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Miguel Torres (-120) vs. Michael “Mayday” McDonald (+100)

by Stan Leung
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UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans
April 21, 2012
Miguel Torres vs. Michael McDonald
UFC Betting Pick: Miguel Torres (-120)

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Bantamweight bout: Miguel Torres (-120) vs. Michael “Mayday” McDonald (+100)

At one time or another Miguel Torres (44-4) was one of the best pound for pound mixed martial arts fighters in the world, but it appears that his wild and reckless fighting style and attitude have finally caught up with him—he was too lackadaisical and “cute” in his loss to Brian Bowles and unprepared and “cocky” in his decision losses to the speedier Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson.

In early December 2011 his “persona” also backfired and got him cut from the UFC after his Twitter comment, "If a rape van was called a surprise van more women wouldn't mind going for rides in them", was deemed offensive. After some serious backtracking on his part—donations of time and money to several rape crisis centers, he was welcomed back into the UFC just in time for the new year and for a new beginning. He summed up the entire incident best when he said, “What I said hurt a lot of people and I had to man up to that."

Let us hope that Torres has learned his lesson and will now focus on becoming a top MMA fighter once again. He still has what it takes but will be facing a C+ fighter in his next bout—which is as good as any place to start. Though his record says otherwise, Michael McDonald (14-1) is really nothing beyond a third tier fighter at the moment. Mind you, he has the potential to be a star in UFC someday but this is years away and Torres, the complete fighter in the here and now, will show McDonald exactly how much further he still needs to travel.

To be fair, McDonald is due some credit. He started with kickboxing at age 10, mixed martial arts at 14 and at the ripe old age of 16, turned professional. He is the new breed of MMA fighter—a warrior who is not a specialist in any one discipline but with some knowledge of them all. It helps that McDonald has great hands and has some decent power behind his punches—in his 14 MMA wins eight have come by KO, however, Torres is no slouch.

At one time Torres had a very wild striking game but has since toned it down and he has a very awkward style similar to that of Dominick Cruz. Though Torres will need to be wary of McDonald’s power it will be difficult for McDonald to connect with Torres—Torres is a MMA vet with over 48 professional fights to his name—McDonald will not have moves that Torres has not seen before and it is unlikely McDonald will be able to decode Torres’ style.

Torres has McDonald beat when it comes to grappling and though he has had difficulty with smaller, speedy and compact wrestlers, McDonald is not a wrestler. With 23 wins by submission Torres has legitimate bragging rights as he was once schooled by Carlson Gracie, one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructors in history. Torres made a name for himself early on in the game when he was recognized by Gracie himself as a true BJJ talent and had his skills showcased on a trip to the birthplace of the sport. Torres soon gained fame in the WEC and was undefeated during his time with Gracie, but had lost his focus as of late. Perhaps it was due to Gracie’s passing or the lack of competition, nevertheless, Torres must regroup and bring his “A” game to this bout as he needs to redeem himself in more ways than one.

Recognizing the need to challenge himself Torres has sought the help of several notable individuals to help revamp his training methods and push him to the next level. Mark DellaGrotte of Sityodtong USA is one and Firas Zahabi of Tristar Gym is another trainer he has sought. Torres now regularly rolls with Georges St-Pierre who can offer him more of a workout than the young group at his former home, Last Stand Fight Team.

Bottom Line:
Torres is back in the UFC and needs redemption. With the support of his new group he will be focused and ready to fight for pound for pound status once again. The UFC betting lines are quite soft on this fight as Torres has fallen on tough times with the negative attention and spotty record of late. Regardless, Torres is still ranked seventh among the bantamweights and as a -120 betting favorite, he is a great wager to make.

Torres will most likely start off easy with a lot of movement but stand and trade with McDonald—Torres will use leg kicks to throw off punches and try to control the pace of the fight. If at any point McDonald is able to gain the upper hand, Torres will take this fight to the ground. This fight will go over in the betting lines with Torres getting a late KO or submission so bet the over and for Torres to win.

Look for Torres to get back into the Bantamweight Title Mix with a 3 round TKO

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