The unbeaten Bowles, now viewed by many as the top contender for Torres’ 135-pound title, submitted talented Brazilian Will Ribeiro with a third-round guillotine choke at WEC 37 on Wednesday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The 28-year-old Georgian still has never gone the distance in seven professional fights.
Not long after he dispatched Manny Tapia on second-round strikes in the WEC 37 main event, Torres (35-1) turned his attention to Bowles.
“I think Brian deserved this fight a while ago,” he said. “I think we match up very well together. I think he’s a complete fighter and a very dangerous opponent for me. Like I said before, I’m here to fight the best in the world. I know he doesn’t have a huge record, but from what I’ve seen of him, he’s a very honorable opponent.”
Spawned by the same Athens, Ga., gym as reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin, Bowles (7-0) seems content to meet the challenges as they come. However, he likes the idea of testing his skills against Torres, one of the top 10 pound-for-pound mixed martial artists in the world.
“I think he’s awesome,” Bowles said. “Anybody with a record that good is obviously a good fighter. I like to think I match up well with anybody.”
How might he tackle Torres, a man who has not tasted defeat in more than five years? Little would change in terms of preparation, according to Bowles.
“I just like to go into a fight and fight,” he said. “I don’t really have a specific gameplan. I look at what other people do, watch out for their little tricky moves or whatever they do and just bring the fight.”
Though clearly focused on a potential showdown with Bowles, Torres responded to a recent challenge from former WEC featherweight title contender Jeff Curran. He was training to fight Curran when he tore a knee ligament in 2002, and the bout was never rescheduled.
“I know Jeff Curran called me out and was talking some smack,” Torres said. “He’s just trying to get an easy fight without having to work for it.”
Bowles, Torres believes, has better credentials at this point.
“I think Brian Bowles right now at 135 has proven himself the most out of anybody,” he said. “I see a lot of what Brian does and what he’s doing now … I went through [the same thing]. If he wants his time, I think it’s his time.”
Cub Swanson and Hiroyuki Takaya were awarded matching $7,500 “Fight of the Night” bonuses after their three-round tug-of-war at WEC 37, Zuffa representatives confirmed. The bonus money matches that which was distributed at WEC 36 a month ago but pails in comparison to fight bonuses ($60,000) doled out at UFC 91 in November.
Swanson (13-2) has won 13 of his past 14 bouts, the lone blemish a 35-second submission loss to former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver. The 25-year-old Californian remains one of the WEC’s top prospects at 145 pounds. Takaya (9-6-1), who entered their match ranked eighth in the world, has lost consecutive fights since his breakthrough technical knockout against highly regarded Antonio Carvalho in November 2007.
Swanson and Takaya were not the only WEC 37 participants to benefit from the post-fight cash flow.
Former International Fight League contender Bart Palaszewski pocketed a $7,500 “Knockout of the Night” bonus after he axed UFC veteran Alex Karalexis with punches in the second round of their preliminary lightweight tilt. Bowles, meanwhile, banked $7,500 for “Submission of the Night” after he became the first man ever to finish Ribeiro, locking down a guillotine choke in the third round.
This & That
Torres has not lost a fight since his decision loss to Ryan Ackerman on Nov. 22, 2003. In that same time frame, the nine other current UFC and WEC champions -- Carlos Condit, Jamie Varner, Mike Thomas Brown, Brock Lesnar, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Forrest Griffin, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn -- have combined for 21 defeats … Former professional soccer player turned mixed martial artist Diego Nunes went the distance for the first time in a dozen career bouts, as he outpointed Cole Province. The 26-year-old Brazilian was an equal opportunity finisher in his 11 previous fights, finishing six of them by submission and five more by knockout or TKO … WEC 37 saw the continuation of several long winning streaks, as Torres (16), Nunes (12), Joseph Benavidez (9), Wagnney Fabiano (7), Bowles (7), Mark Munoz (5), Shane Roller (5) and Johny Hendricks (4) all maintained their momentum … Since opening his career with a TKO loss to Jake Pruitt, Roller has stopped five straight opponents inside one round, including three of the last four with guillotine chokes. He was a three-time All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University.