This past weekend, the Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to the sandy shores of Fight Island for the first time since January of this year to put on another amazing card of fights.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 267 featured a headline bout between reigning light heavyweight champion Jan Błachowicz and division stalwart Glover Teixeira. Teixeira withstood the champion’s legendary Polish power and secured the rear-naked choke victory in the second round to claim UFC gold at the ripe old age of 42.
The co-main event of the evening saw former bantamweight champion Petr Yan take on surging contender Cory Sandhagen for an interim title. After dropping the first two rounds to Sandhagen, Yan rallied and turned up the pressure to shift the fight in his favor and ultimately claim the unanimous decision victory. In doing so, the RCC Academy standout solidified a title unification bout against current undisputed champion Aljamain Sterling for later next year.
Dagestani lightweight Islam Makhachev staked his claim at the 155-pound title with a lightning-quick submission victory over Dan Hooker just minutes into the first round.
Russian heavyweight Alexander Volkov found himself back in the win column after a convincing unanimous decision over fellow divisional top-10 fighter Marcin Tybura.
The Chechen hype train of welterweight super-prospect Khamzat Chimaev picked up even more steam this weekend as “Borz” put on a dominant display of grappling that ended in his opponent, Li Jingliang, being choked into unconsciousness toward the end of the first round.
Light heavyweight contender Magomed Ankalaev opened up the main card with a shutout unanimous decision over Swiss knockout artist Volkan Oezdemir.
The prelims offered eight more crowd-pleasing events to start the evening, with several up-and-comers earning impressive victories in front of an energetic Abu Dhabi crowd.
Brazilian strawweight Amanda Ribas weathered some early adversity in her match against Virna Jandiroba to snatch a decision win.
Zubaira Tukhugov narrowly edged out Brazilian featherweight Ricardo Ramos in a back-and-forth nail-biter of a split decision.
Russian middleweight Albert Duraev defended his undefeated record against countryman Roman Kopylov with a straightforward, unanimous decision win.
In the evening’s lone bit of controversy, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos brutally battered Frenchman Benoit Saint-Denis in a welterweight tilt that commentators demanded to be stopped following the second round. Referee Vyacheslav Kiselev’s indecisiveness allowed for a visibly shaken Saint-Denis to see the beginning of the third round, despite the uncomfortable amount of damage inflicted on him in the closing minutes of the second.
The card’s third light-heavyweight clash had Polish prospect Michal Oleksiejczuk knocking out minor favorite Shamil Gamzatov in the first round for a tidy upset.
Featherweight Lerone Murphy remained undefeated with a vicious knee knockout of Makwan Amirkhani just 15 seconds into the second round.
Middleweight and “The Ultimate Fighter” season-29 veteran Andre Petroski put on an imposing display of grappling control that ended with a third-round submission victory over his opponent Hu Yaozong.
Flyweight Tagir Ulanbekov outlasted and overpowered the dangerous submission game of his opponent Allan Nascimento to clinch a close split-decision win in the first bout of the night.
Overall, UFC 267 proved to be another exciting trip to the shores of Fight Island, UAE. Watch out for next week when the Ultimate Fighting Championship makes another historic trip to the Big Apple for UFC 268, live at Madison Square Garden.
A version of this article appeared on p. 9 of the Nov. 4, 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus.