WEC 37 didn’t exactly live up to the hype, although Miguel Torres did. Any two-hour live TV event weighed down by a control-happy fight like the one Wagney Fabiano put on is going to struggle to excite, and the often-awkward fight between Will Ribeiro and Brian Bowles ensured this card would be quickly forgotten. Still, we learned some new things, about our champ especially, which will affect future handicapping.
Miguel Torres vs. Manny Tapia
Torres is just a mean and nasty fighter. His jab is extremely powerful, and he’s Tim Sylvia at 135 in terms of height and reach, and he knows it and uses it, with knees to the body from the clinch and that piston jab. He did get overconfident at the end of round one, throwing the Harold Howard flip kick and otherwise getting too loose. Tapia never got comfortable, with Torres moving around the ring and simply floating beyond his punches, while Manny did what far too many MMA fighters do, lunging in with single power shots as his only means of closing the distance.
Tapia is no pushover, and can certainly take a punch, so it’s pretty remarkable that Torres was able to floor him so often. Landing clean and putting his weight into his punches, Torres made it look easy. I still think the best chance anyone has of beating him is getting into a standup war and cutting him or tagging him when he gets angry, emotional, and wild, but if Torres continues to be this sharp on the feet, that’s going to be a very tall order.
Wagney Fabiano has great control. Tamura is technically sound and is always a sub threat, but Fabiano needs to learn that sometimes it’s better to take a small risk and try to finish than to take what can often be a bigger risk, and leave an opponent undamaged and possibly still relatively fresh even in the third round. That said, after this performance a lot of people will probably underestimate Wagney’s skills, and he’ll be able to decimate someone in impressive fashion.
Will Ribeiro’s fancy hands and spin kicks distracted me from the fact that he lets opponents get to him first, and loves going to his back for guillotine attempts. The guy obviously has talent, but the worrying thing is he lost here because he made the exact same mistakes he made against Chase Beebee, and honestly didn’t look like an improved fighter from that fight. Bowles is a very solid fighter, although unspectacular, and in the modern WEC, he’s unfortunately close to a title shot. While it’s good to see champs stay active, Bowles simply needs more time to develop before he can be reasonably expected to give Miguel Torres much of a fight.
“Streetfight Bancho” is probably one of the most gangster nicknames in MMA. Although Takaya isn’t a world-beater, he’s a solid opponent, and it’s good for Cub that he’s been able to move past the emasculation Jens Pulver handed him.