The UFC returns to Fight Island for UFC 267 on October 30, 2021, at the Etihad Arena in the United Arab Emirates.

Light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz will defend his belt for the second time against former title challenger Glover Teixeira in the main event. Meanwhile, an interim bantamweight title fight between former champion Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen will serve as the event’s co-headliner.

Highly-touted lightweight Islam Makhachev will take on short-notice opponent Dan Hooker in the third bout of the night while heavyweights Marcin Tybura and Alexander Volkov also square off in the main card.

UFC 267 will also feature the highly-anticipated return of Khamazat Chimaev who has not fought in over a year after falling ill to COVID-19 and announcing his retirement. Light heavyweight contenders Magomed Ankalaev and Volkan Oezdemi will open the main card in a three-round light heavyweight contest.

Let’s take a look at the fights and make our predictions.

“Fighting" Jan Blachowicz vs Glover Teixeira

Blachowicz will be making the second defense of the 205-pound belt he won by knocking out Dominick Reyes at UFC 253. The 38-year old Polish Power went on to successfully defend the title by repulsing the challenge of current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC last March 6th. The former KSW light heavyweight champion has won five straight bouts and has just lost once in his last 10 outings. Blachowicz owns wins over the likes of Jared Cannonier, Jim Manuwa, Nikita Krylov, Luk Rockhold, Jacare Souza, Corey Anderson, Reyes, and Adesanya.

He has a record of 28-8 with eight knockout wins and nine victories via submission. Blachowicz is 6-2 tall with a reach of 78 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Teixeira is the no. 1 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 42-year old Brazilian is a veteran of promotions like WEC, Impact FC, PFC, and Shooto. He once challenged for the UFC light heavyweight title but was beaten via unanimous decision by Jon Jones at UFC 172. After that loss, Teixeira struggled with a 4-4 record. However, he has won his last five bouts and recently submitted Thiago Santos last November 7th.

Glover has a record of 32-7 with 18 knockouts and 9 submission wins. He stands 6-2 tall with a 76-inch reach and fights out of the orthodox stance.

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Give Glover Teixeira tons of respect for reaching the top of the mountain even at an advanced stage. However, I think he is at a huge disadvantage against the current champion.

Teixeira’s wrestling-boxing is slower than dirt. And before he can get into a groove and rack up control time, he’s likely going to be hit with one of Blachowicz’s power punches. Now Teixeira has been able to avoid damage in his recent bouts but none of his opponents have the power that the champion has.

I think that Blachowicz is too smart and too powerful for Teixeira.

Prediction: Jan Blachowicz

“Fighting" Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen

Yan is the immediate former bantamweight champion who lost his belt unceremoniously after he landed an illegal knee against Aljamain Sterling. There was supposed to be a rematch but with Sterling injured, Yan will fight for the interim title. Prior to that debacle, Yan had won 10 straight fights, including seven under the UFC. The former ACB bantamweight champion has wins over John Dodson, Urijah Faber, and Jose Aldo.

The 28-year old Russian is the number 1 bantamweight contender in the UFC. He has a record of 15-2 with seven knockouts and one win via submission. Yan stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 67 inches and is a switch hitter.

Cory Sandhagen is the no. 3 ranked bantamweight contender in the UFC. The Sandman is a former Sparta Combat League bantamweight champion who also had a stint with the LFA. Sandhagen won his first five UFC bouts before losing to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250. He bounced back from that defeat with a pair of wins against Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar but lost to T.J. Dillashaw in his most recent outing. With Dillashaw unable to fight Yan, Sandhagen gets the shot to win interim gold.

The Sandman is 29 years old and stands 5-11 with a reach of 70 inches while fighting as a switch hitter. Sandhagen has a record of 14-3 with six knockouts and three submission wins.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 10/29/2021

Both these fighters are excellent strikers but have different approaches in their striking attacks. Sandhagen likes to use his long and lanky frame to light up opponents from a distance while Yan is one of the best boxers in MMA today just loves to move forward until he finds an opening.

I think that Sandhagen will try to fight at range but Yan is relentless and should be able to close the distance and land nasty body shots that will open up Sandhagen’s head. I like Sandhagen’s durability in the stand-up but I think Yan will beat him with more power and more volume.

Prediction: Petr Yan

“Fighting" Islam Makhachev vs Dan Hooker

Makhachev is being hailed as the next big thing at lightweight. The 30-year old from Dagestan is a former Combat Sambo world champion and is the no. 5 ranked lightweight in the UFC. Makhachev has won 8 straight bouts and is 9-1 under the UFC banner. He has submitted three out of his last five opponents and has been virtually unscathed during his winning streak. In his last bout, Makhachev submitted Thiago Moises in his first-ever main event appearance.

He is 20-1 with three knockouts and nine submission wins. Makhachev is a southpaw who stands 5-10 tall and has a reach of 70 inches.

Dan Hooker is the no. 6 ranked lightweight in the UFC. Hangman had just fought last September 25th when he defeated Nate Haqparast via decision but with Rafael Dos Anjos withdrawing from the Makhachev bout, he took the fight on one month’s notice. Hooker is a former kickboxing champion and Australian Fighting Championship lightweight champion. After starting his UFC career with a 3-3 record, he won seven of his next eight bouts before suffering back-to-back losses against Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler.

Hookier is 21-10 with 10 knockouts and seven submission wins. Hangman stands 6-0 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is a switch hitter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 10/29/2021

Give props to Hooker for taking this fight on one month’s notice when most of the top contenders didn’t want it even with a full camp. Makhachev is the most dangerous lightweight in the UFC and although he hasn’t been tested yet, no one wants to dare and fight him.

I think Hooker will have his moments here but Makhachev’s Combat Sambo experience should help him neutralize Hooker’s boxing and dominate him in the clinch and on the ground. I have nothing but respect for Dan Hooker but he is facing the closest fighter to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Prediction: Islam Makhachev

“Fighting" Alexander Volkov vs Marcin Tybura

Volkov is the no. 5 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. Drago is a former Bellator heavyweight champion and the M-1 Global heavyweight champion. The 33-year old Russian also won two Bellator Heavyweight tournaments before joining the UFC in 2016. He looked on his way to a title shot with four straight wins before he was upset by Derrick Lewis. He is 3-2 since then and is coming off a loss to current interim champion Cyril Gane.

Drago has a record of 33-9 with 22 knockouts and three submission wins. He stands 6-7 tall with a reach of 80 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Marcin Tybura is also a former M-1 Global heavyweight champion and an M-1 heavyweight tournament winner. Currently ranked 9th in the UFC’s heavyweight division, the 35-year old from Poland joined the UFC in 2015. Tybur started his UFC career with a 4-5 record but has won his last five bouts including back-to-back knockouts of Greg Hardy and Walt Harris in his last two assignments in Performance of the Night winning victories.

Tybura is 22-6 with 9 knockouts and six wins via submission. He stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 78 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 10/29/2021

Volkov is long, tall, and more mechanical while Tybura is shorter and more powerful but has a plodding style that Volkov can take advantage of with his more polished striking. If only Tybura has the wrestling chops because Volkov doesn’t have an excellent takedown defense. But Tybura doesn’t.

Most likely, these two will end up in a striking battle where Volkov will fight at range to avoid getting hit with Tybura’s big punches. This probably won’t be the prettiest fight of the night. But Volkov gets the win on points.

Prediction: Alexander Volkov

“Fighting" Khamzat Chimaev vs Li Jingliang

Khamzat Chimaev rose to superstardom last season by winning two UFC bouts in different weight classes in a span of just 10 days. He added more to his folklore by winning a third bout during a 66-day period. But since then, the hype has dissipated. Chimaev tested positive for COVID-19 and had a tough road to recovery. He even announced his retirement but was persuaded by Chechen dictator Kadyrov to return to fighting. Now, he will be fighting for the first time in over a year and it remains to be seen what he will look like after his health struggles.

Borz is 27-years old and stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 75 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 9-0 with six knockouts and three wins via submission.

Li Jingliang is the no. 11 ranked welterweight in the UFC. The 33-year old from China is a former Legend FC welterweight champion who joined the UFC in 2014. Li started his career with a 2-2 record but has since won eight out of his last 10 assignments. In his last bout, Li knocked out Santiago Ponzinibbio inside one round in a Performance of the Night-winning effort.

Li Jingliang is six feet tall with a reach of 71 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 18-6 with nine knockouts and four submission wins.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 10/29/2021

Unless COVID-19 has taken away his powers, this should be Chimaev’s coming out party. Li is the first ranked opponent that he has faced but he should be able to take care of business. Li has a 59% takedown defense which Chimaev should be able to take advantage of. That is if he does not put Li away in the stand-up.

 Li’s a tough cookie to crack but Chimaev’s just the more talented fighter between these two. Give me Borz to win this.

Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev

“Fighting" Magomed Ankalaev vs Volkan Oezdemir

Ankalaev is the no. 7 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 29-year old from Dagestan is a former light heavyweight champion at the World Fighting Championship Akhmat promotion. He joined the UFC in 2018 and after losing to Paul Craig in his UFC debut, Ankalaev has won six straight bouts and is coming off a decision win over Nikita Krylov.

Anklalaev is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 75 inches. He has a record of 15-1 with nine knockouts.

Volkan Oezdemir is the 8th ranked 205-pound fighter in the UFC. The 32-year old Swiss fighter is a former UFC title challenger who lost to Daniel Cormier via TKO at UFC 220. Oezdemir won his first three UFC bouts to earn a title shot but is just 2-4 since then. In his last bout, Oezdemir was knocked out by Jiri Prochazka at UFC 251 in July of last year. This is his first bout since the loss.

Oezdemir is 17-5 with 12 knockouts and one submission win. He is 6-2 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 10/29/2021

Oezdemir is an accomplished veteran but he’s clearly on a downward spiral right now. On the other hand, Ankalaev is on the rise and he is bad and powerful. Oezdemir used to have the stuff to keep up with the big hitters but always ended up getting overpowered. That will likely be the case here.

Ankalaev is younger, hungrier, and more powerful. If Oezdemir makes it past the first round, that should be an accomplishment already.

Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev

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