A former champion and a superstar prospect duked it out last night (April 21, 2012) in the Bantamweight division on the UFC 145 main card in Atlanta, Georgia.
Miguel Torres was at one time considered a pound-for-pound great during his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) title reign and was working his way back hoping to reclaim his former glory. Michael McDonald, on the other hand, was 10 years younger and was being discussed as one of the potential next big things in the division.
Something had to give. And in the end, it was Torres' jaw that gave in to a huge pair of uppercuts from the youngster.
So how did "Mayday" pull off the biggest victory of his career? And what happens next for both bantamweights?
Follow me after the jump for the Michael McDonald vs. Miguel Torres UFC 145 post-fight review and analysis.
From the beginning, this was a different looking MIguel Torres than we had been subjected to in his previous three UFC fights. He was still hunched over the same, but the former WEC champion wasn't looking to use his reach advantage this time around.
Instead of utilizing his jab effectively, something he'd begun to do rather well, Torres instead was working a lead left hand which was more of a straight/hook fusion. This decision allowed McDonald to get comfortable in the pocket and primarily look to counter. With Torres throwing a slightly slower-moving lead attack, McDonald gained the precious milliseconds needed to counter effectively.
With his typical hunched-over stance, Torres left himself wide open to an uppercut counter from McDonald and "Mayday" made him pay about three minutes into the first round. The 21-year old connected solidly with his first uppercut as Torres closed the distance and then as the ex-champ was rocked, he landed another flush right uppercut and this one put Torres out on his feet and sent him crashing to the canvas completely unconscious.
For Miguel Torres, this is absolutely devastating. He was hoping to potentially make one last title run but last night's knockout pretty much ruined those plans forever. He likely had an advantage on the ground but he never put himself in a position to use it. He also didn't establish his jab at all, which I feel gave McDonald lots of confidence that he could hang with him on the feet. Lastly, Torres has that mentality of wanting to hit his opponent back when he's been hit and that's just not a very smart reaction. It may be his nature to want to hurt them right back, but defense has to be the first priority.
I have no idea what Torres is going to do next. If he wants to keep fighting, he'll be relegated to more of a gatekeeper role if he's okay with that. There are still some interesting fights to make, perhaps a rematch with Takeya Mizugaki is in order, or even a one-time dream match-up against Kid Yamamoto. If that's not possible, he could always be used as a litmus test for upcoming prospects like T.J. Dillashaw.
For Michael McDonald, what more can be said? The 21 year old scores by far the most impressive victory of his career and he did it on the big stage with a very large audience watching him fight for the first time. His counter-punching was very sharp and the decision to use the uppercut was incredibly intelligent as it ripped right through Torres' defenses. I loved his killer instinct too, working for the finish before Torres had even hit the canvas. If there was anything I'd like to see him work on, perhaps it would be refining his striking to the point where he doesn't have to rely on his opponent to be the aggressor.
There are a few potential opponents for McDonald, most notably the recently victorious Brad Pickett. If that doesn't work out, other potential opponents could be Yves Jabouin if he defeats Jeff Hougland in a few weeks or potentially Mike Easton if he's going to be healthy soon. Either way, McDonald is now among the top contenders for the bantamweight title.
For complete UFC 145 results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here and here.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you blown away by McDonald's incredible knockout of the former champion? Do you feel "Mayday" has what it takes to challenge for the title in the next year? What in the world would you do with Miguel Torres now?