At UFC 267, Blachowicz is set to defend his title against a member of the 205-pound roster for the first time. After winning the vacant title with a second-round TKO against Dominick Reyes at UFC 253, the Polish star made his first defense just over five months later.
The 38-year-old welcomed middleweight king Israel Adesanya to light heavyweight at UFC 259. While many had expected “The Last Stylebender” to become the latest two-division UFC titleholder, Blachowicz wasn’t about to let that happen. He defeated Adesanya via unanimous decision after a fairly comfortable five rounds of action.
Having fought off the challenge from below, Blachowicz will now look to do the same against the top contender in his own division. On October 30, he’ll hope to stop the late-career charge of Brazilian veteran Glover Teixeira. Despite the 41-year-old’s recent form, the champ has politely suggested he’ll KO him into retirement.
Ahead of the unique non-pay-per-view numbered event, #4-ranked light heavyweight Anthony Smith has given his take on his division’s upcoming title clash. Speaking to MMA reporter James Lynch, “Lionheart” admitted that he’d like to see Teixeira’s story conclude with a championship crowning.
“Part of me hopes Glover, just for the story. It would be cool for both of those guys at some point in time to retire as world champions, or having won a world title.”
Smith later revealed what he believes to be the one crucial factor that will determine the victor on October 30. If Teixeira can’t take Blachowicz down, the 33-year-old doesn’t believe he can leave Abu Dhabi with the light heavyweight gold.
“If Glover can stay safe and not get caught with anything clean, I think Glover is the more well-rounded guy. Jan’s gonna be really hard to take down though. If Glover can’t take him down I don’t think he can beat him. He’s just, from range, Glover’s not as fast as he used to be, his reactions aren’t as good as they used to be, which takes away a lot of his counter striking.
“If Glover can’t drag him down and get him tired and slow him down a little bit, he’s gonna have a really tough time.”
Speaking about the champ, Smith suggested the Pole doesn’t possess many holes in his game that Teixeira will be able to exploit. Despite rooting for the Brazilian, “Lionheart” predicted that Blachowicz will retain come October 30.
“There’s not a whole lot of weaknesses in his [Blachowicz’s] game though. He doesn’t do a lot, which I don’t mean as a knock. He’s never out of position, there’s nothing fancy, it’s straight one-twos down the pipe; a random uppercut here and there. For the most part he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. I’m really excited for that fight… I’ll give you a prediction. I hope Glover Teixeira wins, but if I had to die on that hill, I would bet Jan Blachowicz.”
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 267, Jan Blachowicz or Glover Teixeira?