UFC stars face off for final time in Abu Dhabi before renewing rivalry at stacked UFC 267

Two title bouts headline 14-fight card at Etihad Arena on Saturday

The stars of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi faced off for the final time on Friday before meeting in the octagon on Saturday night, with light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz declaring at the Etihad Arena, “Tomorrow, you’re going to hear ‘and still’.”

The giant Pole defends his crown against No 1-ranked contender Glover Teixeira in the headline clash in the capital – one of two title bouts at the top of the card.

On Friday, in front of a vocal crowd at the ceremonial weigh-in, Blachowicz, 38, squared off with Brazilian Teixeira, before telling those in attendance: “Tomorrow, you're going to hear ‘and still’.

"But you're going to see a good fight, a really good fight.”

Teixeira, who like Blachowicz rides a five-fight win streak, celebrated his 42nd birthday on Thursday. Should he defeat his rival at Etihad Arena, the Brazilian will become the second oldest UFC champion in history.

Randy Coutoure captured the heavyweight title in 2007, aged 43.

“It’s an amazing birthday,” Teixeira said. “I’m going to get my gift tomorrow night, man. No doubt about it.”

Meanwhile, previewing his interim bantamweight title bout against No 3-ranked contender Cory Sandhagen former champion Petr Yan, 28, from Russia, said: “As always, I will be uncompromising. I believe it’s going to be a very exciting fight.”

Late stand-in Sandhagen agreed last month to replace injured champion Aljamain Sterling, who withdrew due to injury.

American Sandhagen, 29, said of the five-rounder with Yan: “Twenty-five minutes of war. That’s what I’m ready for and that’s what I’m going to do.”

The most notable face-off on Friday played out between welterweight challengers Li Jingliang, 33, from China, and Russian-born Swede Khamzat Chimaev.

Chimaev, 27, is making his long-awaited return to UFC after 13 months, following a prolonged battle with Covid-19.

At the face-off, Chimaev had to kept apart from his opponent.

Earlier on Friday, at the official weigh-in, Chimaev had trouble making weight and required an extra 45 minutes to come in at 171lbs.

Saturday night’s event at Etihad Arena features 14 bouts and marks the first UFC fight night in Abu Dhabi since January.

Updated: October 31st 2021, 6:52 AM