Glover Teixeira floors Ryan Bader in first round
It's now official: Glover Teixeira erased any doubt that he is ready to fight for the UFC light heavyweight championship. Teixeira cemented himself as the man most likely to get the Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson winner with an impressive first-round TKO on Wednesday night over Ryan Bader in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
"It doesn't matter who has the belt, whether it's Jon Jones or Alexander Gustafsson; that belt is mine," Teixeira said after extending his win streak to 20 and improving to 22-2 overall.
Teixeira, who entered the UFC to a ton of hype, was on a mission to prove the attention was warranted. He entered the cage confident but seemed more animated than usual. It's possible he was feeling the pressure.
However, once the horn sounded to start the fight, he and Bader immediately went to work. Bader, who had vowed to use his wrestling, did so right out of the gate. He attempted a takedown of Teixeira that the Brazil native stuffed. Teixeira surprised Bader with a takedown of his own seconds later. The two got to their feet shortly thereafter, and the fun began.
Bader momentarily stunned Teixeira with a short right hand. But he made the mistake of trying to finish the bout at that point. He got into an exchange with Teixeira, an absolute no-no.
During the exchange of punches, a now clear-headed Teixeira connected with a right hook that sent Bader to the canvas. Teixeira quickly jumped on Bader, who could no longer effectively defend himself, forcing the referee to step in and wave off the bout.
"He was able to give me a punch and make me fall down," Teixeira said. "But I saw everything that was coming; I knew exactly what was happening. And I was able to use that as an opportunity for me. I knew that as he knocked me down that he was going to come with his guard open because he would try to submit me. But that's the opportunity I used and was able to give him a strong hold between his arms and end the fight."
Although the crowd cheered loudly for Teixeira, he was not as enthusiastic afterward. "To tell you the truth, I wasn't happy with this fight. He knocked me down. One of my problems was that I had too much self-confidence, but this was a wake-up call."
Franklin McNeil is an MMA columnist for ESPN. This article first appeared on ESPN