Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Just three days after the phenomenal UFC 249 pay-per-view, the UFC returned to VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena for an ESPN+ card that delivered an unexpected winner in the main event, a highly uneventful co-main event, and the rise of a lightweight star.
Glover Teixeira def. Anthony Smith via TKO(punches). Round 5(1:04)
The shocker of the night as 40-year-old Glover Teixeira was able to rebound from being tagged up by Anthony Smith in the first round. Teixeira would get his striking together at the end of the second round, and would take over from there. He dropped Smith in the third round and the fight was one-sided from there. Somehow, Smith would survive rounds three and four, but would finally succumb to strikes in the fifth round after being mounted by Teixeira.
Teixeira is now on a four-fight win streak(1 TKO, 2 submissions), and puts his name right back in the title picture in the light-heavyweight division. For Smith, he has now lost two of his last three fights and will have to start from phase one to get back into the title race.
Ben Rothwell def. Ovince Saint Preux via split decision(28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
This fight went as advertised. Both men looked slow, sloppy and not much action was displayed throughout the contest. Rothwell was able to land more significant strikes than Preux, which would give him the edge to nab the close win. The two would throw down in the last 10 seconds of the fight, but it would not be enough to make up for the snail’s pace fight overall.
Rothwell has now won two fights in a row, and Preux has now lost in three of his last four contests.
Drew Dober def. Alexander Hernandez via TKO(punches). Round 2(4:25)
My pick for Fight of the Night saw the continuation in the rise of Dober in the lightweight ranks as he found the perfect left hand to stop Hernandez. Throughout the first round, and up until the knockout, Hernandez had left the door open for Dober to find his mark, but Dober was not capitalizing until he was able to find his shot. Hernandez would land some kicks to the body and showed heart to find through getting hurt in the second round, but it would not be enough to survive the surge of Dober.
Dober has now won three fights in a row by TKO, and has won eight of his last ten fights.
After a quick surge into the UFC, Hernandez has dropped two of his last three fights.
Other notable performances
Michael Johnson looked to be sharp and poised for a victory after the first round against Thiago Moises, but the Brazilian would catch the leg of Johnson early in the second round and sink in the heel hook to tap out Johnson.
Brian Kelleher had one of his best performances in the Octagon with a brutal knockout of the previously undefeated Hunter Azure in the second round.
“The Vanilla Gorilla” Chase Sherman made his return to the Octagon after getting released in 2018. He kicked off Saturday night’s card with a showcase performance and finish of newcomer Issac Villanueva.
The UFC holds their final card of this seven-day stretch in Jacksonville on Saturday, which is headlined by a heavyweight clash between Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris.