Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira are finally going to settle the score this weekend at UFC on ESPN+ 40. Both men have good reason to be upset however, after it was revealed that Israel Adesanya will be moving up to 205lbs to challenge Jan Blachowicz.
Originally, it was preconceived that the winner of Santos-Teixeira would become the obvious choice to oppose Blachowicz in his first title defense.
Now, it appears Adesanya will fight Blachowicz in February of next year; effectively stomping on that notion. If ‘Stylebender’ wins, you have to imagine the UFC will try to officially book him versus Jon Jones. That fight has to happen eventually and adding championship gold into the mix will only heighten anticipation.
Meanwhile, if Blachowicz reigns supreme, it’s fair to assume he’d be out until the end of summer 2021 at the earliest. In all likelihood, the man next in line, i.e., Thiago Santos or Glover Teixeira, would have to wait until next fall.
While most were very excited to hear the news of Adesanya moving up to light heavyweight, it’s difficult not to feel bad for Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira.
Both Santos and Teixeira have been preparing for this bout for several months now with the mindset that a win would earn them an immediate title opportunity. If the fight took place on either of the previously scheduled dates (Sept.12th, Oct. 4th), this scenario would’ve been avoided. Unfortunately, both fighters tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the fight to be rescheduled for this Saturday.
Moreover, if Jared Cannonier had beaten Robert Whittaker at UFC 254, this scenario would’ve been avoided as well. Cannonier would’ve challenged Adesanya and the winner of Santos-Teixeira would’ve decided who faced Blachowicz next.
That’s a lot of ‘would haves’ though. The two Brazilian light heavyweights have really been dealt some bad luck.
Where Santos and Teixeira are in their careers only adds to the magnitude of which they should be upset.
‘Marreta’ is fresh off of major knee injuries, which he suffered in his valiant effort versus Jon Jones in 2019. He has worked incredibly hard to get back into fight-shape and he would enter a fight against Blachowicz with supreme confidence, having TKO’d him just prior to facing Jones. Equally in a tough spot, or perhaps even more so, is 41 year old Glover Teixeira. Many believed Teixeira’s dreams of competing for a UFC title again went out the window when he lost to Corey Anderson in 2018. He’s proved those who thought that way wrong by rattling off four straight wins. If he beats Santos and then has to fight again while he waits and loses, that will be a tragedy.
Fans may have won when Dana White confirmed their plans to make Adesanya-Blachowicz, but both Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira lost in a major way.
I don’t believe the winner of Saturday’s main event should have to fight again before competing for the belt. Sadly, the Adesanya-Blachowicz fight could very well mean that.