The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to the UFC Apex for its second event since returning to Las Vegas from its second stint on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
UFC Vegas 13 featured a strong fight card with numerous finishes, featuring a light heavyweight contender showdown between No. 1 ranked Thiago Santos and No. 3 ranked Glover Teixeira.
Glover Teixeira survives multiple scares to tap Thiago Santos
Santos entered the fight coming off of a split-decision loss to then-champion Jon Jones in his most recent fight, which was in July of 2019. Teixeira carried a four-fight winning streak into the Octagon on Saturday night, having defeated Anthony Smith in May.
Santos landed some heavy punches early that rocked Teixeira in the first round, but he responded by shooting for the takedown. Santos kept landing blows, but Teixeira drug him to the canvas. Santos returned to his feet, but Teixeira maintained a body lock, tossed Santos back to the floor, and went to work from half guard with ground and pound.
Santos eventually gained full guard, but Teixeira remained heavy on him, grounding and pounding, as Santos was forced to work off his back until the end of the round.
In round two, Teixeira immediately went back to what worked in the first frame, putting Santos on his back. Quickly gaining a high position in the half guard, Teixeira dropped heavy punches and elbows on Santos, who was doing everything he could to keep Teixeira out of side control or full mount.
Teixeira landed a couple brutal elbows and briefly moved to full mount. Santos regained half guard, but Teixeira kept bombarding him with hammerfists and elbows en route to moving to side control. Teixeira moved to Santos’s back and sank a deep rear-naked choke, but the clock ran out before he could force the tap or put Santos to sleep.
Teixeira went back to the well as round three started, moving in for the takedown, but Santos caught him with a left hook that sent him reeling. Santos dropped on top of Teixeira, working from side control, delivering heavy punches and elbows to his head.
Teixeira escaped to his feet, body locked Santos and tossed him back to the mat. Not wanting to give Santos another opportunity to hurt him, he took his fellow Brazilian’s back and sunk in the fight-ending rear-naked choke that time ran out on in the second frame. This time, Santos had no choice but to tap.
UFC president Dana White recently said that middleweight champion Israel Adesanya would get the first crack at newly minted light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz. With Teixeira’s impressive victory and fifth consecutive win at 41 years of age, he makes a strong argument to jump ahead of Adesanya.
“Dana White, come on man, gonna make me wait man? I beat all these young guys, it’s not easy. Come on, give me that title shot man.”
Andrei Arlovski takes lackluster nod over Tanner Boser
Though we’ve come to expect heavyweights to deliver the big knockout blow, there was none to be had in the UFC Vegas 13 heavyweight co-main event between Andre Arlovski and Tanner Boser.
Each man was looking for the knockout, but that only served to keep them from delivering. Round after round, they danced around the Octagon, each looking to counter the other. Boser was the busier fighter, occasionally throwing an exploratory punch or kick, but neither man committed to a meaningful attack.
Boser landed more techniques, but Arlovski took the nod from the judges by landing a few significant strikes. At the end of round one, Arlovski landed a hard right hand that rocked Boser. In the second frame, he ended with a spinning backfist that punctuated the round.
Arlovski, in round three, finally opened up with a combination with about a minute left in the fight, driving Boser across the cage.
There was very little action, but Arlovski, at 41, scored the 30th victory of his career.
Raoni Barcelos makes a forceful move on the featherweight rankings
Raoni Barcelos and Khalid Taha traded hard shots early, but it was only a matter of time before the BJJ black belt put Taha on the canvas. Once there, Barcelos attacked with multiple submissions, but Taha did a good job reversing and returning the fight to standing. They finished the round exchanging strikes.
Much like the first frame, they started round two trading strikes. Taha looked especially good, as he fluidly shifted stances, trying to throw Barcelos’s timing off. All the while, both men were landing heavy punches, though Barcelos occasionally threw a kick or knee into the mix.
Barcelos’s variety finally caught up to Taha late in the second frame, when Barcelos rocked him with a punch and followed with a mixed flurry of punches and knees that had him staggered as the horn sounded.
Taha looked a little gun shy to start the third frame and Barcelos took advantage. He moved in with no regard for Taha’s striking, rocking him with punches and kicks before taking him to the ground. Barcelos took his back and worked for a choke, couldn’t get it, and then began working from top position in Taha’s half guard.
Taha scrambled and forced the fight back to standing, where he pressed Barcelos to the cage briefly before separating.
Taha threw everything he had at Barcelos as both men tired. Barcelos was the sharper fighter as the time ticked down, landing sharper punches and knees. But Taha never backed down, throwing with everything he had, even tagging Barcelos a couple more times just before the final horn.
The judges awarded Barcelos the victory with unanimous scores of 30-27.
Giga Chikadze lays out Jamey Simmons, calls for move up the fight card
Georgian fighter Giga Chikadze continued his climb up the featherweight division with the best performance of his five UFC bouts with a first-round knockout of Jamey Simmons.
Just under 4 minutes of the first frame, Chikadze landed a kick to Simmons’s midsection, then went high with a head kick that dropped him, and finished with a flurry of punches.
After the fight, Chikadze lobbied UFC president Dana White for a move up to the co-main or main event slot for his next fight.
Yan Xianon remains undefeated in the Octagon, defeats Claudia Gadelha
In early main card action, Yan Xianon earned the biggest victory of her career. She defeated No. 4 ranked strawweight Claudia Gadelha, using her sharp jab and movement to control the fight and negate much of Gadelha’s offense.
Ranked No. 8 in the division at the time of the fight, Xianon, now undefeated in her six UFC bouts, is sure to move up the rankings.
UFC Vegas 13: Santos vs. Teixeira results
UFC Vegas 13 Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
- Glover Teixeira def. Thiago Santos by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:49, R3
- Andrei Arlovski def. Tanner Boser by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Ian Heinisch vs. Brendan Allen— CANCELED
- Raoni Barcelos def. Khalid Taha by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Giga Chikadze def. Jamey Simmons by TKO (head kick and punches) at 3:51, R1
- Yan Xiaonan def. Claudia Gadelha by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
UFC Vegas 13 Preliminary Card (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
- Trevin Giles def. Bevon Lewis by TKO (punches) at 1:26, R3
- Alexander Romanov def. Marcos Rogério de Lima by technical submission (forearm choke) at 4:47, R1
- Darren Elkins def. Eduardo Garagorri by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:22, R3
- Max Griffin def. Ramiz Brahimaj by TKO (referee stoppage, ear injury) at 2:03, R3
- Gustavo Lopez def. Anthony Birchak by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:43, R1
Max Griffin on ear-slicing elbow: ‘It looked like a brain dangling from his head’ | UFC Vegas 13
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