Miguel Torres was dared to stand and fight by Manny Tapia and got his wish.
Torres abruptly stopped two-fisted fellow Mexican mixed martial arts fighter Tapia in the second round and successfully defended his World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight title at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Tapia (10-1-1) had long wanted a world title fight and knew that it was going to be the stiffest test of his undefeated career. It was.
After spending the first round finding the punching range of his opponent, it was the extremely tall 135-pound Torres who launched a right cross on the jaw of Tapia and sent him to the floor in the second round. Then he pounced on him with hammer fists and elbows until the referee saw that the fallen fighter was going to get hurt and stopped the fight at 3:04 of the second round.
“I wanted to use my jab and measure him up,” said Torres (35-1), who has good boxing ability to go along with his superb Brazilian Jiu-jitsu skills and Thai kicks. “I wanted to fight a little bit calm this time. Last time I fought a little bit crazy.”
Talk about crazy, Torres did a forward somersault and ended up with a axe kick attempt on Tapia who was quick enough to get out of the way, but not quick enough to counter the unorthodox kick.
The Riverside fighter Tapia, who was handicapped by his lack of height and arm length, attempted numerous punches to the body. He landed a few punches to the head too but Torres took them in stride. During one exchange, Torres landed a back fist square on Tapia’s jaw.
In the second round you could see the fighter known as one of the best pound for pound MMA fighters on the planet was less inclined to move away from attacks. Instead, he was lining up his sights for the big blow. It came with a quick one-two that dropped Tapia on the floor. He recovered.
The second one-two was the killing combination that dropped Tapia for good and was overwhelmed by Torres. It was over.
“I knew Manny was going to come with big punches,” said Torres who hasn’t lost in five years. “The next step is to fight the next person in line whoever that person may be.”
America got another opportunity to see one of the best MMA fighters in the world for free on television. That doesn’t happen very often.
Brian Bowles (7-0) choked out Brazil’s Will Ribeiro (10-2) in the third round. Bowles could be Torres next challenger in the 135-pound bantamweight division.
Brazil’s Wagnney Fabiano choked out Japan’s Akitoshi Tamura at 4:48 of the thrd and final round of a 145-pound featherweight match. Both were ground fighters.