MMAmania.com resident fighter analyst — and aspiring professional fighter — Andrew Richardson breaks down the mixed martial arts (MMA) game of UFC Fight Night 109’s Glover Teixeira, who will look to score another big finish this Sunday (May 28, 2017) inside Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden.
Heavy-handed Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Glover Teixeira, will look to take out fellow former title challenger, Alexander Gustafsson, this Sunday (May 28, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 109 inside Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden.
Teixeira may not have made his name known to UFC audience until 2012, but he’s been one of the very best Light Heavyweights in the world for over a decade now. Recently, a trio of finishes had “Hands of Stone” climbing close to a title shot, but a sudden knockout loss at the hands of “Rumble” Johnson foiled those plans.
Since then, Teixeira bounced back with a dominant if uneventful win over Jared Cannonier. Now, he’ll return to facing elite competition and ideally jump back into the title mix.
Let’s take a closer look at his skill set:
Teixeira hits like a Heavyweight. Living up to his nickname, the Brazilian has finished 14 of his opponents via knockout. While his striking game is not particularly complex, the right combination of power, experience and durability can be tremendous anyway. For the most part, Teixeira relies upon his boxing. More accurately, Teixeira often simply looks to his right hand. Since a successful cross or hook from Teixeira usually stuns his opponent and can easily end the fight, there’s a certain level of sense to Teixeira’s approach.
Simple, but effective, could be the tagline to many great fighters.
Much of the time Teixeira fights, he’s stalking his opponent looking for his right hand over the top. His pressure forces his opponent to respond, and Teixeira is just waiting for his opponent to flick out a jab or even a left hook. Once that happens, Teixeira will slip inside and look to land the cross counter (GIF).
If his opponent is hesitant to throw, Teixeira is fine with leading as well. Teixeira is still focused on landing his right, but he has a few different set ups. For example, he’ll do a nice job with his jab and left hook to force his opponent to cover before slamming home his right around the guard. For a fighter that rarely uses it, Teixeira’s jab is rather sharp and should definitely be thrown more often.
In addition, Teixeira is more than willing to lead with his right hand. He comes forward with the straight often, following up with a powerful left hook (GIF), which lands best on foes looking to back away from the exhange. On occasion, Teixeira will also simply just attack with alternating hooks, which is particularly effective when Teixeira’s opponent is backed into the fence.
For the sake of variety, Teixeira also has a strong right uppercut in his arsenal. Once his opponent begins to react to the threat of Teixeira’s hooks or is simply threatening with level changes, Teixeira will look to time his movement with the uppercut (GIF).
Teixeira does a nice job of mixing it up to the body as well, largely with his straight right hand. This helps keep him a bit more unpredictable, in addition to all the standard benefits of body punching. In particular, body shots were very effective for him opposite “Rampage” Jackson, who’s generally a difficult man to hit cleanly. However, Teixeira’s body work eventually took its toll and had Jackson’s hands lowered, allowing him to score with big punches to the chin more often.
It’s worth mentioning that Teixeira is a solid combination boxer when he tries to put it all together. Usually, this is when his opponent is hurt, as Teixeira is excellent at stringing together power punches to put away a stunned foe (GIF).
It’s rarely utilized, but Teixeira has a decent kicking game. After his opponent backs away from Teixeira’s punches, the Brazilian will occasionally follow up with a left low or high kick. Finishing combinations with kicks is a smart part of Teixeira’s game, as it encourages his opponent to trade with him.
Defensively, Teixeira’s willingness to trade punches is certainly a dangerous habit. Furthermore, he can be too reliant on the cross counter. For example, Teixeira threw his overhand at air multiple times at Bader, as he was overeager. Ryan Bader took note, baiting him into a left hook and dropping Teixeira.
A strong man with solid set ups and agility, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Teixeira is such an effective wrestler. Offensively, he’s proven to be quite a handful, and his takedown defense has only disappointed once in a flat performance against an NCAA champion.
Teixeira always initiates his takedown by changing levels for a single-leg takedown. He usually finishes by running the pipe with a dump, driving his opponent’s hips down into the mat (GIF). If his opponent keeps his balance, Teixeira will switch directions and drive through him with a double. Between those two basic finishes and his ability to fluidly chain them together, Teixeira has managed to take down most of his opponents.
Inside the Octagon, Teixeira has relied on his wrestling a few times. For one, he successfully threw Jackson to the mat multiple times, which has never been an easy task (GIF). More recently, Teixeira relied on his power double-leg takedown a few times against Ovince Saint Preux, although that switch was largely because of desperation.
Without his takedown game, Teixeira would’ve been in bad shape.
Once he takes down his opponent, Teixeira is capable of finishing the fight with brutal ground strikes. An active guard passer, the Brazilian looks to move into at least half guard before opening up. Once in a controlling position, Teixeira will posture up above his opponent and throw heavy strikes.
If Teixeira can secure a mount, the fight is basically over. He climbs very high on his opponent’s hips, limiting his ability to bridge and shake the Brazilian off of him. In addition, his tight hips prevent elbow escapes while allowing him to posture. From there, he starts to hammer away with punches and elbows. In UFC, Teixeira’s continual punishment from the mount position — and most others — eventually forced the referee to call off the tremendously violent beating of Fabio Maldonado.
Prior to his bout with Davis, Teixeira had successfully shut down each of his opponents’ attempts to bring the fight to the mat. In fact, he stuffed plenty of Davis’ shots, too. However, a few key errors mid-fight allowed Davis to routinely gain top position and control.
Though Davis rarely finished his initial shot, he found plenty of success transitioning into the back clinch, where he could weigh on Teixeira and drag him to the mat. Teixeira made this easier for Davis by swinging wildly, allowing him to duck under and move toward the back easily.
Additionally, Teixeira jumped on the guillotine choke numerous times. It’s hard to blame him for doing it once, as he’s finished fights with it, but Teixeira hopped on the submission repeatedly without ever coming close.
A second-degree black belt, Teixeira has proven himself to be a very dangerous grappler. He’s crushingly heavy from top position, and the Brazilian is always trying to snatch his opponent’s neck.
From top position, Teixeira weighs heavily on his opponents from dominant position and hunts for the submission. In particular, he likes to work from the mount, and his chokes from that position are the subject of this week’s technique highlight.
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Teixeira has a very powerful squeeze. Whenever he’s managed to attack the neck from good position, he’s been quite successful at scoring the finish. For example, Teixeira controlled a front headlock as James Te Huna tried to stand up following a takedown. Te Huna, also a very strong man, couldn’t get his head out and was dragged back to the mat without much difficulty.
From there, Teixeira decided to jump guard. He made things easier for himself by trapping one of Te Huna’s arms with his legs, allowing the New Zealand native only a single arm to defend himself with. He then sat up into the arm-in choke, properly cutting off blood flow. Without many ways to defend himself, Te Huna was quickly forced to submit (GIF).
This is a very important bout for Teixeira. Currently, the division is pretty wide open at the top, as there simply aren’t that many top Light Heavyweights right now. If he can put on a particularly impressive showing here, Teixeira is right back in the title mix. Plus, he’s one of the few top fighters who has yet to duel with Daniel Cormier, which could be an interesting match up.
Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt, is an undefeated amateur fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport’s most elite fighters.