Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight karatekas Tecia Torres and Michelle Waterson dueled last night (Dec. 2, 2017) at UFC 218 inside the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Torres has been quite consistent in the cage, defeating the Rose Namajunas back in Invicta FC and arguably doing it again a few fights back. With a win last night, Torres was hoping to earn a shot at the title and potentially complete the trilogy.
Meanwhile, Waterson entered this bout off a devastating loss to the champion and needed to bounce back in a big way. Additionally, the former Invicta FC Atomweight champ was still looking to establish herself at 115 lbs., and a top five win would go a long way.
Torres looked to open the bout with her usual bursting combinations, but Waterson countered with a nice takedown into the back mount. However, Torres’ strength proved considerable, allowing her to shuck Waterson off and land some shots in the clinch.
Back in the center, Waterson aimed to kick and counter opposite her foe’s combinations. The exchanges were relatively even at that distance, but Torres pressed her advantage by latching onto the double-collar tie before attacking with elbows and knees.
Waterson had a few offensive moments, but otherwise she was worn down by her foe’s physicality and clinch game.
Waterson looked to establish the jab to start the second before landing a clean head-and-arm throw. Torres attempted a back take off the initial throw and nearly hit a kimura sweep a bit later, but Waterson was able to resist the attempts and gain some valuable top control time in her favor.
For the rest of the round, Torres attempted submissions from her back to no avail. Waterson did almost nothing from top position, but Torres was unable to return to her feet until the final 10 seconds.
Torres was the far more effective fighter after 10 minutes, but it was likely tied up heading into the third.
Waterson came out firing the right hand and landing reasonably well, but Torres countered by jamming her into the fence. Both women were fatigued, leading to sloppier exchanges that saw both athletes scoring with punches. That said, Torres handled the fatigue better, capitalizing when Waterson threw herself out of position.
A partially caught kick saw Waterson slip to her back, which allowed Torres to jump into the back mount. Torres nearly fell off at first, but she established top position and did big damage, nearly drawing a referee stoppage. “Karate Hottie” showed her heart, surviving and spinning into top position.
It wasn’t enough to win back the round.
Outside of the second, Torres won a vast majority of this bout. Even in that round, Torres didn’t take any damage or wind up in a bad position, she just showed a bit of grappling inexperience in her attempts to sweep/submit. Frankly, that’s fine, as a win where the victor can still learn something from their performance is pretty much an ideal result.
Torres’ physicality was a huge factor here. In the clinch, she manhandled her opponent and set up heavy punches, which left clear damage on her foe’s face. At range, her opponent was crafty, but Torres did do a nice job of landing when given a solid angle to work from.
It’s another quality win in the books for Torres, who could find herself in a title fight sooner than later.
For Waterson, she lost this fight for the same reasons she will have a difficult time finding consistent success opposite elite Strawweights. She’s still a bit too small for the division, leading to an issue with her getting out-muscled.
Perhaps more problematic is that Waterson does not have a consistent way to land offense. Her clinch wrestling is great, but that’s a hard game to play opposite stronger opponents. At range, she’s crafty as hell but tends to strike one shot at a time, which is difficult in a high-volume division like 115 lbs.
Last night, Tecia Torres out-worked her opponent en route to a decision victory. Who should Torres face next?
For complete UFC 218 “Holloway vs. Aldo 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!