UFC 267: Błachowicz vs. Teixeira Preview

Mixed Martial Arts fans are in for a treat this Saturday as the first free to air PPV since UFC 138 is set to go down in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Jan Błachowicz will defend his light-heavyweight crown when he steps in to face Glover Teixeira in the main event. The vacant bantamweight title will also be on the line as Petr Yan takes on Cory Sandhagen.

The perfect stage has been set for this main event on Fight Island where we will see two light-heavyweight veterans of the game square off for the 205-pound title. Glover Teixeira will get his second crack at winning gold, and deservingly so after amassing a five-fight win streak. The champ, Jan Błachowicz will defend his title for the second time. The tactics surrounding this fight are quite simple. What Teixeira will try to do is take this fight to the ground and grind on his Polish rival. The Brazilian has heavy hands and does have knockout power but Glovers best work is when he takes his opponents down and puts them in deep water. The submission skills of Teixeira are next to none, but his top control is exceptional and if he can’t get the sub he will make sure to land nasty ground and pound. That is what Błachowicz will need to avoid in this fight at all costs.

The champion has proved the doubters wrong time and time again. Big Jan went in there in his last fight and out stuck Israel Adesanya on the feet and showed a solid game plan by taking Izzy down in the latter stages of that fight. That ain’t easy to do. Against Dominik Reyes we seen the legendary Polish power as Jan picked up a knockout win in the second round to win the title. Cory Anderson has also felt that power as has Luke Rockhold. Błachowicz will be looking to get off those kind of shots on Glover, who has been brutally knocked out on more than one occasion. Will Glovers chin hold up over five rounds? Will Jan be able to keep his Brazilian counterpart from taking him down? hose are the big question that are waiting to be answered on Saturday. I can not wait to see how this championship fight unfolds.

The co-main event will also host a hotly contested title fight with the vacant bantamweight title on the line. Petr Yan will test his striking skills against Cory Sandhagen, who himself is a very dynamic striker. Petr Yan was enroute to victory against Aljamain Sterling before he landed an illegal knee when Sterling was grounded. The fight was stopped due to the strike, Sterling was unable to continue so he was awarded the title as a result of the disqualification. That must have left a bitter taste in the Russians mouth and he will be looking to right those wrongs and win his title back on Saturday.

Sandhagen is not long off his five round war with Tj Dillashaw which only took place three months ago. It was a close knit affair, many thought Sandhagen did enough to win, ultimately the judges rewarded Dillashaw the split decision. I personally don’t think Sandhagen has given himself enough time to recover from that battle but at the same time, how do you turn down a title shot. Cory got hit a lot moving forward that Dillashaw fight, he was dominated in the clinch for large portions of the fight too. That must change here as he steps in to face Yan. You don’t want to be moving forward recklessly or giving up any positions in the clinch against Yan.

Petr Yan has surprising power for a guy who isn’t a huge bantamweight. His ability to up the pace in latter stages in fights has caused his opponents massive problems. His inside clinch game is excellent and the Russian is super dangerous with elbows and strikes while separating from the clinch. Furthermore the former champion has some excellent trips and sweeps in which he uses so well to keep his rivals guessing. I really enjoy watching Petr Yan fight, the man never stops moving forward and throw his strikes with serious venom. I think the quick turnaround will hinder Sandhagen in this fight, I reckon that Petr Yan finishes this fight in the championship rounds. This will be an explosive matchup.

The legend that is Dan Hooker takes on top lightweight contender Islam Makhachev in a classic striker vs. grappler contest. It’s a tough fight for Hooker, especially on short notice but I would give him a slither of hope in the early stages of this fight. Makhachev will certainly be looking to take this fight down and go to work, something he has done so well in his UFC tenure. I think Islam will be hunting for a finish and a finish will see him rewarded with a title shot or a title eliminator fight. That should provide Khabib’s protege enough motivation to get the job done.

Also on the stacked main card will be the return on “The Wolf”, Khamzat Chimaev. The Swedish based fighter returns after a lengthy battle with Covid-19. Reports say Chimaev was hit bad with the virus and he flirted with retirement during his spell on the sidelines. He has a tough test coming back against Chinese standout Jingliang Li. “The Leech” likes to stand and bang, that’s because he carries huge power in both hands and boasts eight knockouts in his career so far. I think that if we see the Khamzat of old in the octagon, I think he gets the job done with relative ease. I’m excited for the return of Chimaev and I do hope he is back to full health so that we can see the best version of him.

Rounding off the main card are two more fantastic showdowns. In the heavyweight division, Alexander Volkov and Marcin Tybura will lock horns in what should be an intriguing battle. Volkov has the clear height and reach advantage and it will be the job of Tybura to get inside and figure out that puzzle. Opening up the card is a light-heavyweight contest between two heavy hitters. Volkan Oezdemir will be looking to get over the disappointment of his first knockout loss by the hands of Jiří Procházka. Ankalaev has won his last seven, four of those wins came by way of knockout. These two men are going to stand and bang. I would be very surprised to see this fight go all three rounds. Ankalaev is a beast, I would expect him to to be the victor in this opening fight of the main card. I think he will be a big threat in the 205-pound division.

Amanda Ribas will looking to turn her fortunes around in the women’s strawweight division. She will take on fellow Brazilian Virna Jandiroba looking to get back inside the win column after losing her last fight against Marina Rodriguez. That loss put a halt to a five fight win streak for Ribas and Jandiroba will want to pile on the misery to her fellow countrywoman. Only Carla Esparza and Mackenzie Dern have gotten a win over “Carcará” who has 13 submission wins to her names. The key for her to get the win in this encounter will be doing what she does best and that is using her grappling. Fun fight to headline the prelims section.

Zubaira Tukhugov, who infamously attacked Conor McGregor in the aftermath of UFC 229, will take on Ricardo Ramos in the 145-pound division. The Russian is coming off a split decision loss to Hakeem Dawodu, Ramos was victorious over Bill Algeo in his last trip to the octagon. Two fellow Russians will square off in the middleweight division as Albert Duraev and Roman Kopylov are set to lock horns. Undefeated French prospect Benoit Saint-Denis will make his UFC debut against experienced veteran Elizeu Zaleski in the welterweight division. Saint-Denis has been tearing it up on the Middle-East scene with Brave CF and I’m excited to see him compete in the UFC. Michał Oleksiejczuk won a close split decision over Modestas Bukauskas in his last encounter, the polish 205er will step in to take on undefeated Russian Shamil Gamzatov.

Lerone Murphy is one of the most underrated fighters on the UK scene and I can not wait to see he come up against Makwan Amirkhani in the featherweight division. Amirkhani has his back against a wall coming into this scrap having only won 1 of his last four fights and losing his last. “Mr. Finland” is going to have his hands full in this encounter too. Murphy carries big power and has great defensive grappling which he uses to keep the fight standing. Those skills will certainly be put to the test because Amirkhani is going to want to get this down and use his grappling which has brought him great success so far in his career. If Makwan can’t get this fight down, well, he’s in for a world of trouble here. Murphy will be head hunting as always but doesn’t overextend himself in a way that affects his speed and cardio all that much. You should tune in early to watch this fight, Murphy is unmissable, he’s coming off the biggest win of his career and will be looking to build on that success.

Yaozong Hu is in search of his first UFC win after two attempts. The Chinese middleweight will step in against Andre Petroski who came of Season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter and won on his octagon debut. Allan Nascimento will make his promotional debut in the opening bout of the card. The Brazilian steps in to face Tagir Ulanbekov who beat Bruno Silva in his first fight under the UFC banner. This will be a fantastic card from start to finish, don’t get caught out by the earlier start time and enjoy the fights!

Main Card

Light Heavyweight Title: Jan Błachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira

Vacant Bantamweight Title: Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen

Lightweight: Islam Makhachev vs. Dan Hooker

Heavyweight: Alexander Volkov vs. Marcin Tybura

Welterweight: Li Jingliang vs. Khamzat Chimaev

Light Heavyweight: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Volkan Oezdemir

Preliminary Card

Women’s Strawweight: Amanda Ribas vs. Virna Jandiroba

Featherweight: Ricardo Ramos vs. Zubaira Tukhugov

Middleweight: Albert Duraev vs. Roman Kopylov

Welterweight: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Benoît St. Denis

Light Heavyweight: Michał Oleksiejczuk vs. Shamil Gamzatov

Featherweight: Makwan Amirkhani vs Lerone Murphy

Middleweight: Hu Yaozong vs. Andre Petroski

Flyweight: Tagir Ulanbekov vs. Allan Nascimento

Ian O'Neill is the host of the SevereMMA UFC Preview show and one of the co-hosts of The Auld Triangle - Irish MMA podcast. You can find more of Ian's work on the SevereMMA Patreon where he co-hosts The Chasing Pack and The Contender. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma

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