The UFC Light Heavyweight Championship is on the line when Jan Blachowicz battles Glover Teixeira at UFC 267 this Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Blachowicz vs. Teixeira is one of two title fights happening this weekend at the special non-pay-per-view numbered event. In the co-main event, Petr Yan will meet Cory Sandhagen in an interim UFC Bantamweight Championship fight.
Continue reading for our Blachowicz vs. Teixeira staff predictions and fight analysis.
Blachowicz vs. Teixeira Betting Odds
The champion enters this fight as a sizable betting favorite at odds of -290. The former title challenger, Teixeira, will step into the cage as a +230 underdog.
- Blachowicz: -290
- Teixeira: +230
What makes this fight so compelling is that every time Glover Teixeira is in a fight, you cannot look to the first round as an indicator of what the nature of the match will be. That is to say, you can never count him out no matter how dire it looks for him early.
Jan Blachowicz, I believe, should win this fight. Of the two I think he dictates range better, and he has more weapons at various ranges, from kicking range especially his hard body kicks, and tricky high and low kicks can give Glover trouble. Glover by comparison is very much a boxer in MMA, he will look to thud heavy low kicks from a bit further to remind his opponents he is still a threat there, but by far he is more dangerous in the pocket. Even when he fires head kicks, it’s usually inside a flurry of punches when his opponent is against the fence.
Jan will use his range well with his kicks, stay just barely out of range when his opponents throw, and then use quick shooting movements to get inside his striking range. Teixeira prefers bobbing and weaving his way into range rather than exploding and spending time in the pocket because he has fundamental but educated boxing, and both men have the power to absolutely back their boxing up.
The problem is, while Blachowicz poses more of a threat on the outside, and Glover may be more overall skilled on the inside, Blachowicz has a particularly slick short left hook, and he is particularly good at landing in the transitional period when a clinch is broken. Therefore although I would favor Teixeira chances if they stand in the pocket and exchange, the moment the scramble becomes wild enough to transition ranges, clinch up and break, Blachowicz becomes exponentially more dangerous.
In terms of grappling, both men are black belts, but Teixeira is another level of black belt, he is amazing at keeping his opponents flat to the mat when he is establishing control and ground and pound and what you will often see is him framing or taking the time to constantly flatten them before continuing to attack with punches. By doing so, it’s a slower approach but his opponents find themselves taking damage or being controlled so long they have to get desperate if they want to make up the round, and often Teixeira will take advantage of this desperation.
The big question is whether or not Teixeira can take Blachowicz down, in the past we’ve seen Teixeira knock fighters down, and takedown fading opponents but he isn’t always one to win out the pure wrestling exchanges. Blachowicz has great takedown defense but more importantly, he makes you pay when they fail with strikes, so for Teixeira, it’s especially important that he picks his opportunities to put Jan down, and not get over-excited with his takedowns.
Overall, I think that it’s an extremely close fight, but Blachowicz has the style to dictate the range and make Teixeira pay if cannot finish the takedown.
Prediction: Jan Blachowicz via KO
Blachowicz moves well for his size, especially laterally, to evade and block his opponent’s strikes. Then, when he plants, he unloads the famous Polish Power. The champ lands, on average 3.6 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 2.8; and, with that real power, when he lands, he often lands heavier than his opponent. His fundamentals, combined with speed and power, make him a dangerous kickboxer. In the grappling department, Blachowicz is once again often overlooked. He averages 1.1 takedowns per fight and is able to stuff takedowns at a respectable 65% clip. Further, he has finished 9 fights by submission; so, Blachowicz, just like when striking, is adept at getting the finish. The critics of the champ will likely point to his level of competition. Recently, Blachowicz has only faced 1 true light heavyweight who is still in the UFC in his last 5 fights. The others have traditionally been middleweights. This size discrepancy has helped him maintain his edge in power and given him an advantage in strength when grappling. However, being the larger man often means being slower; yet, against high-level middleweights, Blachowicz was able to have the edge in power while keeping pace in the speed and cardio department. Overall, the champ is one of the highest-level “well-rounded” fighters in the UFC. He does everything well; but, his Polish Power is what elevated him to champion status.
Teixeira’s recent story, winning 5 in a row to get a title shot at 41, is one to warm the hearts of many UFC fans. Despite his age, Teixeira is still slugging, spry, and slick in the octagon. His biggest edge, as it often has been during his impressive career, is his wrestling. Teixeira is a strong, technical, and grinding wrestler who is going to continue to move forward and hunt the takedown no matter the obstacles. He averages 2 takedowns per fight at a 40% success rate and has finished 9 fights by submission. Recently, we’ve seen Teixeira get rocked on the feet, almost knocked out, then grab his opponent’s hips, drag him down, and go to work on the mat for a finish. He can rally to victory after nearly being finished because of his solid chin, innate wrestling, and octagon experience. On the feet, Teixeira’s defense is starting to be more porous and reliant on his chin compared to evading strikes. His path to victory is similar to his recent fights: survive a big shot, get a takedown, end the fight, and defy all odds.
I have predicted and bet against Teixeira more than once during his incredible resurgence. On paper, with his negative strike differential, minimal head movement, and fading one-shot power, Teixeira should struggle against technical and powerful light heavyweights. But, he survived and won. I am going back to the well again though and fading him. I see Blachowicz as being too fast, too technical, too powerful, and too reliable of a defensive grappler to lose here. Teixeira will likely keep it close and exciting; but, eventually, the champ will find the shot he needs to keep the belt.
Prediction: Blachowicz by KO/TKO