Thiago Santos In Final Talks to Face Magomed Ankalaev in UFC Fight Night Next March

Thiago Santos could be returning to The Octagon in March…

The UFC is finalizing a light heavyweight fight between the 37-year-old mixed martial artist and Magomed Ankalaev to headline an event in March, according to ESPN.

Thiago Santos

The 205-pound contest will serve as the main event of a UFC Fight Night on March 12. The UFC has not announced a location yet for the event.

A former title challenger, Santos (22-9) is coming off a decision win over Johnny Walker in October. The Brazilian fighter challenged former champion Jon Jones for the title in July 2019 and suffered a serious knee injury in a decision loss. He dropped his next two bouts coming off knee surgery before rebounding in October.

Ankalaev (16-1) is one of the fastest-rising contenders in the division. The 29-year-old Russian is on a seven-fight win streak, including a decision over former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 267 two weeks ago.

Glover Teixeira Becomes Oldest First-Time Champion in UFC History

Glover Teixeira has accomplished what many thought impossible.

The 42-year-old Brazilian-American mixed martial artist defeated Jan Blachowicz via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:02 of the second round to win the UFC light heavyweight title on Saturday in the main event of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi.

Glover Teixeira

Teixeira was a +210 underdog, per Caesars Sportsbook.

At 42 years old, Teixeira is the oldest first-time champion in UFC history and the second-oldest fighter to win a UFC title, behind only Randy Couture.

Teixeira joins Couture and Daniel Cormier as only the third UFC fighter to win a title at age 40 or older.

The 14 UFC fights between Teixeira’s title loss to Jon Jones at UFC 172 on April 26, 2014, and Saturday, were the most between title shots in the same division in UFC history.

“Never give up on your dreams,” Teixeira said in his postfight interview. “No matter what people say, don’t listen to them. They’re gonna put you down. Don’t listen to those negative people. Believe in yourself.”

Teixeira took down Blachowicz in the first round and basically kept him there for the duration. In the second round, Blachowicz had success with his boxing. But Teixeira wobbled him with a left hook and then took him down again. This time, Teixeira was able to get mount, then take Blachowicz’s back and lock in the choke. “I’m breaking the rules — 42 years old,” Teixeira said. “I’m gonna keep breaking those rules.”

ESPN has Blachowicz ranked No. 5 in the world on its pound-for-pound MMA list. At light heavyweight, ESPN has Blachowicz ranked No. 1 and Teixeira at No. 2.

Teixeira (33-7) has won six straight and seven of his past eight, most recently before this weekend a third-round submission win over Thiago Santos in November 2020.

The Brazil native has 28 finishes in 33 career victories. Teixeira, a Connecticut resident, has been considered one of the top light heavyweights in the world for more than a decade, an incredible stretch of consistency and quality.

He has the most finishes (13) and submission victories (7) in UFC light heavyweight history. Teixeira’s 16 UFC light heavyweight wins are second most next to Jones (20).

“Glover Teixeira is and has been one of the toughest guys in the division for a very long time, this was his dream forever to get this title shot,” UFC president Dana White said. “He finally gets it and did it tonight.”

On Saturday, Teixeira said he would be returning to his childhood town of Sobralia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, with the UFC gold. “I told you guys I’m coming home with the belt,” Teixeira said. “And I am. The promise is done.”

“This guy never gave up,” White said. “All the adversity that he’s faced in his career and here at 42 years old, a few days after his birthday, he wins the title. It’s a pretty cool story. Couldn’t happen to a better guy, too.”