On Nov. 7, Glover Teixeira extended his win streak to five by submitting the No. 1 contender in the light heavyweight division Thiago Santos. This win vaulted Teixeira over Santos to become the new No. 1 contender, and made him the clear cut choice to be next in line for a title fight against current UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. Whether that will happen or not is to be determined. Right now it looks as if Blachowicz is interested in fighting current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in a super fight.
In the main event of the fight night on Nov. 7, Santos was the betting favorite going into the fight. Santos was a year removed from his last fight, where he took former champion and UFC legend Jon Jones the distance. Despite losing, Santos gained the respect of almost every MMA fan. Throughout his fight against Jon Jones, Santos tore his MCL, ACL, PCL and meniscus in his left knee, and reinjured his right knee. In the fight, his knee buckled on him multiple times and he was shown in visible pain throughout the fight. Despite these injuries, Santos showed the heart of a fighter and completed the fight. Over a year later after having both knees surgically repaired, people thought Santos would solidify himself as the next contender for the light heavyweight title.
Teixeira going into the fight as an underdog was no surprise, but the 41-year-old seemed like he was in the best form of his career going into the fight against Santos. Teixeira was riding a four fight win streak, and most recently had an impressive TKO victory over top five contender Anthony Smith. Teixeira has been in the UFC since 2012 and has had one title shot. That title shot, as did Santos’ came against Jon Jones at UFC 172 back in April of 2014, and just like Santos, Teixeira lost a five round decision to Jon Jones. Since then, Teixeira has been a mainstay in the top 10 rankings of the light heavyweight division, but up until now he had been struggling to put together enough consecutive impressive wins to put himself back in the title picture. This fight against Santos gave him an opportunity to make himself undeniable.
Early in the first round, Santos came very close to ending Teixeira’s night with an early knockout, but Teixeira was able to absorb some big shots from Santos. He eventually took Santos to the ground where Teixeira would prove to be the better fighter. After a close first round, during the second round Teixeira started showing he was the better fighter. Immediately taking Santos down and punishing him on the ground for the whole round, Teixeria would have submitted Santos had the time in the round not run out. The third round started with fireworks, Santos surprisingly dropped Teixeira to the ground with a stiff left jab. Santos would attempt to pound Teixeira out, but Texeira was able to absorb the strikes and get back to his feet. Once Teixeira got to his feet he was able to take the back of Santos, take him to the ground and apply a rear naked choke on Santos, which would make Santos tap out 1 minute and 49 seconds into the third round.
Teixeira would be a lock to face Blachowicz if Adesanya did not have an interest in taking the light heavyweight title. The reason Adesanya wants to win the title is because of his beef with Jon Jones. Jones, who gave up the light heavyweight title to move up to heavyweight, has had some heated interactions with Adesanya, so Adesanya wants to take the title Jones used to have to tempt him to come back to the light heavyweight division and fight him. Adesanya naturally is a middleweight, and him going up to heavyweight to fight Jones is not feasible. It is quite a shame for Teixeira who is clearly the most deserving of a title shot, but the UFC is a business and an Adesanya versus Jones fight would make big money. Teixeira should get the next title shot versus Blachowicz, and then Adesanya can face the winner of that fight if he still wants to move up to light heavyweight in hopes of getting a fight against Jones.