LAS VEGAS — Two former UFC title challengers will look to strengthen their cases for a second championship attempt when light heavyweights Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira collide at UFC Fight Night on Saturday at the Apex.
Santos (21-7) will be making his first appearance since he came up short in a split-decision loss to Jon Jones in their title fight at UFC 239 in July 2019. Santos tore the ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus in his left knee during the loss. He has been sidelined the past 16 months because of the injuries and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Physically, I’m already feeling 100 percent,” Santos said. “I have done everything in training: sparring, kicking hard, knee … everything normal. But I haven’t been fighting for a long time, I don’t know how my head, my adrenaline will be.
“But I have a feeling it’s going to be alright. I will be very happy, doing what I love and everything will be fine.”
Teixeira (31-7) is enjoying something of a career renaissance at age 41, as he’s riding a four-fight win streak. Teixeira also came up short in a title bid against Jones in 2014, but he is putting together a somewhat unexpected second run at a UFC championship.
The winner was expected to be the next challenger for recently crowned champion Jan Blachowicz, but UFC president Dana White said middleweight champ Israel Adesanya will move up a weight class to challenge for his second title.
Still to come:
Light heavyweight: Thiago Santos (21-7, 13-6 UFC, -240) vs. Glover Teixeira (31-7, 14-5 UFC, +200)
Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski (29-19 1 NC, 18-14 1 NC UFC, +250) vs. Tanner Boser (19-6-1, 3-1 UFC, -300)
Men’s bantamweight: Raoni Barcelos (15-1, 4-0 UFC, -360) vs. Khalid Taha (13-2 1 NC, 1-1 1 NC UFC, +300)
Men’s featherweight: Giga Chikadze (11-2, 4-0 UFC, -700) vs. Jamey Simmons (7-2, 0-0 UFC, +500)
Strawweight: Claudia Gadelha 18-4, 7-4 UFC, +140) vs. Yan Xiaonan (12-1, 5-0 UFC, -160)
Middleweight: Trevin Giles (12-2, 3-2 UFC, -105) vs. Bevon Lewis (7-2, 1-2 UFC, -115)
Heavyweight: Marcos Rogerio de Lima (17-1-1, 6-4 UFC, +320) vs. Alexandr Romanov (12-0, 1-0 UFC, -400)
Men’s featherweight: Darren Elkins (25-9, 14-8 UFC, -220) vs. Eduardo Garagorri (13-1, 1-1 UFC, +185)
Welterweight: Max Griffin (15-8, 3-6 UFC, -145) vs. Ramiz Brahimaj (8-2, 0-0 UFC, +125)