On Saturday, April 16, 2016, the UFC heads to the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., for an action packed night of fights. Even though UFC on FOX 19 took a hit when Tony Ferguson was forced out of his main event bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov the new main event between light heavyweights Glover Teixeira and Rashad Evans is more than compelling.

After suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in his career Teixeira has gotten back on track; winning his last two bouts by stoppage. At 36 years old Teixeira honestly cannot afford another loss if he wants to challenge for the title again, time simply isn’t on his side.And despite 888Sport.com putting him at a -230 underdog, Teixeira is still an undeniable threat to Evans.

Evans – like Teixeira – is 36 and his competitive window is closing fast. Unlike Teixeira, Evans’ recent injury history and extended layoffs have kept him from being able to get back on track. Coming off of a loss to Ryan Bader at UFC 192 in October of 2015 this bout will be pivotal for Evans in terms of staying relevant in the division.
Considering their age, pedigree and the current state of the light heavyweight division this fight will impact the current title picture and likely put the winner just one or two wins away from another shot at the crown.

Striking

On the feet – where the majority of this fight will likely take place – this matchup is extremely interesting. In Evans you have a striker who has power but is at his best when he is utilizing movement and range. Teixeira on the other hand is a powerful striker with good technical aptitude but a penchant for excelling in ugly exchanges.
The winner of the striking battle will be the fighter who is able to dictate the distance; on the outside Evans is better on the inside Teixeira is better.

Advantage: Even

Grappling

Even though Teixeira is an underrated grappler he simply isn’t on Evans’ level. Between his amateur wrestling background and his speed and athleticism Evans has become one of the most effective wrestlers in MMA today. While Evans isn’t going to be able to take Teixeira down at will he should get the better of the grappling exchanges.

Advantage: Evans

Submissions

Should this fight hit the ground things could get very interesting; while Evans is the superior wrestler with a excellent top game Teixeira is a high level BJJ black belt with an impressive competition background. Evans has never been submitted in his career but Teixeira is not the kind of fighter you can afford to make a mistake on the ground against.

Advantage: Teixeira

X-Factors

Movement will be a huge X-Factor for Evans heading into Saturday night. He is at his best when he can move in and out and side to side with great fluidity. Bader was able to quell his movement and as a result Evans lost the fight.

For Teixeira, it’s all about closing the distance. If he has to chase Evans he is going to be in for a long night but if he can effectively close the distance and cut off the cage he can force Evans to fight in tight where Teixeira’s power can take over.

Prediction

Look for Evans to control the fight early at range but once Teixeira finds his rhythm he will catch Evans with a heavy shot that will change the complexion of the fight; from that point on look for Teixeira to close the distance and batter Evans in the pocket.

Teixeira over Evans via Unanimous Decision

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.