Glover Teixeira is still hoping to run it back with Jiri Prochazka for the UFC light heavyweight championship after an instant classic in Singapore. In the meantime, the former titleholder is focused on helping his longtime teammate Alex Pereira secure his own shot at a UFC belt.
“Poatan” meets Sean Strickland at Saturday night’s UFC 276 in Las Vegas, a match that his manager Jorge Guimarães said guarantees the winner a shot against whoever emerges with the belt later that night in the Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier main event, but Teixeira guarantees they’re not overlooking Strickland.
“Of course we’re focusing on Strickland, he’s as tough as nails, but we’re always looking for the victory,” Teixeira said on Wednesday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “If Adesanya wins, and I think he will — it’s a tough fight, too, but for sure him and Alex, or Cannonier, if he wins, it’s him and Alex. [But] Adesanya has already talked about it a little bit on the internet, that he’ll be fighting Alex next. He wants to fight Alex, he says.”
Pereira holds two wins over Adesanya in the kickboxing circuit, a close decision followed by a comeback knockout a year later in 2017, and Teixeira believes their first encounter in the MMA world would be “huge.” To get that booked, however, Pereira must surpass a complicated challenge in Strickland, who has looked great since moving up to middleweight and beating the likes of Jack Hermansson, Uriah Hall and Krzysztof Jotko.
“He’s a very tough opponent, we know that,” Teixeira said of Strickland. “That’s why he’s there. This guy is no joke, he’s a very good striker, and we prepared for that. We know what we’re going to [face].”
Strickland has only been finished once in 28 professional MMA bouts, a knockout defeat to Elizeu Zaleski at welterweight in 2018, but Pereira carries a lot of power in his hands, knees and kicks with an 80 percent knockout rate in six MMA bouts and a total of 21 finishes in 33 kickboxing wins.
“Alex can end any fight early,” Teixeira said. “Alex catches the right time, the power the guy has, he can fight anyone in the world and end the fight whatever he catches him. But Sean Strickland is not like that, he’s not easy to hit, but it’s timing. If he’s ready to go three rounds, Alex is prepared for that, too. But a guy like Alex, like myself, too, we always go for the finish.”
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