Women’s StrawweightsBrianna Van Buren (9-2) vs. Tecia Torres (10-5)
ODDS: Van Buren (-210), Torres (+175)
Torres suddenly finds herself in need of a win. Through 2017, everything was going great for “The Tiny Tornado.” Her lone loss was a controversial one to Rose Namajunas, but Torres had otherwise kept herself in the mix of strawweight contenders with win after win. However, that gave way to a rough 2018 campaign that was understandable at the time. Jessica Andrade’s horsepower figured to be a difficult test for Torres, and there was not anywhere that she figured to have an advantage against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Even her March 2019 loss to Weili Zhang looks fine in retrospect, with what the current strawweight champion has proven since. With that said, her August loss to Marina Rodriguez set off alarms that things were not really working anymore. Torres figured to be able to take over with her wrestling, but her takedown attempts went nowhere and she otherwise coasted to a defeat. Torres’ diminutive frame is always going to be a problem for her at a certain level, but there is a general sense that even the weapons that should be working for Torres just are not at the moment, which makes this a huge spot against Van Buren. The 26-year-old Van Buren enjoyed a breakout in 2019, winning a one-night tournament in Invicta Fighting Championships before a dominant UFC debut against Livinha Souza on the back of a clearly focused style. “The Bull” lives up to her nickname, charging forward in attempt to score huge takedowns and take control of the fight. If nothing else, this fight is fascinating because Van Buren might be the only fighter on the roster with a smaller frame than Torres, giving the veteran some extra leeway with which to play. This represents an excellent chance for Torres to play matador—pardon the pun—since Van Buren’s striking is entirely rushing forward on straight lines, but at this point, she needs to prove she can beat an opponent this aggressive and focused. It feels like a bit of a risky prediction given all that Torres has accomplished, but the pick is Van Buren via decision.
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