Light heavyweight veteran Glover Teixeira looked every bit of 40 in the first round of his UFC Fight Night 171 main event bout against contender Anthony Smith on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida.
But Teixeira found a way to turn back the clock and win his fourth straight fight by taking control in the third round and finishing Smith with a series of punches on the ground in the fifth.
“I was hoping so,” Teixeira said of whether he thought Smith would slow down after pushing such a fast pace early in the fight. “The guy hits like a truck, but I move my head a lot and I train so hard.
“What did Rocky Balboa say? ‘It’s not how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you get hit and keep coming forward.’ ”
Teixeira had Smith in trouble for almost the entire third and fourth rounds before referee Jason Herzog stopped the fight at 1:04 of the fifth round.
Teixeira outlanded Smith 158-14 in the final three rounds, including 76-1 in the third round, according to the UFC’s official stats.
The event was the second in five days at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena with no fans in attendance. Another card is planned for Saturday.
Veteran Ben Rothwell gave former light heavyweight title challenger Ovince Saint Preux a rude welcome to the heavyweight division, scoring a split-decision victory.
Rothwell found success early and overcame a knockdown at the end of the second round.
Lightweight Drew Dober, a teammate of new interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje, continued a big week for Colorado’s Team Elevation with a second-round knockout of Alexander Hernandez.
It was the third straight knockout win for Dober.
“Team Elevation is something special,” he said. “The teammates and the coaches, we truly care about each other. We make sacrifices for one another. It’s not just another gym where it’s dog eat dog and everyone is trying to get ahead of each other. We try to carry each other. This is not just my victory, it’s a victory for everyone at Team Elevation.”
Bantamweight Ricky Simon snapped a two-fight losing streak with a split decision over Ray Borg, who challenged for the flyweight title in 2017. Simon had a dominant first round that included four takedowns, then held on to snap Borg’s two-fight winning streak.
Former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski won for the second time in three fights when he took a unanimous decision over Philipe Lins, the winner of the 2018 Professional Fighters League heavyweight tournament.
Veteran lightweight Michael Johnson suffered his third straight loss and sixth in his past eight fights when he was submitted by Thiago Moises early in the second round in the first fight on the main card.
On the preliminary card, Sijara Eubanks snapped a two-fight losing streak dating to November 2018 with a unanimous decision over Sarah Moras in a women’s bantamweight bout.
Heavyweight Chase Sherman made a triumphant return to the UFC with a second-round knockout of Ike Villanueva.
Sherman was released from the promotion in 2018 after losing three straight fights, but went 3-0 on the regional circuit and competed in two Bare Knuckles FC bouts before getting another shot.
He took full advantage, landing a series of shots against the cage that included a nasty left elbow to secure the finish.
Featherweight Brian Kelleher knocked out Hunter Azure with a left hook in the second round, and lightweight Omar Morales won a unanimous decision over Gabriel Benitez, who suffered a nasty gash on his left shin that quickly became the talk of social media.