What a week for Glover Teixeira.
The Danbury, Connecticut native via Brazil celebrated his 42nd birthday on Thursday, then on Saturday he came out and became a UFC light heavyweight champion.
Teixeira stunned the mixed martial arts world by introducing Jan Blachowicz from Poland to claim the title at the main event of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi. Teixeira (33-7) won the tapout at the 3:02 mark of the second round and became the second-oldest fighter in UFC history to win a championship.
“Twenty years old, baby, 20,” Teixeira said. “I have no words to describe (this). Never give up on your dreams. “
A world-class fighter, Teixeira worked with his enemy from the beginning. He scored a takedown in the first round, but couldn’t get into position to work a submission.
In the second, however, he staggered Blachowicz (28-9) with a left hook, pushed him to the mat, used ground and pound shots and gave up almost immediately after sinking into the choke.
Teixeira won his sixth fight in a row and is second only to Randy Couture, who was 43 when he won the heavyweight title in 2007, for being the oldest fighter to win a UFC belt.
The co-main event was a fantastic battle for an interim bantamweight championship between Russia’s Petr Yan (16-2) and Colorado’s Cory Sandhagen.
This was a high-level hit at its finest, a match of burst and counter-attack chess. Sandhagen (14-4) got off to a fast start with a varied mix that kept Yan guessing. But Yan is a blunt power punch, and after losing the first round, he picked up the pace in the second and turned it up in the third.
A swinging back fist that landed flush and dropped Sandhagen was the turning point. From there, Yan dictated the pace and earned a unanimous decision with scores of 49-46 across the board.
Yan lost the bantamweight title by disqualification to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259. Yan was scheduled for a rematch with Sterling on this card, but Sterling withdrew, leading to this interim title fight.