Patrick Teixeira survived two cuts and a major gut check to earn the biggest win of his improving career.

A momentum-swinging 7th round knockdown provided the margin of victory as Teixeira scored an upset 12-round decision over Carlos Adames in their interim junior middleweight title fight Saturday evening at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Scores were 114-113 twice and 116-111 in favor of Brazil’s Teixeira, who has now won five straight and now becomes a player in the deep junior middleweight division.

Teixeira put his height and reach advantages to good use in the early rounds. The tall and lean Brazilian southpaw worked well behind his jab and also found a home for his left hand. Dominican Republic’s Adames—who now resides in the Washington Heights section of New York City—was the aggressor, but largely ineffective in the first round though willing to take a few early shots in order to lay the foundation.

Adames began to close the gap in round two, even if giving away much of the frame. It paid off one round later, as the unbeaten Quisqueyano targeted the body well and coming back with right hands upstairs. Teixeira was forced to fight in reverse for the first time in the fight, a significant momentum shift for Adames.

Round four saw more competitive action, but also with Teixeira forced to deal with adversity. A cut developed around his left eye, quickly turning into a gusher as Adames landed enough right hands to make his face a bloody mess. Teixeira also suffered a cut under his right eye in round five, a frame where the fight appeared to be slipping away from him before turning it up with a power punching flurry late.

Adames reclaimed momentum in round six, scoring with right hands in turning Teixeira’s face into a mask of blood. It segued into a strong round seven… until it didn’t.

Teixiera was fighting through blood and his back against the ropes but dramatically turned the tide with a right hook that left Adames rocked and out on his feet. A follow up sequence sent Adames to the canvas for the first time in his career, barely beating the count but clearly out on his feet. Referee Robert Byrd gave him a thorough evaluation, only for the bell to sound to end the round and save the third man the trouble of having to make the difficult call to stop the fight.

To his credit, Adames bounced back well in round eight, connecting with right hands while Teixeira wasn’t quite as free-flowing with his power shots.

By round nine, Adames had his legs all the way back under him but his mental state was another matter. Teixiera was beating him to the punch, leaving Adames frustrated and second-guessing himself at times.

Teixeira carried over the momentum into the 10th round, using lateral movement to take some steam off of Adames’ punches. Right hands were still getting through, but quickly countered by Teixeira left hands and taking the lead in ensuing exchanges.

Adames needed a strong surge in the championship rounds. He instead spent most of the 11th round taunting Teixeira but landing few punches of significance. Teixeira wouldn’t fall for the machismo bait, sticking to the basics and keeping space between the two.

Teixeira attempted the same tactic in the 12th and final round, although enougb punches came back to open up the cuts under both eyes. Still, Adames was only enjoying singular moments while Teixeira shot his jab with confidence, at times taunting Adames as he sensed a victory was on the other side of the final bell.

Teixeira has now won five straight in improving to 31-1 (22KOs) with the win. The interim title he earned in the process could receive an upgrade, as unbeaten full titlist Jaime Munguia is expected to vacate in the next week or so.

Adames suffers his first career defeat, falling to 18-1 (14KOs).

The bout streamed live on ESPN+ in supporting capacity to unbeaten former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez’ debut at 130 pounds versus late replacement Adam Lopez.