Miguel Torres was successful in his UFC debut as he pulled out the unanimous decision win over Antonio Banuelos at UFC 126.
From wire to wire, Torres made his place known and controlled the fight on the feet, earning the unanimous nod with all three judges scoring the bout 30-27.
Banuelos and Torres started out gauging each other’s distance, feeling each other out. With a distinct reach advantage, Torres utilized his jab, keeping Banuelos at bay. Banuelos caught a Torres kick at just under three minutes in, putting the former champ on his back, but Banuelos let him right back up to the feet. Very little happened in the first round of this fight. Banuelos even attempted a spinning back kick with 30 seconds left, but didn’t come close to landing it. It appeared Torres won the round by keeping the distance and using a solid jab.
Banuelos started out the second round with instruction by his corner to push the pace a little bit more, but Torres held the center of the Octagon for a good amount of time. At about 1:10 into the round, Banuelos took a shot to the groin, but the action only stopped momentarily. Torres stuck to the jab and had some good movement to avoid most of the strikes Banuelos presented any time he moved forward. The crowd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center began to get a bit frustrated with this fight, booing the competitors as Torres kept his opponent at a distance. A late strike by Banuelos was about the only offense he provided in the second as Torres won the round.
The final round began with more of the same as Banuelos couldn’t close any distance to score points. More booing from the crowd rained on the fighters, motivating Torres to pick up the pace a little bit more. More jabs and counters came from Torres’ direction, while Banuelos’ strikes seemed to be thrown way short of their target for a majority of the fight. Torres threw in an occasional kick that kept Banuelos backing up further away from his opponent. The final 10 seconds of the round had Banuelos put on a little more pressure, but it was too late as the final horn rang signalling the end of the fight. It was now in the hands of the judges, and they ended up giving Torres the win unanimously.
“I wanted to get into a brawl, but I couldn’t,” Torres said to Joe Rogan in his post fight interview. “So, I had to fight him from the outside.”
Clearly, Torres didn’t want to get caught with a punch and have the tides of the fight change direction.
“I didn’t want to commit too much and get hurt because I know he’s a very dangerous fighter on the inside,” he said.
Torres scores his first win in the UFC and 39th of his carrer. Banuelos has his record drop to 18-7.