The UFC 153 PPV main card will feature a light heavyweight bout between Glover Teixeira and Fabio Maldonado in Brazil on Saturday night. Maldonado is replacing an injured Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the bout, and actually requested the fight when several fighters turned down the opportunity to face Teixeira. It should be an exciting fight, so let’s see how this one breaks down.
Fabio Maldonado (18-5) is coming off back-to-back controversial decision losses against Kyle Kingsbury and Igor Pokrajac. In fact, many people felt that Maldonado should have gotten the nod in both of those fights. Maldonado is (1-2) in the UFC with 12 total wins via TKO/KO and three wins via submission. He has been submitted in two of his five career losses. Maldonado has an excellent chin and pretty good boxing coupled with decent takedown defense. He loves to go to the body with his punches and throws punches at a very high volume.
Glover Teixeira (18-2) is coming off a submission win over Kyle Kingsbury in his UFC debut at UFC 146. Teixeira was the main training partner of Chuck Liddell when Liddell was in his prime. He has good power in his hands and is well versed on the ground as well. He has won 11 fights via TKO/KO and five fights via submission. Teixeira is riding a 16 fight win streak and is looking to jump into the upper echelon of light heavyweights in the UFC.
Top Bet has Maldonado as the betting underdog at (+285) and Teixeira as the betting favorite at (-355).
I’m surprised that Maldonado is that big of an underdog, but Teixeira should definitely be the favorite here. Maldonado likes to fight in close quarters and dig to the body of his opponents, but leaves himself vulnerable to uppercuts and knees to the head. He can’t afford to do that against an opponent the caliber of Teixeria. He’ll need to avoid the clinch game and work off his jab as he’s the more accurate striker according to Fightmetric.
Teixeira has multiple ways to win this fight. He could potentially hurt Maldonado with strikes and finish him there, or take Maldonado down and submit him. Teixeria is well versed in submissions on the ground and has competed in numerous grappling tournaments over the years. Teixeira is really explosive and will look to press the action against Maldonado from the onset. He’ll look to take advantage of Maldonado in the clinch and land power strikes there or potentially take him down and work submissions. Teixeira threw the overhand right/left hook combination at will against Kingsbury, and I expect that to be working for him on Saturday night as well. I mentioned that Maldonado has lost via submission twice, and both of those losses came via kneebar so that may be something to keep an eye on.
It should be an exciting fight. I’m curious to see how Teixiera will perform if the fight goes late into the second or third round as his last four fights have ended in the first round. I expect Teixeira to win this fight, but Maldonado isn’t a pushover for anybody in the division. I look for Teixiera to hurt Maldonado with punches and finish him via TKO/KO or to win via submission.