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Miguel Torres, newcomers reign supreme at WEC 37

In the first mixed martial arts fight in U.S. history to feature two fighters of Mexican heritage headlining a televised event, WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres successfully defended his title courtesy of a second round TKO over Manny Tapia.

The victory improved Torres’ documented record to 35-1 and his record under the World Extreme Cagefighting banner to 4-0.

Torres, an Indiana native who once trained under the late Carlson Gracie in Chicago, improved to 2-0 while wearing the WEC’s 135 pound title after rocking Tapia multiple times before forcing the referee to call a stop to the bout at 3:04 of round 2.

The loss marked the first of Tapia’s career, with his record falling to 10-1-1. Considered to be one of the larger bantamweight fighters in the WEC, Tapia was still dwarfed by Torres during the fight’s obligatory pre-fight staredown.

During the tension-filled staredown, neither Torres or Tapia extended a hand to one another and the two avoided the customary “hand slap” that precedes the beginning of the first round in most MMA fights. The angst directed by Torres towards Tapia could be in response to Tapia labeling Torres as “overrated” earlier in the week.

Once the fight commenced, Torres’ reach advantage caused matchup problems for Tapia, who could not engage with Torres without being peppered by a strong left jab. The reach disadvantage prompted Tapia to remain out of Torres’ range for the most. When he did attempt to close the distance, Tapia attempted to land a right cross that never reached its intended destination.

Tapia refrained from trying to change the terms of the fight with an attempt to take Torres off his foot, instead opting to steer clear of the black belt’s renowned submission skills.

Torres’ emegerence from a well-respected regional fighter to nationally known fighter that is now recognized as one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport has created a void in the WEC, which now is lacking an obvious number one contender.

Making a case for a future title shot on the undercard was Brian Bowles of the Hardcore Gym in Atlanta, Georgia. Bowles improved to 7-0 following a third round submission over Will Ribeiro, who had entered the fight with an impressive 10-1 record.

In defeat, Ribeiro made a positive impression in his first major televised bout. A former member of the Brazilian Olympic boxing team, Ribeiro showed dynamic striking ability and a willingess to take risks in an attempt to knock Bowles out.

Despite Ribeiro’s striking prowess, Bowles also showed a willingness to stand and trade while displaying effective combination striking. He was eventually able to finish the native Brazilian with a guillotine submission at 1:11 of round 3.

In addition to wins by Torres and Bowles, the 10-bout card that emanated from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas also featured victories by several newcomers to the WEC roster.

Former IFL featherweight champion Wagnney Fabiano engaged in a war of attrition for position while locked in guard against fellow debuting top ten featherweight Akitoshi Tamura. Tamura spent most of the fight on his back and showed limited offensive ability from the position, yet displayed impressive defensive skills. The Japanese fighter was able to limit the amount of damage inflicted by Fabiano, who had achieved full mount at one point.

Tamura was only able to withstand Fabiano’s smothering for so long, as submitted to a arm triangle choke with just 12 seconds remaining in the fight.

Bantamweight Joseph Benavidez, who was coming off a first round submission over Junya Kudo at DREAM 5 in a bout that was nationally televised in Japan, made his WEC debut a successful one after recording a unanimous decision victory over Danny Martinez.

A protege of former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber, Benavidez out-classed the rugged Martinez while improving his record to 9-0.

Lightweight Bart Palaszewski, another former refugee of the IFL, TKO’d Alex Karalexis, a veteran from the first season of Spike TV’s “Ultimate Fighter” reality show, at 1:11 of round 2.

The show also featured the debut of former multi-time NCAA amateur wrestling champion Johny Hendricks, who improved to 4-0 following a second round TKO over Justin Haskins in a welterweight encounter.

Mark Munoz, another former NCAA champion, improved to 5-0 with a first round TKO over Ricardo Barros. The victory marked the light heavyweight’s final fight in the WEC, as the promotion is closing its middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Munoz’s next fight will come in the UFC’s Octagon.

Cub Swanson also made a triumphant to the WEC after his last fight for the promotion ended when he submitted to Jens Pulver just 35 seconds into their heated bout at WEC 31. Facing highly-regarded Hiroyuki Takaya, Swanson catapulted himself back towards the top of the featherweight division with a unanimous decision victory.

  • king mah mah says:

    Manny never really had a chance with Miguel’s reach advantage. You could see the ko coming from a mile away. Miguel rocked him a few times with his jab alone. That kick Miguel attempted was pretty sweet. He didn’t land it and it was more showboating than anything, but it was still pretty sweet.

  • Bad Monkey says:

    Honestly, right now, who can beat Torres? The guy is simply awesome and he fights with some seriously bad intentions. He still looked pissed AFTER the fight!!

    A Torres/Faber Superfight would be awesome.

  • Bill says:

    pound for pound, does anyone see as Torres to be as good as Anderson Silva? I do.

  • Goomba says:

    Torres looked amazing. He rocked Tapia on multiple occasions, and had a dominating fight.

    I also enjoyed Fabiano’s technical war with Tamura.

  • fightfan says:

    Torres is without a doubt one of baddest mo fo’s out there. But what I dont understand is WHY NONE of the major mma sites even recognized him till after the Maeda fight.

    After the Chase Beebe fight…..Torres was listed not even in the top 10 in MMAWEEKLY’s top 10. Sure some started noticing that he had real skills. Also, many other sites that rank fighters had him no where on their top 10 lists. So, at 33-1 and just IMPRESSIVELY winning the title WITH EASE wasnt enough to garner attention. Even after the Maeda fight, he barely starting creeping up to nearly 10th and slowly moving up……

    Then WITH NO FIGHTS between Maeda and Tapia(around 5 or 6 months)…….all of a sudden he moves from near 10th to to middle of the pack to near the top ….then at the VERY TOP for nearly every site that ranks fighters?????

    How is that??? I agree that he is ONE of the best fighters, PERIOD. But, how come NO ONE, even major mma sites and media people that have been around the sport for 10-15 years never knew nothing about him. How did he go from not even ranked to the best(as some say) between Maeda and Tapia…….a time period of 6 months where he HAD NOT fought ONE TIME????? He went from NOT even being ranked to the BEST in basically one fight maybe, 2

    That is why I think a lot of those top ten lists are BOGUS. The guy hasnt lost a fight in 5 years(something like 15 or 16 fights), but was never recognized until 5 years and 1 more fight, or ,by 2 more the entire mmaweb has him as one of the top pound for pound fighters????

    GSP beat ALL the UFC’s top WW again and again with EASE, but never got recognition for years……Sorry for the rant. But it just seems that no one ever h eard about this guy and all jumped on the bandwagon when the few that KNEW his skills start spreading the word.

    It is a shame…..this guy should of been a star a couple of years ago, AT LEAST. Just imagine if the UFC had FW and BW classes……This guy would be more popular than GSP, Penn, and Liddel and Couture together. He would be making Liddell type paydays. It is a shame that there are not a lot of smaller guys fighting and more weight classes to fit them. This guy could be huge!!

  • fightfan says:

    Sorry for DOUBLE post…….

    It is almost a crime that Torres ONLY makes $22,000 to fight(of course another 22 to win). There are many fighters in the WEC that make more than him. He said he has 3 or 4 more fights next year. What kind of manager does he have??? That means he most likely will be making the same 22k/22k for the next year.

    If he continues to win all next year, which I cant see him losing to ANYONE in the BW…..This guy better start getting paid a hell of a lot more than 22 and 22. If they market this guy…….He could easily be a bigger draw than Urijah. And as the WEC grows and iof they get a PPV thing started……Torres is easily worth 6 figures, and that is just to show, IMO

    Sorry for the novel. Long night of drinking and cant sleep and I’m bored out of my mind. I would also like to hear what you guys think about Torres, also.

    I could of shortened this post and just said…..I think that Torres is, by far, the best and most well rounded fighters I have ever watched since about 2000, when I became a hardcore fan. I dont see anyone beating this guy for a LONG, LONG time. He is just too good at EVERY aspect of the game. Everything from BJJ, striking and muay thai, conditioning that never stops, speed,…….Any aspect of his game is better than most fighters’ best strength. Cant wait to see that dude fight again

  • Kwiz says:

    Nothing bad to say about torres. he simply is the best BW ou there and top 5 P4P in the world, period. lets just look at his strenghts: BJJ, Stand-up, Reach, Conditioning, Focus, and last but not least he’s a very humble down to earth fighter that knows he has people that look up to him as well as his students IMO thats important in a fighter. by far the best attraction in the WEC Urijah Faber can’t hang with torres that for sure. you look at anderson silva and miguel torres and quite honestly they match up evenly, but i look forward to miguel’s fights because he’s more entertaining to watch in my opinion.


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