Glover Teixeira earned his third consecutive win Saturday night, knocking out former champion Rashad Evans with 1 minute, 48 seconds left in the first round.
The light heavyweight fight headlined UFC Fight Night at Amalie Arena. Teixeira (25-4) accepted the bout on five weeks’ notice after Evans’ original opponent, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, was forced off the card because of injury.Evans openly admitted Teixeira was a tougher opponent than Rua would have been — and that proved to be the case in Saturday’s main event, as Teixeira walked Evans (19-5-1) into the fence and unloaded a left hook that dropped him to his knees. As the 36-year-old held himself up in a knelt position, Teixeira closed in with the finishing blow, a straight right hand to the jawline. Evans went out cold from the blow.
“This fight was five rounds, but I didn’t want to come here and do footwork,” Teixeira said. “My way to fight is finish. [I’m] like [former heavyweight boxer] Mike Tyson. I take care of business.”
Originally from Brazil and now fighting out of Connecticut, Teixeira entered the night as the No. 7-ranked light heavyweight in the world, according to ESPN.com. He is 8-2 in the UFC and has fought for the championship once. Two years ago, Teixeira fought Jon Jones at UFC 172 and lost via unanimous decision. He lost every round.
Teixeira has looked good in his recent three-fight streak, however, picking up wins against Ovince Saint Preux and Patrick Cummins. He never allowed Evans to pick up any momentum on Saturday, as he immediately took the center of the Octagon and kept Evans on his back foot. Evans fired back a few left hooks in defense, but Teixeira was relatively in control from start to finish.
After the fight, Teixeira called for a bout against Anthony Johnson, who is actually a teammate of Evans at Blackzilians in Boca Raton, Florida. Johnson was sitting cageside for the fight and smiled upon hearing the invitation.
“I feel right at the top,” Teixeira said. “‘Rumble’ Johnson is waiting around for Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. He doesn’t want to wait around. Let’s dance, baby. Let’s make some money.”
Johnson (21-5) is widely viewed as the next No. 1 contender at 205 pounds, but he would have to wait for the shot. Cormier, the defending champion, is currently recovering from a leg injury. Jones is scheduled to fight Saint Preux next week at UFC 197 for an interim title.
Evans suffered his second loss in a row. He sat out all of 2014 and most of 2015 with knee injuries. His last win was on Nov. 16, 2013, against Chael Sonnen.