UFC 139 might be the deepest UFC card in history to have the least amount of promotion.
There are no title fights and there are no gigantic superstars on the card, but there are seven former champions: main card fighters Henderson, Rua, Silva, Le, Faber and Bowles have all held titles at one point during their respective careers. Those are the big fighters, to be sure. They’re the one selling the tickets and they’re the ones who deserve to be in the spotlight.
But on the preliminary card, there is a fight with the potential to impact the bantamweight division in the future, and it features former WEC champion Miguel Angel Torres trying to get back on the horse against Nick Pace.
Let’s take a look at our Under The Radar selection for UFC 139.
MIGUEL TORRES (38-4) VS. NICK PACE (6-2)
Miguel Torres had a rough summer.
After a successful UFC debut against Charlie Valencia in February, Torres faced Demetrious Johnson at UFC 130 in May. It was one of his better performances to date, despite the fact that he spent quite a bit of time on his back. Johnson was able to secure plenty of takedowns during the bout, but Torres used a variety of sweeps and submission attempts, constantly attacking off his back and making life quite uncomfortable for Johnson for 15 minutes.
It was a fight many believed Torres had won, so you can understand the general outrage when the judges scored the fight in favor of Johnson. The bout set Torres back a few steps, while Johnson went on to challenge for the bantamweight title.
Nick Pace made quite the impression in his UFC debut at the Ultimate Fighter Finale last fall. After missing weight and thus ensuring that he wasn’t eligible for Fight Night bonuses, Pace went out and choked out Will Campuzano with a choke rarely seen in MMA, thus guaranteeing that he would’ve won the bonus money if only he’d made weight. A loss to Ivan Menjivar at UFC 133 in August hurt his case as a potential bantamweight contender.
Torres changed his entire life around after the loss to Johsnon. He signed with a new management company and now splits his camp between the Blackzilians camp in Florida and the Tri-Star gym in Montreal with Firas Zahabi. I expect that we’ll see a Torres that takes many more chances than he has thus far under Zahabi, and the end result should be a showcase fight and a win for a perennial bantamweight contender. Torres cannot take Pace lightly, however, and he must strive at all times to finish the fight rather than go to a decision. He’s already learned the lesson about leaving fights in the hands of incompetent judges, so I expect Torres to come out firing early and often.