UFC light heavyweight Glover Teixeira came into the UFC with a tremendous amount of hype surrounding him. He was riding a 15 fight win streak & was well known for finishing his opponents quickly.
Teixeira continued that trend with an impressive first round submission victory in his debut against Kyle Kingsbury at UFC 146 in May 2012.
Teixeira will step into the octagon for a second time this Saturday in his native Brazil against fellow countrymen Fabio Maldonado. Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson was the original opponent for Teixeira but was forced to pull out due to an injury suffered in training. Rampage was a much higher profile bout but a win is still necessary to keep the buzz around Teixeira going.
Maldonado is coming off two straight losses & his name does not carry the stature that Rampage Jackson does. A loss to a fighter with the disappointing recent record would derail Teixeira’s quick rise in the UFC. He has a ways to go before he receives a title shot but a win over someone of Rampage’s calibre would have garnered him a fight with a significant light heavyweight.
A victory over Maldonado will not mean as much in the court of public opinion but it is vital he wins or he will be forgotten about very quickly by the fickle fans.
With one of the most dominant champions ruling his division, Teixeira is one of the few newer faces looking to contend as quickly as possible. Champion Jon Jones has already defeated many of the recent former champions so new blood is required to keep the division fresh.
Maldonado does pose a threat as he has very good striking with the ability to knock his opponent out. Matched with Teixeira’s lengthy resume of knockouts it has fight of the night potential. If the striking war does not go Teixeira’s way he will have an advantage on the ground with his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Currently Maldonado holds a brown belt in the same discipline.
A loss on Saturday will force Teixeira to climb his way back up through several fighters before he can find his way into the top 10 & near contention. A win lines him up in potential bouts with many former champions to take that final one or two steps to a title opportunity. As we have seen in previous cards it can be difficult for some fighters to adjust & be successful when they have a late change in their opponent.
Teixeira can not let that be an issue & finish this fight once again. The fans are already beginning to get behind him due to his exciting style. Continuing that will build the excitement further & force the hand of UFC President Dana White & matchmaker Joe Silva to book him in a meaningful bout at or near the top of a pay-per-view card.
Fans always enjoy watching a fighter who is rousing & delivers the action as often as possible. That sort of a draw is also good business for the UFC. Teixeira may not appear to be in an important bout this weekend but it is vital he wins & continues his rise to keep the light heavyweight division intriguing.
Written by Mike McPhee
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