Despite losing two of its top three attractions on short notice, UFC Fight Night 182 on Saturday in Las Vegas still appears to have a surprisingly strong main card by 2020 standards. Thiago Santos-Glover headliner Teixeira could help determine the next Ultimate Fighting Championship’s next No.1 contender at 205 pounds – as long as Jan Blachowicz’s purported league title defense against middleweight boss Israel Adesanya doesn’t materialize – and everything in between on the menu offers a kind of interesting angle. Tanner Boser showed intriguing improvements ahead of his heavyweight co-event with Andrei Arlovski, and bantamweight Raoni Barcelos remains one of the organization’s most underrated talents. Toss two more fights with established veterans trying to fend off rising prospects, and it becomes a surprisingly tight five-fight affair. Now let’s move on to the UFC Fight Night ‘Santos vs Teixeira’ main map preview:
Thiago Santos (21-7) against Glover Teixeira (31-7)CHANCES: Santos (-230), Teixeira (+190)
The UFC light heavyweight waters are a bit muddy at the moment, especially after the news that Blachowicz will apparently defend his strap against Adesanya. However, the winner of this match should be well placed in a post-Jon Jones world. Santos has been well established for a few years now, but it’s worth reviewing how unlikely his rise to light heavyweight has been. Although he was successful in the second season of “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil,” Santos entered the UFC as a raw middleweight prospect who was due to retire from promotion on short notice. Cezar Ferreira finished it in under a minute, and Santos would likely have found himself kicked out of the UFC had he not cashed as a 6-1 underdog against Ronny Markes. That victory over Markes – in which Santos showed off his trademark brutal kicking game – was enough to give “Marreta” a foothold on the UFC roster, and he took advantage of that. opportunity since. For the following years, Santos was an exciting knockout artist who found himself on the sidelines of the UFC Top 10 at 185 pounds. Even so, he never thought of getting into a real argument, as fights with players like Gegard Mousasi and David Branch saw Santos quickly overwhelmed and finished. When a spot for the late main event against Eryk Anders at light heavyweight became available, Santos decided to make the jump to 205 pounds and hasn’t looked back since. It took three fights for Santos to climb to the top spot in his new weight class. After separating Anders from his senses, Santos won a mad brawl against Jimi Manuwa before sending off the aforementioned Blachowicz, who was no match for the Brazilian once he decided to take action. Santos then gave Jones everything he could manage, as the Brazilian presented a particularly difficult challenge for the greatest light heavyweight of all time. Jones’ game these days is built on reach and intimidation, which wasn’t so effective against Santos, a powerful kicker with a fearless mindset. In another universe, Santos is the man who toppled Jones, but instead we end up with a big guess. Santos suffered a serious knee injury at the end of the first round, and while the Brazilian gutted the rest of the fight, Jones came away with a narrow split decision victory. Today, 16 months later, “Marreta” is finally back against Teixeira.
Teixeira was expected to move quickly on the UFC light heavyweight ladder when he debuted in 2012, and he delivered on those expectations, winning a title against Jones less than two years later. However, Teixeira’s next fight saw him abandon a decision to Phil Davis in a flat performance, and he hasn’t really come close to the title contention since – at least until now. Teixeira sort of pulled off the weird trick of staying relevant and not gaining a lot of momentum, and his three-game winning streak after the Davis fight is a perfect example of that anomaly. Although the victories over Ovince St. A difficult period of three losses in five fights led most to write off Teixeira for good. His lack of speed was a total blame against Alexander Gustafsson, and Corey Anderson’s ability to continually beat the Brazilian with every move seemed to be a sign that Teixeira could no longer hold on to the new rising guard. Instead, Teixeira has spent the past two years returning to candidate status. Teixeira would almost always find himself struggling at first, but he would still manage to survive those early struggles and find a way to win his fight. Against former title challenger Anthony Smith in May, it was pretty much the same. Smith could injure Teixeira but couldn’t sideline him, at which point the Brazilian imposed a prolonged and brutal beating that cost “Lionheart” a few teeth. It was enough for everyone to realize that Teixeira, even at 41, could be as relevant as he has ever been, and that only becomes more true with a win over Santos.
It’s a one-fight coinflip, but it also involves simple dynamics. Either Santos writes a knockout in the first few moments of the fight, or Teixeira likely takes over and finds success from there. Teixeira is absolutely working at this point, and the first few minutes of her fights are almost always problems these days. However, despite all the damage Teixeira has suffered, Anthony Johnson remains the only man to cleanly eliminate the Brazilian in one fell swoop. Santos – at least the version prior to his knee injury in 2019 – is firmly in that tier when it comes to knockout power, which could easily decide this fight in a minute. Otherwise, Teixeira has the kind of style to give Santos trouble. While not fast, he’s constantly moving forward to try and get to his wrestling game, and the pressure has always resulted in Santos’ toughest fights. If opponents respect his power and remain cautious from a distance, Santos has time and space to set up his brutal kicking game. However, when opponents just came to terms with the fact that they were going to take damage, they managed to push Santos back and take away his best weapons, with Mousasi and Branch quickly gaining victories soon after. Teixeira is certainly able to do the same, assuming he can take the damage he’s going to eat as he gets close to Santos. The choice is for Teixeira to find a submission at the end of the first round.
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Boser contre Arlovski