Tecia Torres looked strong and powerful in taking a three-round decision over Michelle Waterson at UFC 218 on Saturday in Detroit.
Both women were aggressive out of the gate, Waterson immediately launching a head kick that missed, while Torres pressed forward with punch combinations.
Torres’ power was quickly evident as she continually pressed Waterson up to the fence and landed with a plethora of elbows and knees. Waterson tried to answer, but Torres outworked her throughout the first round, particularly on the fence, but also when they separated.
Torres’ punch combinations came at a faster pace and with more power than Waterson could muster.
The second round started much the same, with Torres immediately looking to use her powerful striking to put the hurt on Waterson. While she started strong, Waterson timed Torres’ combinations and landed a hip toss takedown early in the round.
Taking Torres to the canvas, Waterson wasn’t able to mount a lot of damage, but she took top control moving from Torres’ full guard and half guard for a majority of the round, giving her the advantage for much of the round.
Torres eventually went after a couple of submission near the end of the second round, but she didn’t have the appropriate technique to finish her attempts.
The final round again saw Torres take over the fight. Her stand-up game was too much for Waterson, whose left eye was swelling badly.
Torres, looking fresh, continued to plow forward with her punches. Waterson tried to land lunging elbows, but Torres deftly avoided most of them, countering with powerful right hands.
Torres took Waterson’s back late in the round, eventually planting Waterson face down on the canvas, and unloaded with an onslaught of right hands. Waterson would give up, though, twisting and turning until she eventually escaped and they returned to their feet, only to be met by a couple of Torres punches as the final horn sounded.
Punches were the big difference in the fight, as Torres out-landed Waterson with significant head strikes at a rate of 80-18.
“Going into the third, I thought I had done enough to win the fight, but I was a bit iffy because of her takedowns during the second round,” said Torres. “So I wanted to seal the deal in the third. I just kept throwing and looking for the finish.”
Torres felt she could have finished the fight given a little bit more time, but she still walked away with a unanimous decision, as the judges scored it 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28 in her favor.
Now having won three consecutive fights, Torres may have a case to challenge UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, whom she has fought twice in the past. The two are 1-1 with Namajunas having won their only bout in the Octagon.