“UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort” will be going down this Saturday on Feb. 5 from Las Vegas, Nev. The first televised fight of the PPV portion of the card will feature WEC veterans Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos.
It’s a great fight to start the PPV off with because both guys absolutely bring it the entire time, so we should be in for a treat. Let’s take a closer look:
Miguel Torres made a name for himself in the WEC organization, winning his first five fights and becoming the bantamweight champ in only his second fight there.
He’s an extremely exciting fighter as evident by his finishing percentage which checks in at an astounding 84% in his wins.
Torres has many weapons including a varied Muay Thai attack along with a jiu-jitsu guard that’s very active as well. In fact, 23 of his 38 victories have come via the submission.
The other thing that separates Torres from other fighters is his length. He stands a lengthy 5’9″ with a 76″ reach as a bantamweight, and I think it could play a major role in this fight with Antonio Banuelos who is only listed at 5’3″.
Antonio Banuelos is a WEC veteran as well debuting for that organization way back in 2002. He’s also a product of “The Pit” which is the same training camp of UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell. Banuelos brings an overall record of 18-6 with 7 wins via KO/TKO and 1 submission with 56% of his wins coming via judges decision.
Banuelos brings a relentless pace, a solid chin, and solid wrestling into this match-up. The latter being an important part of his path to victory.
The fighters have one common opponent by the name of WEC veteran Manny Tapia. I’m not a supporter of MMA math, but I think something can be learned from common opponents like this as well.
Both fighters faced Tapia in 2008 with Torres dominating Tapia from the onset of their match with strikes and finishing him in the second round. Banuelos lost a really close split decision to Tapia.
Keys To Victory
You basically have to give the edge to Torres in this one, which is why he’s coming in as a (-525) betting favorite via LinesMaker (www.linesmaker.com).
He’ll have the reach advantage by far, and he can end this fight on the feet or on the ground. His key to victory will be establishing his range with the jab, and just staying patient without doing anything (i.e. flying knee) that will make him susceptible to the take-down.
While he can win the fight from his back, it must be noted that Banuelos hasn’t been submitted since 2002. Also, he has only been submitted twice and both submission losses came within the first 5 fights in his career.
Banuelos’ path to victory is fairly simple in that he needs to push the pace and close the distance which accomplishes two things. It nullifies the reach advantage of Torres, and also puts Banuelos in position to take Torres down.
If he’s able to do that, he’ll need to keep Torres down preferably pinned up against the cage while landing some ground and pound while riding the clock out each round.
How Does It End?
I think Torres could take this one via decision as his length will be too much for Banuelos standing. Torres also does a good job of getting back up to his feet if he senses guys are content with just laying in his guard.
It’s usually pretty tough to catch short guys with those compact limbs in arm-bars and things of that nature. Banuelos is a tough fighter, and he’s only been stopped 4 times in 24 fights.
However, it is possible that Banuelos keeps it close and is able to steal rounds with takedowns with this only being a 3 round fight. Do you think Banuelos has a shot at all?