UFC 267 takeaways: Glover Teixeira, Petr Yan and Khamzat Chimaev shine, referee fails to do his job

Glover Teixeira did it. Jan Blachowicz, a perennial light heavyweight, was defeated by Glover Teixeira in round two via rear naked choke. This took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.
Teixeira became the undisputed 14th champion of the UFC division and the oldest UFC first-time champ. How did he do it? And what does this mean for his career?

Petr Yan defeated Cory Sandhagen in the co-main event to win the UFC interim title at bantamweight. It was a highly entertaining fight that showed once again that he is an elite fighter in the bantamweight division. He made a mental error when he was facing Aljamain Sterling the last time. Will he make the same mistake again and regain his title?

Khamzat Chimaev (10-0), made a huge return by winning a dominant first round submission over Li Jingliang. In his first fight in over a year, it was another stoppage victory for the welterweight opponent. His victories all came before the end of the bell. But will that continue when he takes on a top-5 opponent in the division.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov’s plans for the lightweight division continued to evolve with Islam Makhachev's victory over Dan Hooker in the first round. Is it time to give the title shot? On the undercard, Elizeu Zleski dos Santos beat Benoit Saint Denis by decision. But the biggest loser was not Saint-Denis. It was referee Vyacheslav Kirselev who failed to protect fighters. Is it right that the UFC removed him from refereeing other fights?

Jeff Wagenheim, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Brett Okamoto react to Saturday's biggest stories.

Glover Teixeira is a heartwarming story that should not overshadow a fantastic performance

Glover Teixeira won the light heavyweight title with a second round submission victory over Jan Blachowicz. Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Wagenheim: This is one of the most uplifting moments you can have.

Glover Teixeira became a UFC champion in UFC at 42. This is seven years after his unsuccessful attempt at the light-heavyweight title. It is an inspiring example for others to try again. However, those looking to learn from Teixeira's journey to his ultimate goal should not forget about the fact that he was able to do it.

The UFC 267 main card in Abu Dhabi was a great success, thanks to Teixeira, as well as Jan Blachowicz, the champion he was challenging. They treated each other with respect at all times, as did their co-main event opponents, Petr Yan, and Cory Sandhagen during their bantamweight interim champion bout. They defied common beliefs that combat sports are all about grudges or mean-spirited mind games.

In one moment of the fight, Teixeira showed what it means to be a champion in all senses -- his fighting prowess as well as his classy approach to the game. After taking Blachowicz down in the first minute, controlling him throughout Round 1, while landing elbows whenever possible, Teixeira heard the sound of the horn and didn't stop fighting. He reached out and helped Blachowicz get to his feet.

Glover Teixeira is the man. This is Glover Teixeira's story.

Blachowicz will not like it. This fight was futile for him. Blachowicz was more cautious than dangerous because Teixeira made him. A fighter can be knocked out by an immovable opponent or get taken down in the first round.

Blachowicz attempted to overcome his hesitation. He was able to land some powerful punches in the second round, and he was able to resist several takedown attempts. The takedown attempts kept coming and Teixeira was able to get the bout back on the mat just minutes into the second round. It seemed like it was only a matter of time.

Teixeira is accustomed to patience. He waited years for a U.S. visa to allow him to fight in the UFC. After losing to Jon Jones, the UFC's then-champ, he waited another year to get another chance at a belt.

There would be no waiting at this moment. Teixeira quickly took a commanding decision and clung on to the rear-naked choke, making him the new champion. He did the first thing. He hugged the old champion.

Teixeira, in his postfight interview, said that he loved Blachowicz and was kind to him. He then pointed out JiriProchazka among the crowd and graciously accepted his challenge. Prochazka just held his hands in prayer and nodded to show respect. As he should.

Petr Yan, the world's best bantamweight fighter -- without a belt

Raimondi - Petr Yan dug a great hole for himself but is now closer to digging his own way out.

Yan is now the UFC 267 champion bantamweight. He beat Cory Sandhagen. He is probably just that. He's not the undisputed champion, but he is the interim champion. Yan is the only one to be held responsible for this.

Yan was defending his bantamweight title against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259, March 6. But Yan made a shockingly illegal knee to Sterling in the fourth round. Yan was disqualified. Sterling was awarded the title. Yan created the problem, regardless of whether you like it or not. Yan lost his focus and attacked Sterling with a knee so clearly foul it was breathtaking.

Sterling and Yan were supposed to meet again on Saturday. But Sterling, the UFC bantamweight champion pulled out four weeks ago due to neck surgery. As Yan tried to get back to his belt, Sandhagen looked like a typical trap fight. Yan was the better fighter. Yan took control and landed many big left hands, so that Sandhagen's right side was a different shade than his left. Yan performed brilliantly in an entertaining and interesting stylistic matchup.

He shouldn't have been fighting here for the interim title. He should be still the UFC bantamweight champ. He should be getting ready for the big-time clash with TJ Dillashaw, former champion. Instead, he is holding on to a meaningless belt while looking forward to a rebooked fight with Sterling. This is certainly not ideal. Yan has learned his lesson. He made fun of the illegal knee he received at his open gym earlier in the week.

Yan is likely to be the world's best 135-pound fighter. Yan doesn't have the belt to prove his claim, as he lost it due to his own error. This has been a difficult chapter in his life. He was able to maintain his concentration against Sandhagen and saw the victory through until its end. Sterling will be the next opponent. He'll need to do it again if he wants to regain that belt many believe is his.

Khamzat Chimaev, a top contender in welterweight, is your best bet.

Raimondi: Do you remember when Khamzat Chimiev was scheduled to fight Leon Edwards, top UFC welterweight? Although the fight did not take place, Chimaev was diagnosed with COVID-19 complications and had to be hospitalized for several weeks. There was also a feeling that Chimaev wasn't up for this type of push. He had only fought in the UFC three times and his opponents were not particularly good. Yes, Chimaev won all three of those fights and looked fantastic. He looked like one of the most promising prospects in a long time. But Edwards? Edwards was on a long winning streak, and his last loss was against Kamaru Usman in 2015.

With the uncertainty in Chimaev's actual performance and his near retirement due to COVID-19 issues, there were many questions about his return to UFC 267 against Li Jingliang. These questions quickly turned into red flags as it became apparent that Chimaev was trying cheat the scale in order to gain weight on Friday.

All of these concerns can now be put to rest. Chimaev completely destroyed Li on Saturday with a rear-naked choke submission at the end of the first round. Chimaev grabbed Li immediately for a takedown, and then yelled at Dana White, UFC president. It was a spectacle and an incredible display of dominance over another person. Chimaev smashed Li with big punches, then choked him to unconsciousness.

Li is, of course, one of the most tough guys at welterweight. Few fighters look good against him. He had been defeated only once in his entire career. Chimaev just straight-up destroyed him. This is the type of fight he can put up against Li. I don't think there is anything that the welterweight division could offer Chimaev that he wouldn't be prepared for. Although I don't think Chimaev should fight Usman, it is something that I believe should happen. Would anyone be surprised if a fight were competitive if it took place?

Chimaev needs to be a top contender in any event. Chimaev should be accompanied by a Stephen Thompson or Vicente Luque. Yes, Chimaev is ready. He would be a danger to his health if he fought anyone not at the top.

Referee Vyacheslav Kishelev didn’t do his job

Wagenheim: Referees have a hard job. Let's get started. This is true in all modern sports where athletes and action are more exciting than ever. This evolution adds a dimension to combat sports that is not present in other sports. These fast and explosive athletes want to hurt one another in MMA and boxing. It's their job. The job of the ref is to protect those who are hurt.

Kiselev didn't do his job. He failed to see Saint Denis in serious pain in round two of the welterweight prelim. The fighter was slumped against the cage, barely fighting back, and took no offense at Zaleski dos Saltos. Saint-Denis was out. The fight should have been stopped. It was shameful Kiselev did not do anything, and it was equally shameful that Saint Denis' corner allowed him back out for Round 3.

Let's now focus on the UFC regulators. They met immediately after the fight and removed Kiselev's later fight assignment. This was a rare move and I'm certain that not all athletic commissions would have done it so quickly. It was admirable that UFC regulators were quick enough to take the necessary steps.

The UFC self-regulates and has an inherent conflict of interests when it holds events in locations that have no commissions. This is usually found outside the United States. Imagine the outrage if UFC regulators intervened in a fight that seemed to favor an athlete who is a high earner for the company. This is a hypothetical conflict. But what UFC regulators saw in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night was real. Protecting a fighter from his own toughness is essential. The UFC did the right thing. The referee didn't.

Let's add another positive. Referee Jason Herzog noticed middleweight Roman Kopylov grab his cage in the fight that followed the Kiselev disaster. He was trying to stop an Albert Durev takedown, and he managed to free himself from a clinch. Herzog stopped the fight immediately, warned Kopylov, and finally, put the fighters back into clinch against the cage. Duraev won his takedown and dominated the fight. Herzog raised his hand, which should be considered a win in this bout.

One hopes that Kiselev was backstage, watching TV and taking notes.

Islam Makhachev is a challenger to the lightweight title

Islam Makhachev celebrates his victory over Dan Hooker by submission at UFC 267. Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Raimondi: The father's plan remains on track. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was the father and coach to the legend Khabib Nurmagomedov. He had a strategy for the UFC's lightweight division. Khabib was the greatest champion in the history of MMA's 155-pound weight division. Khabib was to retire undefeated, and to pass the torch on to Islam Makhachev (Khabib's longtime trainer and another of Abdulmanap’s stars pupils). Abdulmanap, who was suffering from COVID-19 complications, died last year. His dream is still alive. Khabib, now a retired coach, is following his father's lead. Makhachev is now in a position to win the title.

After stopping Dan Hooker via Kimura submission, Makhachev has nothing else to prove. He has won nine consecutive fights and defeated his three previous opponents by submission. Makhachev might benefit from another win over a ranked opponent, such as Rafael dos Anjos (who was originally scheduled to face him Saturday before he got injured) to boost his rsum. This is absurd. We have all the information we need about Makhachev. Objectively, Makhachev is a title contender. Most likely, he is also the future champion. It's just like Abdulmanap did it.

But I don't think Makhachev should necessarily jump the line. Charles Oliveira will be defending the lightweight title against Dustin Pourier at UFC 269 in Las Vegas on December 11. The winner could face Michael Chandler or Justin Gaethje in a matchup next week at UFC 268, Gaethje should win, and he should be the next in line. Let's suppose that Oliveira and Chandler both win. That one was already seen at UFC 262 back in May. Makhachev should be the one to call in such a situation.

One thing is certain, however: the call will come at some point. It will be soon. Makhachev and a UFC lightweight title fight seem certain at this point.

Magomed Ankalaev is a serious problem for light heavyweights

Magomed ankalaev defeated Volkan Oezdemir in a heavyweight bout at UFC 267. Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Okamoto: It feels like Ankalaev will be one of those guys that takes time to gain momentum as a title contender, but he is a serious threat at 205lbs. It has been slow for Ankalaev. He has been here for a while. He has been fighting in the UFC since 2018, and Saturday's win over Volkan Oezdemir was his seventh consecutive victory.

Although he's not a household name due to his reserved personality, he's still very efficient. His striking defense is exceptional. Oezdimir is not perfect as a fighter. His ceiling has fallen since his fight against Daniel Cormier for the UFC title in 2018. He's a fighter with experience and Ankalaev has completely defeated him. Ankalaev should fight Thiago Santos in his next fight. We will see. We can't ignore him in the division.