Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Strawweight veterans Tecia Torres and Angela Hill will duel this weekend (Sat., July 31, 2021) at UFC 265 from inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what changed, but Torres appears to have turned a corner. A four-fight losing streak to her division’s top contenders and champions ultimately reinvigorated her career, as “The Tiny Tornado” has been more volatile than ever before in her recent two-fight win streak. Hill, meanwhile, has been consistent as could be. “Overkill” maintains an active schedule largely against tough opposition, and were it not for a couple split-decision losses going the other way, we might be talking about her as a title contender.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:
Key Wins: Rose Namajunas (Invicta FC 6), Michelle Waterson (UFC 218), Paige VanZant (Invicta FC 4), Felice Herrig (Invicta FC 7)
Key Losses: Rose Namajunas (UFC on FOX 19), Zhang Weili (UFC 235), Jessica Andrade (UFC on FOX 28), Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC on FOX 30)
Keys to Victory: Torres attacks in bursts. After running around a bit on the outside, she’ll charge her opponent with a quick series of strikes, often ending in a big kick. Sometimes, she’ll instead finish her combination with a running double leg.
As a fairly undersized Strawweight, Torres relies heavily on her speed.
In this bout, Torres needs to land at least a couple takedowns. In a straight up kickboxing match, Hill’s range, variety, and volume are likely too much for the smaller athlete. However, if Torres can catch a kick or time the double, the whole dynamic of the fight changes.
Based on the history of both women, this bout is almost certain to go to a decision, and it’s likely to be a high-volume kickboxing affair. Let’s be honest: the judges are rarely great at determining who is winning these exchanges, ESPECIALLY in Texas! As such, a single takedown is hugely valuable, very likely to steal a reasonably competitive round.
Should it be that way? No. That’s the reality of the situation though, so if Torres wants both halves of her paycheck, she should take advantage.
Key Wins: Maryna Moroz (UFC on FOX 28), Loma Lookboonmee (UFC Fight Night 168), Hannah Cifers (UFC Fight Night 166), Ashley Yoder (UFC Vegas 21)
Key Losses: Yan Xiaonan (UFC 238), Rose Namajunas (UFC 192), Tecia Torres (UFC 188), Nina Ansaroff (UFC Fight Night 120), Michelle Waterson (UFC Vegas 10)
Keys to Victory: Hill has a lot of neat tricks to her kickboxing style. She moves well and attacks at all ranges with knees, elbows, punches, and kicks, stringing together smart combinations quite nicely. In addition, her grappling is now closer to a strength than Achilles’ heel.
Hill has to prioritize damage in this match up. Again, I cannot overstate how utterly inept the Texas judges have proven themselves to be, time and time again. Hill has been outraged by decisions going against her in the past, and if she does not clearly kick Torres’ ass, there is a real chance of a repeat issue.
Fortunately, Hill hits harder. When two women flurry and neither stumble, it can be tough to tell who lands in the chaos. If, however, Hill is focused on setting her feet and really knocking Torres off-balance with her strikes, it should be more clear. “Overkill” can shift the odds further by really extending her combinations when she’s able to gain an angle or advantage, pressing Torres herself with damaging shots.
Given the circumstances, being the athlete moving forward is generally a good idea.
Both women are fringe contenders at 115 pounds.
Realistically, each woman is in a tough position. They’re established Top 15 contenders, but given a handful of losses to those ranked above them — including defeats to the champion, Rose Namajunas — forward progress is difficult. To really break back into the title mix, an extended win streak will be required.
On the plus side, the women’s Strawweight title picture is rather open right now. Weili Zhang has to earn her rematch with “Thug Rose.” Joanna Jedrzejzcyk is nowhere to be found, and former top fighters like Jessica Andrade and Tatiana Suarez are now at 125 pounds. As a result of those absences, perhaps the victor here will find herself in an unexpectedly high-profile match up next.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 265 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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At UFC 265, Tecia Torres and Angela Hill will square off. Which woman will earn the victory?