UFC 267: Blachowicz vs. Teixeira is almost here and we’ve got you covered with our expert Staff Predictions.
It all goes down in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. This will NOT be on pay-per-view, but rather a special feature presentation streaming on ESPN+.
Make sure you are well-rested and ready to bet, watch, scream, and shout as this early event kicks off at 10:30 AM ET (prelims). The main card is scheduled to begin at 2:00 PM ET.
There will be two title fights waiting for you and a stacked fight card from top to bottom, capped off with Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira competing for the light heavyweight championship. In the co-main event, Petr Yan will look to return bantamweight gold to his waist, interim or otherwise, as he goes up against the electric Cory Sandhagen.
Also on tap for tomorrow night is the man often considered to be “The Next Khabib,” Islam Makhachev, who will face Dan Hooker. The Russian invasion will also include appearances from Magomed Ankalaev and Alexander Volkov competing on the main card. And who can forget the highly anticipated return of “Borz,” Khmazat Chimaev, who will look to come back with a smesh when he takes on UFC vet Li Jingliang.
UFC 267 Staff Predictions
MMA News is the place to be for all the latest UFC 267 updates. Staff members Andrew Ravens, Doug Murray, and Harvey Leonard have provided predictions for the main card. And based on the consistency of the picks, there seems to be a lot of safe bets to be made according to these three staffers.
Check out their UFC 267 main fight card picks below:
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Volkan Oezdemir
Andrew Ravens: Volkan could be in for a rough night at the office when he steps into the Octagon against Ankalaev, who has looked exceptional aside from his promotional debut that he lost. Ankalaev seems to get better and better every outing while Volkvan has flattened at his spot. Ankalaev walks away with the decision win. (Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev)
Doug Murray: Ankalaev can extend his winning streak to seven with a win against Oezdemir. The former title challenger took a devastating loss when he fell at the hands of Jiří Procházka. Since Oezdemir’s last fight ended by getting finished, his approach will likely be toned down when he meets Ankalaev. With that in mind, Ankalaev’s pressure and high kicks will be difficult for Oezdemir to dodge for 15 minutes. (Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev)
Harvey Leonard: As good as Oezdemir was at the start of his UFC career, he’s certainly not at his best anymore. I think his victory over Aleksandar Rakić has perhaps disguised that slightly. The result was controversial, and it seemed pretty clear he should have lost. With more competent judging, the Swiss contender would be sitting with five losses in his last six. At that point, a reset against lower-ranked opposition (similar to Dan Hooker last month) is needed. Magomed Ankalaev certainly isn’t that. With the Dagestani’s superior accuracy on the feet and Oezdemir’s inferior defense, I see Ankalaev extending his streak to seven. (Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev)
Consensus: 3-0 Ankalaev
Li Jingliang vs. Khamzat Chimaev
Andrew Ravens: Here’s a chance for Chimaev to get another knockout highlight reel, and I see it happening. Li is a good fighter but does have moments where he simply doesn’t show up as expected. If that happens, then Chimaev is going to get a bonus at his expense. Chimaev stops him in the second round. (Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev)
Doug Murray: Mystery shrouds this welterweight showdown. Since Chimaev was forced to the sidelines after contracting COVID-19, his massive audience awaits his return to Fight Island. With three wins and three finishes in the UFC, Chimaev’s speed and ability to predict opponents as they grapple make his style a nightmare to deal with. While Li is a powerful 170-pound fighter, Chimaev’s speed and takedowns will set the tone for this fight early. (Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev)
Harvey Leonard: Whenever a fighter reveals they didn’t know who their opponent was before a booking, I’m wary to side with them. I can picture the clip of Chimaev at media day being brought up after a defeat. However, I do think the edge lies with “Borz.” He may have been away for over a year, but the quality he trains with at the Allstar gym in Stockholm shouldn’t make that an issue.
Whilst “The Leech” possesses the KO power to finish anyone, his shortcomings on the ground were evident in his loss to Neil Magny. We saw how brutal Chimaev can be when he gets his opponents down, and whilst he hasn’t faced a talent like Jingliang, I’d expect his pressure wrestling to be too much. (Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev)
Consensus: 3-0 Chimaev
Alexander Volkov vs. Marcin Tybura
Andrew Ravens: Volkov is looking to rebound after losing his previous fight against Cyril Gane while Tybura has been on fire as he’s won five straight. I see Volkov being really fired up to get a win here and prove that yes, he can fight with the best of the best. I don’t see Tybura at that level and predict Volkov can back that up with a TKO win. (Prediction: Alexander Volkov)
Doug Murray: A battle of two titans, don’t look now, but Tybura has amassed a five-fight winning streak with the promotion. Tybura is finally synergizing his standup with his strength on the canvas. The heavyweight showed his path to victory in his last fight. With damaging ground and pound, Tybura will need to get “Drago” to the mat to drastically increase his odds for success. Volkov has shown a stellar takedown defense as a former champion in Bellator, and his striking will be overwhelming if the fight makes it to the third round. (Prediction: Alexander Volkov)
Harvey Leonard: Tybura is on a pretty devastating win streak, but he’s not come close to facing an opponent with the skill of Volkov during it. The only times he’s faced heavyweights similar to his level on the feet, he was finished by Derrick Lewis and Augusto Sakai. The Pole’s threat is power, but given that Volkov has only been finished by Lewis in the UFC, I can’t see a scenario where he gets taken out by Tybura.
Volkov’s striking is up there with the best in the division, and through The Russian’s reach and speed advantage, I’d expect “Drago” to put it on full display. I’d fancy a Volkov finish, but if it goes to the scorecards, Tybura will struggle to outpoint him. (Prediction: Alexander Volkov)
Consensus: 3-0 Volkov
Islam Makhachev vs. Dan Hooker
Andrew Ravens: There are levels to this game, and it looks like Islam is on his way to the top tier. That’s not to say Hooker is not a real challenge as he’s a really good fighter. Islam has been running through people, but Hooker is his first real test, and he’s gonna have to put out his best to get past Hooker. I do think that happens with Islam getting the decision win. (Prediction: Islam Makhachev)
Doug Murray: Burn the boats. Dan Hooker is coming to Fight Island after just competing on Sept. 25, “The Hangman” is becoming somewhat of a hardcore fight fan’s dream. The wrestling skills of Hooker appear to be evolving rapidly, and he showed as much in his fight against Nasrat Haqparast. With a style geared toward volume, Hooker poses some real challenges to Makhachev. The heir to Khabib Nurmagomedov has looked impressive in the cage. And with a short camp for Hooker, Makhachev’s pressure will likely get the best of Hooker. (Prediction: Islam Makhachev)
Harvey Leonard: As much as I’d love for Hooker’s attitude to be rewarded with a victory, it’s hard to bet against the imposing game of Makhachev. Whilst I don’t buy into the idea that it’s as one-sided as the likes of Khabib would like us to believe, I do think “The Hangman” could struggle to implement his game if the Dagestani imposes his own early. Hooker’s route to victory is clearly keeping the fight on the feet. If he can’t, Makhachev could force a submission, but I think a controlling decision is more likely. (Prediction: Islam Makhachev)
Consensus: 3-0 Makhachev
Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen
Andrew Ravens: In my eyes, Yan is still champion and not Aljamain Sterling. We all know why Yan isn’t technically the champion right now and to his credit, instead of waiting for Sterling, he’s trying to stay active. In such a deep division, there are no easy tests and this inserts Sandhagen, who has a real chance to win this fight. I think Yan is the better fighter, but this will be a close, back-and-forth, and fun fight. (Prediction: Petr Yan)
Doug Murray: After going the distance with TJ Dillashaw, Sandhagen’s style is so fan-friendly that it was no surprise he got the call after hearing the champion was injured. I think Sandhagen’s kick-heavy style will be to his detriment against a disciplined boxer like Petr Yan. Yan is able to connect at will when opponents tire and relies heavily on a boxing repertoire that should carry him to the win. (Prediction: Petr Yan)
Harvey Leonard: This is arguably a better fight on paper than the original Yan vs. Sterling rematch. The contrast between the Russian’s tight boxing and forward pressure and Sandhagen’s kickboxing and elusive movement should make for a barnburner. Whilst Sandhagen is always capable of a highlight-reel KO and Yan is always looking for a brutal finish, I expect this one to go the distance.
If “The Sandman” can stay at range and catch Yan when he attempts to move in, perhaps even with a knee as the Russian ducks low with his shots, he is capable of outpointing “No Mercy.” But whilst I expect him to have some success doing so, I believe Yan will have the better of the exchanges, especially in the later rounds. (Prediction: Petr Yan)
Consensus: 3-0 Yan
Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira
Andrew Ravens: Some casuals may overlook Glover in this fight, but the hardcore fans know how dangerous Glover can be. However, I see this to be a one-sided beatdown by Jan. In the current division, I don’t see anyone beating Jan right now, and I add Glover to that list. Glover has a puncher’s chance early and won’t be put away, but I have Jan getting his hand raised after a decision win. (Prediction: Jan Blachowicz)
Doug Murray: The light heavyweight titleholder made his name as a Polish champion in KSW. Błachowicz is well versed in maintaining a fight’s geography. As a powerful counter puncher and reactive wrestler, the 38-year-old has all of the tools to deal with Teixeira. While the Brazilian challenger may have the edge in power on the feet, Błachowicz will be too much for a UFC legend that appears to be slowing despite stringing a massive streak together. (Prediction: Jan Blachowicz)
Harvey Leonard: After the bad blood in last weekend’s main event, it’s a nice change of pace to have two headliners respecting each other. As much of a feel-good story as it would be for Teixeira to become the UFC’s second post-40 champion, I believe he’ll fall short. Of course, he does boast incredible Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, and if the fight does hit the mat, he has what it takes to submit the champion.
However, on the feet, Blachowicz will have a speed and power advantage, which will not only help him control the exchanges and possibly find a finish but will also aid him in resisting Teixeira’s attempts to take him down and keep him there. The 42-year-old can never be counted out, but “and new” would surprise me. (Prediction: Jan Blachowicz)
Consensus: 3-0 Blachowicz
That’ll do it for our unanimous staff picks! What do you think? Are these fights as clear-cut as our three staffers seem to think? Or do you see some upsets brewing? Feel free to drop your own picks in the comments section, and you can check out the UFC 267 undercard below.
UFC 267 Undercard
- Amanda Ribas vs. Virna Jandiroba (Women’s Strawweight)
- Ricardo Ramos vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (Featherweight)
- Albert Duraev vs. Roman Kopylov (Middleweight)
- Shamil Gamzatov vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (Light Heavyweight)
- Makwan Amirkhani vs. Lerone Murphy (Featherweight)
- Hu Yaozong vs. Alen Amedovski (Middleweight)
- Magomed Mustafaev vs. Damir Ismagulov (Lightweight)
- Tagir Ulanbekov vs. Allan Nascimento (Flyweight)
Be sure to keep it right here on MMANews.com tomorrow for all the results, highlights, and updates on UFC 267!