Stakes High for Torres in UFC Debut

By Todd Martin

For years, Miguel Torres led a life strangely defined by dominance and anonymity. Inside the cage, he ran up dozens upon dozens of wins against only one — later avenged — loss. But those wins came at a time when lighter weight fighters struggled to capture the public’s imagination. Many of Torres’ victories remain unchronicled to this day, and his known triumphs took place almost exclusively in low-profile shows in the Midwest. Torres had a feared reputation but lacked the proper stage to showcase his skills.

That changed with Zuffa’s purchase of World Extreme Cagefighting. The WEC became the promotion for lighter weight North American fighters, and Torres had the venue to become a star. Torres won the WEC bantamweight title in his second bout for the promotion and defended it successfully on three occasions. Torres’ name was a mainstay in pound-for-pound lists, and his classic bout with Takeya Mizugaki drew more than 5,000 fans in Chicago.

With fame arrived a new set of challenges. Opponents once knew little about Torres’ tendencies. Now, they were studying his game for weaknesses and devoting training camps to tackle his particular style. Torres’ anonymity vanished, but so, too, did his dominance. Torres dropped consecutive bouts via knockout to Brian Bowles and submission to Joseph Benavidez.

 

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