Saturday’s UFC 267 event is in the books, and now that the dust has settled in Abu Dhabi, it’s time to go to the scorecard to see who the big winners were at Etihad Arena.
1 – Glover Teixeira
You know I thought about putting Glover Teixeira in each one of these slots. That’s how remarkable his comeback story is and how happy the MMA world is for him today. That’s not a knock on Jan Blachowicz, one of the true good guys of the game, but Teixeira is the good guy’s good guy.
You can see the reaction of his peers on social media to know that, and having worked with him since his UFC debut in 2012, and all the nice things people are saying about him…they’re all true. Take that away, and his return to a title fight at 42 is something for the history books…to win the belt, too? Wow. That was memorable.
WHAT’S NEXT? Jiri Prochazka. And I can’t wait. But let the new champ get some barbecuing time in back home in Connecticut before it gets too cold and we start talking about his next fight.
2 – Petr Yan
I always respected Petr Yan and what he brought to the Octagon on fight night, but after his Saturday win over Cory Sandhagen, I can unequivocally say that “No Mercy” is on my short list of favorite fighters to watch. The guy is a machine in there, but his relentless attack is mixed in with a high Fight IQ and a creative streak that keeps him unpredictable and compelling to watch. I wouldn’t want to mix it up with anyone in the UFC, but I really wouldn’t want to spend 25 minutes in the Octagon with Yan.
RELATED: Petr Yan Gets His Shot At Redemption
WHAT’S NEXT? Aljamain Sterling. If the champ isn’t ready by the time the interim champ wants to go again, maybe TJ Dillashaw (if he’s ready) or the winner of the upcoming Rob Font-Jose Aldo fight.
3 – Khamzat Chimaev
What more can be said about Khamzat Chimaev that “Borz” hasn’t said about himself? And how can you argue with someone who has barely gotten touched in four UFC bouts, and this is after more than a year on the sidelines? I don’t know if he’s going to continue to have flawless victories against the next level of competition at 170 pounds, but it’s clear that he’s ready for that next step, and that’s going to be even more fun to watch. Oh yeah, he did this all in the biggest fight of his career in a main card pay-per-view bout. Chimaev is for real.
WHAT’S NEXT? Chimaev already beat the No.11-ranked Li on Saturday night. Top 10? Neil Magny?
4 – Islam Makhachev
Speaking of the ever-elusive flawless victory, Islam Makhachev got his on Saturday by submitting Dan Hooker in less than three minutes. Stylistically, Hooker was made for Makhachev, but if that’s the case, a fighter still has to execute, and the Russian did that to perfection. No, he’s not the next Khabib Nurmagomedov, but he is the first Islam Makhachev, and he’s a serious threat to the elite at the top of the 155-pound division.
WHAT’S NEXT? By the time this weekend’s Justin Gaethje-Michael Chandler clash and December’s title fight between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier are over, we will have a clearer sense of where the weight class stands, and what should be next for Makhachev, who is likely one win away from a crack at the crown.
5 – Amanda Ribas
Everyone talks about the importance of making adjustments in the midst of a fight that might be getting away from you, and it is important, but few are able to pull it off successfully. Amanda Ribas did just that against Virna Jandiroba on Saturday, and after a shaky first round, she roared back in the next two to get back in the win column and back on track to strawweight gold.
WHAT’S NEXT? Tecia Torres, winner of three straight, is an interesting matchup and an opportunity for Ribas to make a move forward in the 115-pound weight class.