Lightning Strikes in Tampa

ufc-fox19The light heavyweight division was once the premier division in the UFC with the biggest names all fighting for the title.

Fighters like Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Frank Shamrock all held the title at one point and all continued to fight for the honour.

When the UFC began to grow they did so on the back of the light heavyweight division before the rest of the UFC began to catch up.

Even over the last few years the division has been one of the biggest in the UFC with what was supposed to be the most marketable fighter in the promotion.

Jon Jones was the face of the UFC and he was on his way to becoming Ronda Rousey or Conor McGregor before either of those two fought in the UFC.

Personal issues derailed his plans to take over the MMA universe but before then he cleaned out the division as his upcoming fights seemed likely to be at a new weight class.

When Jones had his belt taken away the division was launched into a new era as all of a sudden everyone that Jones had beaten was a contender again.

Daniel Cormier took the vacant belt while everyone else lined up to get their chance at the new champion.

They were all going to have to wait though as Jones was set to make his return and fight for the belt at UFC 197.

Although that fight was cancelled and Jones will fight Ovince St. Preux for the interim belt, the rest of the division is lining up to be the next in line.

The division has been given some new life and some veteran fighters are trying to take advantage with another run at the title.

Rashad Evans and Glover Teixeira were two such veterans as they faced off at UFC on FOX 19 for a chance to move up the rankings another time,

Each had been to the top with Evans taking the championship in 2008 and Teixeira losing to Jones in 2014.

When Evans lost his title he began an immediate run to get the title back but lost his next title fight against Jones.

The loss for Teixeira was a little tougher though as he then went on to lose his next fight giving him two straight losses after going undefeated before his title shot.

They know what it takes to get to the title in the UFC and both knew that this main event was a major fight.

Evans had returned from injury last year but his return to the octagon was not great as he lost to Ryan Bader.

He needed to get a win to show that he still belonged among the best in the division and that his loss to Bader was just ring rust.

Teixeira was in a different situation as his two straight losses made him switch things up and after that, he had put together two straight wins in the division.

Another win could put him back in the title conversation and show that he deserves to find his way to the division

These two veterans entered the main event in Tampa in a point in both of their careers where title runs don’t come easy.

They needed to win and needed to win now in order to find their way back to the title as a loss could make an already tough task even tougher.

Neither have a lot of time to put together long winning streaks to get back to the title so a win in Tampa was their best shot.

With both fighters loving their stand-up it was no surprise that the fight was a stand-up battle with neither looking to take the fight to the ground.

Teixeira came forward immediately pressing Evans and trying to get into a brawl where he could use his power to end the fight.

Evans went backwards trying to create some space but couldn’t stop Teixeira from coming forward and pressing the action.

Eventually, Teixeira had Evans against the cage and began unleashing big shots waiting for one to land.

A big left hook did just that and Evans was out giving Teixeira the win with yet another knockout.

For Evans, it is two straight losses and although he won’t be going anywhere it is going to take him a long time to get back to the title as he needs to find that ability that won him the title.

If he can there is no doubt that he can make another climb but a few more losses are sure to end any hope of a title shot.

Teixeira took the win for his third straight finish and proceeded to call out Anthony Johnson in what would be a top contender fight.

Johnson has been awaiting the Jones-Cormier fight but with that title fight cancelled, at least for now, he might need another fight.

If Teixeira gets that fight the winner will likely fight for the title as Teixeira’s win has moved him back up the rankings and closer to the title.

That electric left hand of one of the most powerful strikers in the division brought back some interest in a division that continues to struggle with inactivity but still has the potential to be one of the best in the UFC.



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