This weekend's UFC 160 card is loaded with tantalizing matchups that promise to deliver exciting, competitive action. Among the event's many gems is an intriguing light heavyweight showdown between hard-hitting sluggers James Te Huna and Glover Teixeira.
Both Te Huna and Teixeira are rolling right now, which means there is a lot at stake. That they are both aggressive, explosive finishers only adds to allure of this main-card bout.
It's one that you most certainly won't want to miss.
Here we will take a look at the fight between Te Huna and Teixeira and examine how it is likely to play out. We will assess which fighter has an edge in each of the striking, wrestling and submission areas of the game and use those assessments to project the probable winner.
James Te Huna
Few fighters attack with such ferocity and power as Teixeira, but Te Huna is one of them. He's a legitimate knockout threat every time he connects, and he has become quite efficient with his connections.
Excluding his last fight, a win over Ryan Jimmo, Te Huna has mostly relied on his stand-up to win fights, but he has been known to mix in a takedown now and again, and when he lands one, it's some pretty nasty ground-and-pound he employs.
Speaking of nasty ground-and-pound, Teixeira just looks mean when he gets on top of his opponents. Remember his fight with Fabio Maldonado? That was about as brutal as it gets.
But Teixeira isn't only danger striking on the mat; he hits hard from anywhere and lets his hands fly when he is upright. And, like Te Huna, he too can knock an opponent out with a single shot.
Edge: Te Huna
Both guys are dangerous strikers, but I like Te Huna as the cleaner puncher. I also think that while Teixeira lacks nothing for power, he isn't quite on par with Te Huna in that regard.
Standing poses dangers for either guy, just slightly more perilous ones for Teixeira.
James Te Huna
Te Huna will sometimes mix a takedown in with his vicious stand-up attack, but his ambitions are foiled more often than not. For his UFC career he has just a 39 percent success rate with the takedown, confirming that wrestling is not an area of strength for him.
Defensively, Te Huna is a bit better having stuffed 69 percent of takedowns launched against him. That number is far from overwhelmingly impressive, but it at least allows him to keep the action vertical the majority of the time.
Teixeira's sprawl has not failed him as a UFC fighter. He's stuffed every incoming takedown, a feat recently capped of by shutting down Quinton Jackson four consecutive times.
Matching his defensive successes up with Te Huna's middling offensive attack suggests that Teixeira is only in minor danger of being taken down at UFC 160. But what about his offensive prospects?
Well, those would appear to look good too. He's posted an 80 percent success rate in the UFC, something that is especially impressive given triumphs over a pair of strong wrestlers in Jackson and Kyle Kingsbury.
Teixeira has found a lot of success going to his wrestling of late, and he can look to build off those successes at UFC 160 if he so chooses. He'll have a marked advantage over Te Huna in wrestling, an edge he'll be able to use to control the tempo and location of the fight.
James Te Huna
Te Huna is still hunting his first submission in the Octagon, but it's not really an endeavor he is wholly committed to. In fact, since he's joined the UFC roster, he has attempted just one submission.
The only loss of Te Huna's UFC career came via submission, a failure preceded three times before he landed a roster-spot with the world's premiere MMA outfit.
But it isn't as though Te Huna's submission defense is horrible. It's just that it's penetrable. Still, penetrable could pose a problem competing against a grappler of Teixeira's caliber.
Teixeira has gained more renown for his heavy hands than his submission prowess since joining the UFC, but grappling may yet his sharpest tool. Teixeira will sometimes pass up a submission attempt to work his ground-and-pound, but make no mistake, he can finish in a variety of ways.
He also employs an extremely tight defensive game on the mat. In fact, it's nearly inconceivable that he would suffer the first submission loss of his MMA career at UFC 160.
Te Huna has shown improvements to his ground game over the past couple years, but Teixeira is on another level. Simple as that.
James Te Huna
Te Huna is a deadly striker, and though he'll be facing someone who is also quite deadly, his best chance of winning remains on the feet.
Teixeira has been hit hard a handful of times since jumping to the UFC, so there is certainly hope for Te Huna to sneak one past his defenses. And given the power he possesses, that might be all he needs to lock up a victory.
If Te Huna finds himself on the mat, however, trouble is likely to ensue.
Teixeira has developed a real penchant for slinging leather, but he'll need to tread lightly with Te Huna. That isn't to say he'll be completely overmatched on the feet, just that that is an area of danger for him.
His clearest path to victory at UFC 160 is getting the action to the mat. He should be able to control Te Huna from there, and also has a good chance of finishing with a submission.
Projected Result: Glover Teixeira defeats James Te Huna via submission, Round 2
If Teixeira doesn't recognize what a threat Te Huna's hands are now, he will after he feels them touch his face. Once that happens though, I anticipate him zeroing in on the takedown and keeping Te Huna on his back once he lands it.
Teixeira's grappling is such that he can finish Te Huna, though a decision could also be in the cards, a knockout could be also. But of all the possible outcomes this fight may conclude with, I rank a Teixeira submission as the most likely.