three-round heavyweight co-main event. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Arlovski (30-19, 19-13 UFC), who continues to find new life beyond age 40.
Boser (19-7-1, 3-2 UFC) piled up points with leg kicks, but he lacked the firepower he needed to seize control. Arlovski once again struggled in the output and aggression departments. However, when he landed, he did so with authority. He connected with a spinning backfist at the end of the second round and planted a right hand on Boser that sent the off-balance Canadian careening backward into the cage. “The Bulldozer” did not appear to be hurt by the impact of either shot, but in a fight that was pedestrian in every sense of the word, the optics did nothing to bolster his case on the scorecards.
Arlovski, who turns 42 in February, will head to his next assignment on the heels of back-to-back victories.
Ascendent Barcelos Handles Taha
A free-flowing, multi-pronged offensive attack spurred former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Raoni Barcelos to a unanimous decision over Khalid Taha in a three-round bantamweight barnburner. A short-notice replacement for Jack Shore, Barcelos (16-1, 5-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks from all three judges.
Despite being outgunned, Taha (13-3, 1-2 UFC) never stopped returning fire. Barcelos took out the 2017 Rizin Fighting Federation Bantamweight Grand Prix semifinalist’s base with repeated kicks to the lower leg, mixed in stepping knees and fired off one multi-punch volley after another across 15 wildly entertaining minutes. He put Taha in real danger in Round 1, where he delivered a takedown, achieved full mount and advanced to the back before threatening with a rear-naked choke. Brutal combinations to the head and legs allowed Barcelos to keep his nose in front during the second and third rounds, even as his resilient opponent did his best to counter those efforts.
Barcelos, 33, has won nine fights in a row.
Chikadze Kick Fells Krause-Simmons
Kings MMA’s Giga Chikadze wiped out James Krause-Simmons with a head kick and follow-up punches in the first round of their featherweight feature. Krause-Simmons (7-3, 0-1 UFC) bowed out 3:51 into Round 3, his three-fight winning streak having run its course.
Chikadze (12-2, 5-0 UFC) fought with patience and poise, as he took time to size up the Octagon newcomer. In the second half of the first round, he blasted Krause-Simmons with a body kick and followed immediately with a head kick that floored the Caged Aggression MMA champion where he stood. Chikadze pursued him to the canvas and brought it to a close with unanswered punches.
A rising star at 145 pounds, Chikadze has rattled off seven consecutive victories.
Surging Yan Tops Gadelha
Crisp punching combinations, excellent takedown defense and stellar work in the clinch carried Xiaonan Yan to a unanimous decision over Claudia Gadelha in a three-round women’s strawweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Yan (13-1, 6-0 UFC), who remains undefeated inside the Octagon.
Gadelha (18-5, 7-5 UFC) executed a pair of takedowns in the first round but failed to consolidate them with damage or positional control. Otherwise, her efforts proved ineffective. Yan utilized a penetrating jab and paired it with two- and three-punch bursts in the second and third rounds. More importantly, she managed to stay upright and frustrated Gadelha in tie-ups along the fence.
The loss put an end to Gadelha’s modest two-fight winning streak.
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