Glover Teixeira stopped Jan Blachowicz by submission in the second round at UFC 267 on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi, with the 42-year-old Brazilian veteran claiming Blachowicz’s light heavyweight belt and becoming the oldest first-time champion in UFC history.
Teixeira (33-7) finished the 38-year-old Blachowicz (28-9) by rear naked choke in an impressive upset victory that capped a remarkable late-career surge.
“Twenty years, baby, 20,” Teixeira said. “I have no words to describe. Never give up on your dreams. I’m breaking the rules at 42 years old, and I’m gonna keep breaking those rules.”
Petr Yan also won an interim bantamweight title with a hard-hitting decision victory over Cory Sandhagen. Earlier, rising stars Islam Makhachev and Khamzat Chimaev returned to the cage with impressive wins on the show at the Etihad Arena.
Blachowicz was a significant favourite in the second-oldest combined title fight in UFC history, but Teixeira earned his sixth consecutive victory in style. After largely controlling the first round, Teixeira made an exceptional takedown in the second round and worked his way into position to sink the winning choke at 3:02.
Teixeira hadn’t fought for a UFC title since 2014, when his 20-fight winning streak was snapped in a clear decision loss to Jon Jones. After struggling through a 5-5 stretch of his career, Teixeira rededicated his training and reeled off five straight victories since the start of the 2019 to earn this title shot.
Blachowicz never got to unleash much of his famed striking strength, dubbed ``Polish Power’’ by his fans. He struggled on the ground against Teixeira’s jiu-jitsu and fell short in his second defence of the title he won by beating Dominick Reyes last year.
Teixeira becomes the second fighter to hold the UFC’s 205-pound belt since Jon Jones left the division he dominated for much of the past decade in a bid to move up to heavyweight.
Earlier, Yan (16-2) reasserted his claim to the bantamweight belt by beating Sandhagen (14-4) in a thrilling match of elite strikers.
Yan won the bantamweight belt last year in Abu Dhabi, but lost it to Aljamain Sterling in March when Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee strike in the fourth round of a bout he appeared to be winning in Las Vegas. The UFC decided to award an interim belt to the winner of Yan’s showdown with Sandhagen because Sterling isn’t ready to return from neck surgery.
Yan and Sandhagen traded a wide variety of strikes and ground moves in a high-level technical fight that thrilled Abu Dhabi’s fans. Yan got the better of more exchanges and won 49-46 on all three cards.
Chimaev (10-0), a popular pick to contend for the welterweight belt in the near future, dominated Li Jingliang in his first fight since early last year. Chimaev had been sidelined by Covid-19 and other difficulties.
He returned to the cage with a remarkable opening takedown of Li, picking up his Chinese opponent shortly after the opening bell and then carrying him over to the side of the cage, where he said a few words to UFC President Dana White before throwing Li to the canvas.
Chimaev eventually finished by rear naked choke midway through the first round. His last three opponents have been unable to land one significant strike.
Makhachev (21-1) continued his roll with a first-round submission victory over veteran Dan Hooker, ending it with a kimura near the midway point of the first round. The Dagestani veteran has won nine straight fights since 2015, including three wins in 2021.