At the age of 40, Glover Teixeira still has it. The eighth-ranked light heavyweight in the world shook off a slow start in the opening frame, found his rhythm in the second round and dominated fourth-ranked Anthony Smith the rest of the way before finishing the job by fifth-round knockout as a +190 underdog in Wednesday’s UFC Jacksonville headliner.
Teixeira won his fourth consecutive fight and catapulted back into the title picture in the 205-pound loop. Bettors backing Teixeira to win in Round 5 cashed enormous 33/1 tickets at William Hill. Shops like 5Dimes and Bookmaker paid out at 26/1 odds for the same proposition wager.
Gamblers on ‘over’ 2.5 rounds brought home a +115 return. Other props on Teixeira that hit included him to win inside the distance (+240) and by TKO/KO (+490).
Smith looked outstanding early, using a stiff jab that was consistently finding a home and following it with straight right hands and blistering leg kicks. He was setting a furious pace and won Round 1 on MajorWager’s scorecard, 10-9.
‘Lionheart’ was having his way again to start the second stanza, although he seemed to be pushing a pace that wasn’t going to last for five rounds if he needed it to. As UFC analyst Daniel Cormier keenly noted, Smith’s corner was in his ear non-stop encouraging that relentless tempo.
Midway through Round 2, it was apparent that Smith was starting to slow. On the flip side, Teixeira was grasping that he had taken Smith’s best shots and was not only still there, but he was also the fresher fighter.
Teixeira started to land shots. The momentum completely shifted in the final two minutes of the second frame. Teixeira hurt Smith late in the round and stole it on our card to make it 19-19 going to the third.
About 90 seconds into Round 3, Teixeira blasted Smith with an uppercut and dropped him with a subsequent left. Smith was in pure survival mode, as the Brazilian rained down hammer fists and other forms of punishment. Referee Jason Herzog had multiple chances to stop the fight, but instead offered Smith a long leash.
When it became clear that Herzog wasn’t going to stop it, Teixeira started trying to work on a submission. This gave Smith some time to recover and with his head clearing, he was able to defend Teixeira’s choke attempts.
Nevertheless, with Teixeira on top of him for more than two minutes, Smith was hurt and completely gassed when Round 3 mercifully ended. MajorWager scored it 10-8 for Teixeira to give him a 29-27 advantage going to the fourth.
Smith was game in the first minute of Round 4, mustering up enough energy to land some punches, but it wasn’t sustainable. Teixeira dropped him again with punches and again appeared poised to close the show with hammer fists from the top.
Thanks to no fans in the audience, viewers at home could hear Teixeira apologize to Smith and say, “Sorry, it’s part of the job.” In a brutal display of honesty, Smith replied, “It is what it is.”
Later in the round with Smith on the ground and Teixeira on top raining down punishment, Smith appeared to hand one of his teeth that had been knocked out to Herzog.
Smith somehow survived Round 4, but he had absolutely nothing left. ZERO!
Regardless of anything Smith might say, it was the responsibility of Smith’s corner – led by James Krause and Marc Montoya – to save their fighter from taking any more damage. Without question, it was time to stop the fight and throw in the towel.
And when Smith had something to say, it became even more clear that he was done. Between the fourth and fifth, Smith told his corner, “My teeth are falling out.”
Translation: I have nothing left. Please stop the fight.
Instead, Montoya and Krause foolishly talked strategy for the final round. They ignorantly sent their fighter out again after he had been pummeled for 13 straight minutes.
Finally, 64 seconds into the fifth, Herzog ended the carnage with a belated stoppage.
Teixeira improved to 31-7 overall and 14-5 in the UFC. He passed former champions Rashad Evans and Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell to move into third place in career wins in the light-heavyweight division with 14.
Teixeira passed Jon Jones and Ovince Saint Preux to become the division’s all-time leader in career finishes with 11. With Dominick Reyes or Jan Blachowicz likely to face Jones next for the belt, look for Teixeira to get booked with the one that misses out on the title shot or Thiago Santos, who is almost ready to compete for the first time since losing to Jones by split decision and needing surgery on both knees.
Smith is looking at a lengthy layoff to recover from his injuries. He was transported to a local hospital in Jacksonville with his wife.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani ripped off the list of injuries in the tweet below: