Glover Teixeira, Petr Yan and Khamzat Chimaev shine, referee fails to do his job

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Glover Teixeira eventually did it. At 42, the perennial light heavyweight contender defeated Jan Blachowicz by second round submission via rear bare choke in the principal occasion of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Saturday.

Teixeira grew to become the 14th undisputed UFC champion in the division and the oldest first-time champ in UFC background. So how did he pull off the upset, and what does it signify for his job?

In the co-key occasion, Petr Yan edged earlier Cory Sandhagen to get the UFC interim bantamweight title in a pretty entertaining fight, and he as soon as again exhibited that he is the elite fighter of the bantamweight division. The very last time he faced Aljamain Sterling, he built a psychological error that value him his title in the rematch, will he stay on keep track of and get back the title that numerous imagine need to nevertheless belong to him?

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Khamzat Chimaev (10-) created a major return with a dominant very first-spherical submission victory more than Li Jingliang. It was yet another stoppage victory for the welterweight contender in his initially combat in more than a yr. All of his victories have occur in advance of the closing bell, but will that pattern carry on when he faces a prime-5 contender in the division?

The late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov’s plan for the lightweight division ongoing to get condition with Islam Makhachev’s first-spherical victory in excess of Dan Hooker. Is it time for a title shot? And on the undercard, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos defeated Benoit Saint-Denis by final decision, but the greatest loser wasn’t Saint-Denis — it was referee Vyacheslav Kiselev, who unsuccessful to safeguard the fighters. Did the UFC do the appropriate issue by taking away him from refereeing other fights on the card?

Marc Raimondi, Brett Okamoto and Jeff Wagenheim react to the major tales from Saturday’s card.

Glover Teixeira, a really feel-excellent tale that shouldn’t overshadow a great effectiveness

Glover Teixeira, correct, took the light heavyweight title from Jan Blachowicz with a next-spherical submission victory. Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Wagenheim: As experience-good moments go, they you should not get a great deal more feel-fantastic than this just one.

Glover Teixeira turning into a UFC winner at age 42, 7 decades soon after he fell limited in his to start with shot at the mild heavyweight title, is in itself an inspiration for all to test and try yet again. But those people who would like to attract inspiration from the new champ ought not to eliminate sight of the way Teixeira arrived at his lifelong purpose.

The leadup to Saturday’s UFC 267 principal celebration in Abu Dhabi was all class, many thanks in component to Teixeira and also to the champ he was difficult, Jan Blachowicz. They showed respect for every single other at every moment, just as the co-main party opponents, Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen, had performed prior to and throughout their bantamweight interim title bout. These two matchups defied the common perception that overcome sports is all about grudges and signify-spirited intellect online games.

Teixeira truly shown what makes him a champion in several senses of the term — in each battling prowess and classy method to the match — all through a single telling second in the battle. Following taking Blachowicz to the canvas in the opening minute, and managing him there throughout Round 1 when landing elbows at every single chance, Teixeira listened to the horn sound and did not just halt combating. He arrived at out his hand and helped Blachowicz to his toes.

That’s Glover Teixeira. And that, as considerably as his age and combat background, is what helps make this a really feel-superior tale.

Of course, it surely does not feel excellent for Blachowicz. He hardly ever obtained going in this fight. But that was since of Teixeira, who created Blachowicz extra cautious than unsafe. Receiving taken down in the first moment and currently being smothered and smacked by an immovable opponent can just take a fighter out of his video game.

Blachowicz experimented with to struggle through his hesitation. He did land some potent punches early in the second spherical, and fended off various takedown attempts. But the takedown tries held coming, and when Teixeira succeeded in obtaining the bout back to the canvas barely a minute into the round, it appeared to be just a make any difference of time.

Teixeira is used to becoming affected person. The Brazilian waited for many years to get the U.S. visa that would enable him to compete in the UFC. He once again waited for a long time, just after getting rid of to then-champ Jon Jones in 2014, to receive an additional likelihood at a belt.

But at this instant there would be no waiting around. Teixeira immediately seized dominant determination and clamped on the rear-naked choke that built him the new champion. The to start with detail he did? He hugged the aged champion.

In his postfight interview in the cage, Teixeira spoke kindly of Blachowicz, expressing he loves him. Then he pointed out Jiri Prochazka in the group and humbly welcomed his problem, which would seem to be next. Prochazka simply held his palms in prayer posture and nodded, showing respect. As it must be.

Petr Yan is the very best bantamweight fighter on the planet — without a genuine belt

Raimondi: Petr Yan dug just one heck of a hole for himself, but he’s now one particular move closer to digging himself out.

Immediately after a get around Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267, Yan can totally lay declare to remaining the greatest bantamweight fighter in the environment. He most likely is just that. But he’s the interim champion now, not the undisputed a person. And the only individual to blame for that is Yan himself.

Yan was building a bantamweight title protection against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259 on March 6, but late in the fourth round, Yan landed a blatantly illegal knee to a kneeling Sterling and was disqualified. Sterling was awarded the title. If you like that simply call or not, Yan was the a single who created the quandary. He dropped target and blasted Sterling with a knee that was so evidently a foul it was absolutely breathtaking.

Yan and Sterling were being supposed to have a rematch Saturday, but Sterling, who continues to be the UFC bantamweight champion, withdrew 4 weeks in the past due to the fact he wouldn’t have been ready in time subsequent neck surgical procedure. Sandhagen looked like a classic lure struggle for Yan as he experimented with to perform himself back to the belt. But Yan was the excellent fighter. Soon after the to start with spherical, he took in excess of and landed significant left arms above and over — so lots of that the correct stated of Sandhagen’s experience turned a different color than the remaining side. Yan was excellent in an excellent, entertaining stylistic matchup.

But he shouldn’t have been battling for the interim title right here. He really should still be the UFC bantamweight winner. He really should in all probability be planning for a large-time matchup with former champ TJ Dillashaw upcoming. In its place, he’s holding a meaningless belt and hunting at a rebooked bout with Sterling. The entire point is definitely not ideal. But with any luck , Yan uncovered his lesson, nevertheless that is unclear. He joked about the unlawful knee at his open exercise session previously this week.

The truth continues to be, even though, that Yan is pretty probable the best 135-pound fighter on the earth. He just isn’t going to yet have the true belt to establish it, the 1 he lost because of to his very own mistake. It is really absolutely been a irritating chapter in his profession. From Sandhagen, he was equipped to retain that focus and see the victory by means of till the end. He’ll have to do that again versus Sterling if he is to get again that belt that quite a few really feel is rightfully his.

Give Khamzat Chimaev a prime welterweight contender — he’s ready



Throughout the to start with spherical, Khamzat Chimaev picks up Li Jingliang off the mat, carries him toward the fence and chats it up with Dana White.

Raimondi: Remember late last calendar year and early this year when Khamzat Chimaev was booked quite a few moments in a combat with prime UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards? The combat in no way transpired — Chimaev ended up with extended-haul COVID-19 troubles — but there was a sentiment that Chimaev just wasn’t ready for that style of drive. He had only fought 3 occasions in the UFC and his initial two opponents were being not primarily excellent. Yes, Chimaev finished all people bouts and appeared wonderful. He appeared to be 1 of the ideal prospective customers to appear together in some time. But Edwards? He was on a long profitable streak and his most latest loss was in 2015 against present winner Kamaru Usman.

Merge that lack of certainty in how good Chimaev really was, with him approximately retiring thanks to long lasting COVID-19 concerns, and there ended up a ton of issues coming into his return at UFC 267 against Li Jingliang. All those thoughts turned into comprehensive-fledged purple flags when it looked like Chimaev was attempting to sport the scale to make pounds Friday.

All of people problems can be put to mattress now. On Saturday, Chimaev absolutely ruined Li, ending with a rear-naked choke submission in the to start with spherical. Chimaev picked Li up appropriate absent for a takedown and yelled at UFC president Dana White though he was keeping Li off his toes. The complete point was an absolute spectacle — and an insanely extraordinary display screen of dominance more than another human staying. Chimaev received Li down, of training course, landed huge punches and then choked him right up until he was unconscious.

Li, by the way, is deemed 1 of the hardest guys at welterweight. Several fighters glance excellent against him. He experienced only been finished just one other time in his vocation. Chimaev just straight-up ruined him. If this is the form of overall performance he can have versus a stalwart like Li, I am not positive you can find everything the welterweight division can present him that Chimaev would not be completely ready for. I’m not saying Chimaev really should go out and battle Usman following. But would anybody be surprised if that battle was aggressive if it happened?

In any circumstance, Chimaev really should get a leading contender future. Deliver him a Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson or a Vicente Luque. Yes, Chimaev’s prepared. And possessing him struggle anyone who is not at the best of the division would be detrimental to his opponents’ health.

Referee Vyacheslav Kiselev did not do his work



UFC referee Vyacheslav Kiselev is taken off the UFC 267 card just after not halting the Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Benoit Saint-Denis combat.

Wagenheim: Referees have a difficult work. Let’s start out there. That is the case in all of modern-day sports, where the athletes and the motion concerning them are quicker and extra explosive than ever. In combat sports activities, this evolution provides into the equation a component that a ref in a single of the so-referred to as ball sporting activities does not encounter. In MMA and boxing, these rapid, explosive athletes are attempting to damage just about every other. Which is their career. The ref’s work is to protect the one particular who will get damage.

Kiselev did not do his work. As referee of a welterweight prelim concerning Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Benoit Saint-Denis, he failed to see Saint-Denis get badly damage in the next round. The fighter was sagging towards the cage, barely defending himself, throwing no offense back again at Zaleski dos Santos. Saint-Denis was finished. The combat should really have been stopped. It was shameful that Kiselev did nothing, just as it was shameful that Saint-Denis’ corner allowed him to go back again out for Spherical 3.

But let us go on to concentrate on who did do their work: the UFC regulators. They fulfilled proper after the bout and pulled Kiselev from his later on combat assignment. The circumstance definitely named for that abnormal transfer, and I am unquestionably, positively absolutely sure that not each athletic fee would have acted so quickly. It is admirable that the UFC regulators ended up nimble adequate to do what needed to be finished.

There is certainly an inherent conflict of interest when the UFC self-regulates, which occurs every time the promotion retains situations in locales with no commissions, normally outside the house the United States. Just one can consider the uproar if UFC regulators were being to intervene in a combat in a way that appeared to favor an athlete who’s a major earner for the corporation. But that’s a hypothetical conflict, and what UFC regulators confronted on this night in Abu Dhabi was as real as it will get. A fighter desired to be protected from his very own toughness. The UFC did what was ideal. The referee did not.

Let’s incorporate a person additional constructive. In the bout right after the Kiselev debacle, referee Jason Herzog noticed middleweight Roman Kopylov get the cage to reduce an Albert Durev takedown and split no cost from a clinch. Herzog right away halted the action, issued a warning to Kopylov and, most importantly, set the fighters back in clinch place towards the cage. Duraev then concluded his takedown, dominated the rest of the struggle and obtained his hand elevated by Herzog, who should think about himself also a winner in this bout.

Just one hopes Kiselev was backstage viewing on a Television set display and taking notes.

Islam Makhachev is a lightweight title challenger

Islam Makhachev, still left, celebrates his submission victory above Dan Hooker in a light-weight combat at UFC 267. Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Raimondi: Father’s approach is pretty a great deal continue to on observe. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, the father and coach of the famous Khabib Nurmagomedov, had a tactic laid out for the UFC light-weight division. Khabib was the finest champ in the history of the 155-pound body weight class in MMA. And the strategy was generally for Khabib to retire undefeated and go the torch to Islam Makhachev, Khabib’s longtime training associate and yet another a person of Abdulmanap’s star pupils. Abdulmanap died previous 12 months of COVID-19 complications. But his desire has lived on. Khabib is retired and now performing as a coach, subsequent in his father’s footsteps. Makhachev has now set himself in position for a title shot.

There is certainly not substantially else for Makhachev to demonstrate soon after halting Dan Hooker via Kimura submission in the initial round at UFC 267. He has gained nine straight and concluded his past a few opponents by way of submission. Some would argue that Makhachev could use an additional gain above a rated opponent — perhaps a person like Rafael dos Anjos, who was the initially scheduled foe Saturday ahead of obtaining wounded — to bolster his résumé. That is nonsense. We know every little thing we need to have to know about Makhachev. And objectively talking, that person is a title challenger. Likely the foreseeable future champion, far too. Just like Abdulmanap laid it out.

Now, I am not declaring Makhachev should leap the line always. Charles Oliveira will protect the lightweight title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 on Dec. 11 in Las Vegas. The winner of that could experience the winner of a matchup between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler, which is scheduled for future 7 days at UFC 268. If Gaethje wins, he need to be the future dude in line. But let us say Chandler and Oliveira both get. We observed that a single already, again at UFC 262 in Could. In a scenario like that, Makhachev ought to get the phone.

The only thing one particular could say for guaranteed is that connect with is coming at some position. It must be shortly. But at this point, Makhachev and a date with the UFC lightweight title feel unavoidable.

Magomed Ankalaev is a reputable challenge at gentle heavyweight

Magomed Ankalaev, left, dominated Volkan Oezdemir to acquire a unanimous choice in a light heavyweight combat at UFC 267. Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Okamoto: Feels like Ankalaev is going to be one of individuals fellas the place it usually takes a whilst for him to get traction as a title challenger, but he’s a actual menace at 205 kilos. In a way, it now has been a sluggish build for Ankalaev. It can be not like he just obtained in this article. He is been in the UFC due to the fact 2018 and his victory on Saturday more than Volkan Oezdemir was his seventh in a row.

He is much from a household name, on the other hand, likely mainly because of his reserved temperament — but he is economical. His striking protection is exceptional. Oezdimir has his faults as a fighter and his ceiling has lowered, in common, considering the fact that he came up shorter in a UFC title battle from Daniel Cormier in 2018. But he’s a veteran with electric power and Ankalaev totally neutralized him. I feel an correct subsequent combat for Ankalaev would be against Thiago Santos. We are going to see. But we cannot dismiss him in this division.