With former champion Chuck Liddell and The Pit’s John Hackleman in his corner, former San Luis Obispo resident Glover Teixeira made an impressive UFC light heavyweight debut Saturday, choking opponent Kyle Kingsbury into submission 1 minute, 53 seconds into the first round and extending his MMA winning streak to 16 fights.
Appearing on the undercard of UFC 146 in Las Vegas, the native Brazilian attacked Kingsbury with a flurry of punches, knocked him down with an uppercut, mounted his opponent and soon locked in a rear choke. Kingsbury tapped out with more than three minutes left in the round.
The match was the second of five streamed live at the UFC’s Facebook page and was Teixeira’s first on U.S. soil since 2008.
Teixeira spent close to four years living in San Luis Obispo County, serving as Liddell’s main sparring partner when the former Cal Poly wrestler was UFC’s reigning light heavyweight champion.
Living as an illegal immigrant, Teixeira might have gotten his promotion to UFC sooner but had to return to Brazil to go through the proper immigration channels. It took him more than three years to get cleared to return. “They gave me a green card now,” Teixeira elatedly told UFC analyst Joe Rogan in a postfight interview, “so I’m here for good.”
Both Liddell and Hackleman, who trains clients out of a fight gym in San Luis Obispo, congratulated Teixeira in the octagon, and Teixeira said it was added pressure having two well-respected fight men on his side.
But any nerves were hardly noticeable as Kingsbury failed to get in much offense. Kingsbury’s one attempt at a leg takedown gave the opening for the uppercut that knocked him to the ground for good.
Teixeira improved to 18-2 in MMA fights with 11 knockouts, five submissions and two decision victories.
In the main event, Junior Dos Santos flattened Frank Mir with a huge right hand and finished him on the ground at 3:04 of the second round, emphatically defending his heavyweight title.
Dos Santos (15-1) picked apart the two-time ex-champion with superior boxing throughout the fight.