UFC 267: Blachowicz vs. Tiexeira featured two title fights that crowned a new interim champion in Petr Yan and a new light-heavyweight champion in Glover Teixeira. The return of Khamzat Chimaev did not disappoint, and one of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s proteges made his claim in the lightweight division.
There was a lot to take away from UFC 267, here are some things that stood out.
Return to Fight Island
The UFC returns to the Etihad Arena at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. It seems like it’s been a while since the UFC had to use the location, but as the fight business moves forward in this “new normal”, the location will likely become a regular part of the UFC’s operations for a while, especially with the vaccine mandate required for anyone coming into the U.S. and not everyone on the same page when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s still a pay per view but ESPN+ subscribers only had to pay their regular monthly fee and not a separate cost on top of their monthly subscription, like they normally do. This is likely due to the UFC mega card going on next weekend from Madison Square Garden that is UFC 268 and not to do UFC fans any favors. No one is going to buy two in a row.
Referee Vyacheslav Kiselev
You know it’s bad when you’re pulled from your assignment during a live event. The sport is violent, so safety has to be paramount and with the news of fighters dying recently in combat sports, pulling him was definitely the right move. It may have taken away from the win that Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos got over Benoît St. Denis, but it’s best if the problem gets solved now rather than later.
He may have been sick but anyone that doubted Chimaev and the hype he has behind him got a reminder when he returned in this event. Kamaru Usman has to deal with Colby Covington next week, but if he is only going to beat him again, who else is there left for him to fight but a guy like Chimaev?
Petr Yan Captures Interim Title
A five-round war ensued between Yan and Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagens’ reach advantage seemed troubling to Yan at the start but as he weathered the storm, his strategy of catching and returning fire would prove useful as he picked up the unanimous decision victory.
The next great lightweight, it seems, is Makhachev, but there is always an asterisk next to the name of someone fighting someone that has any label like coming in on short notice. His original opponent was supposed to be Rafael dos Anjos but withdrew due to injury and was replaced by Dan Hooker. Hooker coming off a recent win and ranked at number six according to the UFC lightweight rankings made more sense for Makhachev than it did Hooker, but Hooker’s not a fan favorite because he turns down fights.
Still, the question of who is next always comes up after a win, and while Daniel Cormier thinks it should be Justin Gaethje, Gaethje has his own plans for UFC 268.
Yes, Yan won his interim bantamweight title but he is 28 years old and making his way in MMA. Dana White said in the post-fight press conference, “Glover Teixeira is and has been one of the toughest guys in the division.”
So, to put in the time and get to this point at 42-years old, just after his birthday he accomplished what many thought he could not. What he does next, is up to him but for now, he proved that never giving up will always deliver.
There’s obviously more to take away from this event than what is listed here. With Teixeira now the king at light-heavyweight, does he defend or retire? Either would likely be fine for fans, and Yan holding the interim title, White confirmed it will be he and Aljamain Sterling for the undisputed title. UFC 268 goes down next week, so don’t get too cozy.
What did you take away from the event?