On Saturday night, Glover Teixeira will finally get his shot at UFC gold when he faces off against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 172. There are many mixed martial arts fans and analysts that believe Teixeira has a great shot at earning the win — including his friend and training partner Chuck Liddell, who predicted a finish within three rounds — but what will it take for the Brazilian to come out on top?
Many will point to Teixeira’s powerful striking and volume – 6.35 significant strikes per minute, which is a UFC record through five fights — however, that is not his biggest key to success.
Jones showed against Alexander Gustafsson that he can take plenty of clean shots and he could use his speed to stay away from Teixeira on the feet. Jones also has an advantage with kicks and athleticism, so what Teixeira will need to do is get this fight on the ground.
Sure, the champion does have great takedown defense (95.8 percent, the highest in the UFC), but Teixeira has an underrated ability to get the fight to the mat when he chooses to do so.
Teixeira has the highest takedown rate among current light heavyweights on the UFC roster at 4.62 takedowns per 15 minutes of fighting. That is the second all-time in the division’s history outside of only Sakuraba (4.86). Once Teixeira gets the fight to the ground, he is relentless.
On the ground, Teixeira has landed 51.5 percent of his 206 significant strikes while his opponents were on the ground. As you would expect, that is another record — the largest proportion of ground strikes in light heavyweight history.
If Teixeira is able to put Jones on his back and open up his ground-and-pound, there is no reason to believe that he cannot leave the Baltimore Arena with the belt around his waist.
Jones vs. Teixeira is an exciting match up for the fans and one that could signal the end of Jones’ domination in the UFC light heavyweight division, as long as he takes a dominant position on the ground and continues to have success in the areas that he has excelled in throughout his five-fight UFC career.
Will the Brazilian be able to keep his 20-fight winning streak alive and capture UFC gold? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts and predictions.