Former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Bantamweight boss, Miguel Torres, did much to establish the credibility of lower weight classes, with an impressive run in that organization as its 135-pound champion.
However, much has changed since that reign of Torres terror.
"Angel" has had mixed results since his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) introduction, but now seems to be on the fast track toward earning his world title back. He'll have to first get passed Michael McDonald tonight (April 21, 2012) in a fight that will take place on the UFC 145 pay-per-view (PPV) main card from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
McDonald, himself a streaking divisional contender, taking on Torres sets up a critical bantamweight showdown with considerable ramifications, especially when the dust finally settles on the trilogy between Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber when the pair square off for Cruz's title at UFC 148 on July 7, 2012.
Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 145 fight between Miguel Torres vs. Michael McDonald:
It's amazing what Torres accomplished in a career with few world-class training partners or camps, and at one point, he was one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Shocking losses to Brian Bowles and then Joseph Benavidez scuttled that status, but Torres has rebounded somewhat, winning three of four since Benavidez battered him into a bloody submission defeat.
Essentially, his sole loss was a wrestle-fest against Demetrious Johnson, a bout many thought Torres won off his back.
McDonald doesn't figure to rely on takedown and camping in Torres' guard and half-guard. On the contrary, the young contender has an aggressive style and is willing to risk himself standing to land dynamic strikes. And that's a recipe for an exciting fight, because Torres' natural inclination when nailed is to fire right back.
Torres' defensive jiu-jitsu is one of the most overlooked parts of his game, as he uses his long limbs and constant set ups to negate opponents and keep them on the defensive, much as Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz do when foes take them down. Torres also has good striking, though at times he doesn't fight as tall as he could, stepping into the pocket and trade with opponents, especially when he feels like he needs to get the upper hand in exchanges.
McDonald will be waiting for this, and after a rollicking first round where both men land heavy shots, "Mayday" will drill Torres with something huge, and pounce. Torres will survive, battered and groggy, but rally back to stun McDonald. This has the making of one hell of a bantamweight brawl, but I think McDonald's youth and speed will make the difference, outlasting Torres en route to a third-round knockout in an instant classic for the little guys.
McDonald via knockout
Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 145 results of all the "Jones vs. Evans" pay-per-view (PPV) action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, FX "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7:00 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Sunday morning.
See you then!
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst or firstname.lastname@example.org