Glover Teixeira lived up to the old adage of “age ain’t nothing but a number.”
With his 40th birthday just around the corner, Teixeira (29-7) seems like a prime candidate to pass the torch to the next generation of light heavyweight contenders. Even if that’s the case, it wasn’t going to happen on Saturday at UFC Fort Lauderdale. Instead, the one-time UFC title challenger survived an opening onslaught from 25-year-old Ion Cutelaba (14-4, 1 NC) and snagged a submission at the 3:37 mark of round two.
It was clear after Cutelaba’s hot start that he was slowing down after the first five minutes and sure enough, Teixeira found an opening to trip Cutelaba off of a missed knee and put the muscular Moldovan on his back. From there, Teixeira employed heavy ground-and-pound to open Cutelaba up until he was forced to give up his back and succumb to a rear-naked choke.
Afterwards, Teixeira was seen speaking to UFC president Dana White and he explained the impromptu meeting during his post-fight interview:
“I said I’ll be here for a while. I’ll be here for a while and I don’t know how long I’m gonna fight, but I want to retire in this Octagon. This is my dream. It take me a while to get here and now people question me, I’m 39 years old, fighting those young beasts. They come with tough, tough punches. I guess nobody needs to question my heart anymore.”
Known for his fast finishes, Cutelaba came out with the expected level of aggression, firing high kicks right out of the gate. He stuffed a single leg to keep the fight standing and consistently landed strikes, including the biggest shot of round one, a spinning backfist to Teixeira’s face.
Cutelaba narrowly avoided landing an illegal knee as he pounced on the stumbling Teixiera. But the veteran Brazilian recovered and stood up while grabbing onto Cutelaba to muscle him against the fence, a sequence that bought Teixeira more time to shake off the cobwebs and make it to the second round where he was able to take control.
After alternating wins and losses in his past seven appearances, Teixeira has now won two straight and three of his last four. Asked who he wanted to fight next, Teixeira called for a rematch with Corey Anderson, who defeated Teixeira by unanimous decision last July.