MMAmania's Brian Hemminger previews Saturday night's World Series of Fighting main card bout between bantamweights Miguel Torres and Marlon Moraes. What's the key to victory for both men? Find out inside.
Record: 40-5 overall
Key Wins: Takeya Mizugaki (WEC 40), Nick Pace (UFC 139), Antonio Banuelos (UFC 126)
Key Losses: Michael McDonald (UFC 145), Joseph Benavidez (WEC 47), Demetrious Johnson (UFC 130)
How he got here: Miguel Torres got his start on the local Indiana circuit where he beat the ever-living tar out of everyone in his path. He got off to a ridiculous 31-1 record before ever leaving the state and avenged his only loss to Ryan Ackerman. During this period, he sought out Carlson Gracie and became one of his top proteges, earning a black belt which only added to his legend at the time.
Torres finally fought in the WEC where he dominated early, defeating champion Chase Beebe for the title and then defending the strap three times which had him in consideration for the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. Unfortunately, the powerful Brian Bowles stopped the Torres hype train in its tracks and then a follow-up submission defeat at the hands of Joseph Benavidez put the now-former champ in a career crisis.
The Mexican-American fighter left his Indiana gym to train at TriStar in Montreal, and while the gameplans helped him bounce back with two straight wins, they also took away his infamous tenacity. He dropped a close decision to Demetrious Johnson last summer and after defeating Nick Pace in a bounce-back fight, he would be cut from the promotion for an insensitive post on twitter.
Torres apologized and was brought back into the fold and was rewarded with a very high-profile fight against Michael McDonald, but he would lose via first round knockout and was again on the outside looking in. He found a new home with World Series of Fighting and he'll be battling Moraes in his debut with the promotion.
How he gets it done: Torres needs to use his best natural advantages in this fight. He's one of the tallest (5'9) and has the longest reaches (76") in the bantamweight division, although he takes away some of that with how he hunches over during his fights. "Angel" has been putting some time in working his jab at TriStar Gym in Montreal and if he can establish it early against Moraes, he can keep his opponent at bay and set up stronger attacks later in the fight.
A big here will be for Torres to take what Moraes gives him and try not to force anything. His biggest failings have come when he's tried to hard and left huge openings, most notably against Bowles.
If the fight does get inside, Torres needs to utilize his elite grappling skills. He's been working his wrestling the hardest of everything so hopefully he can use that knowledge to stay on top instead of working from bottom as he seems to be so accustomed to. If he does find himself on bottom, Torres needs to work his sweeps instead of his submissions as it's unlikely he catches the very wary Moraes from his guard.
Record: 8-4-1 overall
Key Wins: Jarod Card (XFC 17)
Key Losses: Deividas Taurosevicius (ROC 38)
How he got here: Marlon Moraes began fighting when he was just 19 years old, beginning his career strong with three straight wins but an ill-advised jump in competition to Shooto Brazil handed him two TKO losses in a row to derail his progress.
Moraes followed with a two-year unbeaten stretch but again, a two fight losing streak, both via submission kept him floundering on the local circuit and failing to progress.
Since then, he's looked sharp inside the XFC promotion, most recently knocking out Bellator veteran Jarod Card in just 47 seconds which earned him a shot at by far the biggest fight of his career against Miguel Torres for the World Series of Fighting.
How he gets it done: Moraes best plan of attack is to show Torres no respect whatsoever. He can't get caught up in the former WEC champion's legacy and get starstruck in there or he's going to have a rough night.
Moraes has a fantastic arsenal of strikes under his belt and throws them in fluid combinations with power. If he can get inside without risking the takedown, he could completely dice through Torres' defenses and put the UFC veteran down for the count.
Expect to see some major aggression out of Moraes if he wants to pull off the huge upset here. He's got the youthful exuberance to disregard Torres' reputation and just go for the kill. It would be a tremendous feather in his cap if he can pull it off. If he can avoid the ground game, his speed and power could actually win him the fight.
Fight X-Factor: There are a few factors at play here. The first, obviously, is whether or not Torres is taking this fight as seriously as he should. Moraes is a very dangerous striker and don't let his 8-4 record fool you. If Torres thinks this one is easily in the bag, he could quickly be seeing stars.
The other factor is the ground game. If Moraes can't stay upright during this fight, he's going to be in serious trouble. He's been submitted by significantly less talented grapplers than Torres in his young career thus far and if Torres gets him on the ground, he'll likely be tapped out.
Bottom Line: This fight has some serious potential if it's kept standing. Will Torres be able to utilize his reach? Can Moraes dive inside and crash through his defenses? There are so many questions on the feet and honestly, Moraes has a pretty respectable chance of pulling off the upset if he can keep it there. But this is MMA. If Torres can get this fight to the ground, he'll almost guarantee a win as long as he can keep Moraes there and work his lethal Brazilian jiu-jitsu game.
Who will come out on top at World Series of Fighting 1? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!
Which bantamweight will reign supreme on Saturday night for World Series of Fighting 1?
Miguel Torres (16 votes)
Marlon Moraes (9 votes)
25 total votes