Fighting on the same card as partner Raquel Pennington, strawweight Tecia Torres returned to action Saturday at UFC on ESPN 11. “The Tiny Tornado” entered the night having lost four straight, a thunderous fall for an athlete once considered a contender. Torres’ losses, however, had come to three past and future champions in Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Andrade, and Weili Zhang, mind you, plus a contender in Marina Rodriguez.
Saturday, she was paired not with a UFC champion, but a former Invicta FC title holder in Briana Van Buren. A fighter who had won her octagon debut last July.
The pair clinched early, up against the fence. Van Buren landed the takedown, not that it was easy, and Torres popped right back up. They’d return to the clinch, where Van Buren took the same approach, but Torres was able to fight it off. That allowed “The Tiny Tornado” to find a bit of space, but just like her namesake, Van Buren charged in like a bull and took the fight back to the fence. A pair of kicks were exchanged when they finally broke, but Torres was going to need to find a way to create space; after one of Torres’ better combinations, Van Buren again closed the distance and put on the clinch.
Round two saw Torres rush across the cage for a jumping kick, then take it to Van Buren, mixing an axe kick in with a combination. That was just the start to the round Torres needed. For all the clock Van Buren was eating with her clinch work, she wasn’t actually proving to be all that effective. And Torres was finding a way to land off the break. Not to mention having the edge when she had a little breathing room. In the final ninety seconds of the second, Torres landed a kick to the body, and came close to hitting the chin on another. The pair really opened up at the end of the frame, exchanging wildly with kicks and punches — Torres clearly getting the better of her opponent.
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With momentum having shifted, Torres was able to fight her fight early in the third. Lots of space, lots of kicks, including a push kick that shoved Van Buren back into the cage. More kicks connected. A superman punch. From one side of the cage to the other, Torres hounded her opponent, forcing Van Buren into a takedown attempt. She hadn’t actually landed a takedown since the opening round, however. And Torres would only hit her knees momentarily before powering back up.
By the end of the fight, Torres was letting her hands go at will, and Van Buren was being purely outclassed. Earning Tecia Torres a much-needed decision win. And perhaps proving that the stiff competition she’d faced of late was the biggest factor in her recent fortunes.
Official Result: Tecia Torres def. Brianna Van Buren by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)