After an excellent show last weekend, the UFC is back at Las Vegas’ UFC APEX facility this weekend for their 13th show there since the Covid-19 pandemic started.
This weekend sees a main event in the Light Heavyweight division between Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos, and plenty will be at stake given the high ranking of both men. Elsewhere, a number of former UFC champions and title contenders make this show one to watch.
Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Vegas 13: Santos vs. Teixeira.
Also, listen to the Cage Theory podcast for more on Anderson Silva's retirement and for a look ahead to the UFC Vegas 13: Santos vs Teixeira card!
#1 UFC Light Heavyweight Division: Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira
Along with fights like Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev and Ciryl Gane vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov, this fight almost sums up the UFC’s run during Covid-19 in a nutshell. Santos and Teixeira have been booked to face off three times previously – twice during the pandemic – only for the fight to be postponed due to both men testing positive for the virus.
Hopefully, things hold together this time, and the Brazilian duo can finally clash inside the Octagon. On paper, at least, this is one of the better fights that the UFC could’ve put together in the Light Heavyweight division.
Santos has not fought since his failed title challenge at UFC 239 in July 2019. That fight saw Marreta push Jon Jones about as hard as anyone had done previously. And had the Brazilian not suffered a severe knee injury early on, who knows what might’ve happened?
Prior to that, he’d been on a terrifying run – defeating four straight opponents, the last three by KO or TKO. In fact, his last win before the Jones fight came by KO against current UFC Light Heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz.
Essentially, Marreta is a brute-force striker, preferring to use heavy kicks to the legs and head as well as powerful, sweeping hooks. He’s massively offensive in his style, but his win over Blachowicz – and a more patient approach against Jones – also showed that he can be more cerebral than he’s given credit for.
He’ll clearly be looking to knock his opponent out again in this weekend’s fight – but despite 15 of his 21 career wins coming by KO or TKO, it’ll be a tricky task for him. Teixeira is a real veteran, and despite being 41 years old, he still appears to have a lot to offer at the top of the UFC’s 205lbs division.
A title challenger back in 2014 – also losing to Jones – Teixeira is currently on a four-fight win streak, most recently dispatching of Anthony Smith in ruthless fashion. A ridiculously heavy hitter, Teixeira’s style is more boxing-oriented than Santos’. He loves to chain combinations together and can also open up with heavy blows from the clinch.
The biggest difference between these two Brazilian fighters is in their ground game. Teixeira is fantastic on the mat. A genuine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, he has eight career wins by submission – five in the UFC – and from the top position, in particular, he’s a destroyer. If Teixeira gets full mount on an opponent, they’re in deep trouble.
On the other hand, Santos has shown some odd flashes of an improving ground game – most notably in his 2018 win over Kevin Holland – but has also had issues there too. He was inexplicably submitted in 2016 by Eric Spicely, for instance, and lost TUF Brazil fights to William Macario and Leonardo Santos when they took him down.
However, where Santos has an advantage here is in terms of speed. Teixeira is a heavy-handed striker, but he’s also one of the more plodding in the UFC’s 205lbs division. That makes him inherently hittable, and while only Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson have KO’d him, he’s been hurt by plenty of other fighters.
Essentially then, this fight should go one of two ways. Either Santos will use that speed advantage to land a powerful blow and take Teixeira out early on, or Glover will play it smart, take Santos down, and finish him off on the ground.
It’s a really tricky one to pick, basically because it’s so easy to imagine either man winning. However, based on the fact that Marreta has slowly improved his takedown defense, is five years younger than Teixeira, and is less shopworn, I’m going with him. He might not pick up an early finish, but I think he’ll hurt Teixeira in probably the second round and finish him off violently.