UFC on Fox 19 Breakdown: Rose Namajunas vs Tecia Torres

008_Tecia_Torres_vs_Felice_HerrigPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the opening bout of the main card on the UFC on Fox 19 as Rose Namajunas takes on Tecia Torres in a top five strawweight clash.   Rose “Thug” Namajunas (Record: 4-2, – Favorite, Fighter Grade: B+) The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-born Namajunas may be short on Octagon experience, but is a highly accomplished mixed martial artist. She holds a black belt in karate and taekwondo in addition to a purple belt in BJJ. At just 22 years of age, she was one of the youngest fighters ever to fight for a UFC championship when she fought Carla Esparza for the strawweight championship. Namajunas is a crafty submission grappler with all four of her victories coming by way of sub. The Grudge Training Center product is the number three ranked contender at 115 pounds. Namajunas has shown real growth in her ability over the last couple of years. She’s still one of the youngest fighters in the organization and her game is still developing. When she debuted in the UFC, her game was based on mainly flashy submissions with some decent range striking. She’s developed in a short time to a much more composed fighter while rounding out her skill set. In her last outing, she secured eight takedowns against grappling focused Paige Van Zant. Namajunas fought a very intelligent fight dominating her opponent on the ground showing control and grappling passes. While Namajunas has yet to record a knockout or TKO, she’s been able to hurt opponents on the feet and score submissions. In a division where finishes have been tough to come by, both of Namajunas’ UFC wins have come inside the distance. Her submission average of two submission attempts every fifteen minutes is one of the highest in the division.   Tecia “Tiny Tornado” Torres (Record: 7-0, + Underdog, Fighter Grade: B+) The American Top Team trained strawweight is one of the most diverse fighters in the division. A black belt in karate and taekwondo as well as a blue belt in BJJ, Torres is an accomplished mixed martial artist despite just being 26 years old. Prior to the UFC, Torres fought in Invicta FC holding solid wins over currently ranked top 10 strawweights Rose Namajunas and Paige Van Zant. Outside of Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Tiny Tornado may be the most technically skilled striker in the weight class. The undefeated (although she lost two exhibition matches in the TUF house) strawweight has a very good combination striking game. She lands an impressive 4.56 significant strikes per minute. Her volume is fairly steady over the course of fifteen minutes making her a difficult fighter to match up against. Despite her small stature (just a 60 inch reach), she lands 50% of her strikes attempted. While she has yet to be taken down in her professional fights, she did have some trouble in the TUF house against wrestling focused fighters. Despite her striking acumen on the feet, she has yet to finish any of her opponents. All of her victories have been by three round decision.   Match-up In a rematch of an Invicta FC from January 2013, two top five women’s strawweight fighters tangle in what is sure to be an exciting clash. Both fighters enter this fight on good form and a victory likely sees the winner get a chance at the strawweight title later in the year. Namajunas certainly enters this fight with more hype having made the final of the original TUF tournament and being pushed by Dana White as “the next Ronda Rousey.” While that fight didn’t go Namajunas’ way, she still was viewed as a dangerous fighter with a different kind of mentality. I think that hype is the reason why Namajunas is currently a -230 favorite over Torres. The Tiny Tornado is one of the few undefeated fighters currently in the UFC. Despite her winning record, she hasn’t finished any of her opponents and that’s a big reason why she hasn’t received the fanfare of her opponent. Not only that, but Torres won their original bout in 2013 and is still a +180 underdog. It’s certainly a peculiar line in a fight where I see these fighters as close to equal. While Namajunas holds a 5 inch reach advantage and a better submission game, Torres strikes with significantly more volume. Torres lands nearly two more significant strikes every minute than her opponent. Over the course of a 5 minute round, she lands approximately nine more significant strikes. That’s a big advantage in what should be a competitive fight. Furthermore, Torres has yet to allow a takedown in her UFC career. She was taken down in the TUF house, but I believe that was more of a function of difficulties cutting weight in the house vs. a proper training camp. While Namajunas had great success in her last fight securing positions on the ground, this is a much stronger opponent who will do well to keep this is a standing exchange. In a stand up battle, I like the fighter who works for more volume and lands at a much higher clip. At +190, Torres is one of the best underdog picks on the card.

Written by Jay Primetown

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