It was a relentless and punishing attack from Hill round after round as he busted up Teixeira and had several near finishes yet somehow the seemingly ageless veteran kept finding a way to survive. When it was over there was no doubt remaining as Hill secured the victory before falling to his knees with tears in his eyes to celebrate becoming the new champion at 205 pounds.
The judges all scored the fight 50-44 as Hill claimed the unanimous decision.
“Where I came from to get to this, it’s unreal,” Hill said. “Anything’s possible. Hard work, dedication, accountability, don’t let nobody tell you nothing.
“Too many people tried to tell me I couldn’t do it. It was impossible. I needed to win in one round. I couldn’t go five [rounds] — what the f*** you got to say now?”
It was an unbelievable showing from Hill, who actually accepted the fight on relatively short notice after the previous attempt to crown a new light heavyweight champion ended in a majority draw between Magomed Ankalaev and Jan Blachowicz this past December.
The fight played out in similar fashion over all five rounds with Hill essentially shutting down every attempt from Teixeira to outgrapple him and then lighting up the Brazilian with a variety of strikes. From brutal uppercuts to vicious head kicks, Hill was on point from start to finish.
Throughout the fight, Hill was consistently connecting on target with Teixeira displaying an unreal chin as he absorbed damage in nearly every exchange.
The first real momentum shift came after Hill uncorked a pair of vicious head kicks with the second shot blasting Teixeira and clearly rattling the 43-year-old veteran. Hill looked to seize the moment with a barrage of punches but despite landing several stinging shots, Teixeira refused to go away.
Teixeira finally turned the tables with some hard punches of his own as he opened a cut under Hill’s right eye before finally landing his first takedown in the fight. While it appeared momentarily that Teixeira might find a submission, Hill survived before scrambling back to his feet.
As the third round got started, Hill launched another of those head kicks that Teixeira blocked as well as he could but blunt force still caused a lot of damage. Teixeira was wobbled again and it appeared the end was near with Hill just hammering down on him as blood began streaming across the Brazilian’s face.
Somehow, Teixeira persevered but he was absorbing a lot of punishment.
With numerous cuts on his face including one particularly gruesome gash over his right eye, Teixeira was really wearing the damage on his face and Hill appeared ready to go for the kill.
Hill was smart with his attacks as he stuck the jab in Teixeira’s face and kept looking for that same head kick that was constantly paying dividends. Another barrage followed with Hill trapping Teixeira against the cage and just unloading several vicious combinations including a number of uppercuts and straight punches that just bounced off his opponent’s head.
A late takedown helped Teixeira grind his way through the majority of the fifth round but even then Hill managed a reversal and continued to pour on the punishment until the fight ended. When it was over, Hill was understandably stunned at Teixeira’s durability.
“The dude is tough as bricks,” Hill said. “I don’t know anybody that could take what I was throwing. It’s just an honor to share this cage with him.”
As Hill was speaking, Teixeira was quietly removing his gloves before taking over the microphone to announce that Saturday night would serve as the final fight of his legendary career.
“In reality, I think I’m too tough for my own good,” Teixeira said. “Too tough for my own health. I can’t keep up anymore. I’m going to focus my energy on Alex Pereira. He’s going to keep his belt for a while and then go up to light heavyweight.
“It’s an honor to put the gloves down on the same night as ‘Shogun’ [Mauricio Rua]. I wish we were in the Royce Gracie era where you could just go no rounds and keep going in this s*** but we’re not. I’m just not keeping up anymore.”
Honorable until the very end, Teixeira then announced that he wanted to leave the cage with Hill while asking the Brazilian crowd to show him respect as the new UFC light heavyweight champion.