Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos: Round 1
Mario Yamasaki is the third man in the cage for this bantamweight scrap. The WEC vets touch gloves and the much longer Torres sticks his left arm out, feeling for range and keeping Banuelos on the outside. Following a very tentative start from both men, Torres starts to land, connecting with a kick to the body and a few nice jabs. Banuelos catches a low kick and drives Torres down, but lets the former champ back up right away. Torres sneaks a stiff right through the low guard of Banuelos and sticks him with a few more left jabs. The crowd boos as the slow opening round ends.
Round 2: Torres slaps a left high kick off the forearm of Banuelos, who then barely misses with an overhand right. Banuelos catches a glancing low kick to the cup, but runs it off and gets right back to work. Torres is continuing to pump the left jab, keeping Banuelos out of his zone. The crowd is growing audibly restless with two minutes left in the middle stanza. Banuelos is getting tagged with the jab every time he moves into Torres’ range and not landing anything of his own. He finally lands a solid left hand in the last 10 seconds, but the round was once again all Torres.
Round 3: Torres begins scoring with more jabs to open the final period. Banuelos is still unable to get inside effectively, and the crowd jeers after 90 seconds. Nice one-two from Torres is followed by a kick to the body. More jabs snapping back the head of Banuelos, who is now covering up when Torres feints the punch. Torres landing jabs at will in the final minute and dodging everything Banuelos throws his way. Banuelos goes wild with punches, knees and a spinning kick in the final 20 seconds, to no avail.
Official scores: It’s a clean sweep for Miguel Torres, who earns scores of 30-27 on all three official scorecards.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha: Round 1
Referee Kim Winslow gets the assignment for this welterweight bout. Ellenberger eats a left hand and floors Rocha with a double-leg. Rocha pops back up and clinches with Ellenberger along the fence. The Brazilian tries to reap the leg of Ellenberger, but gets taken down instead. Rocha gets to his feet and sprawls on a takedown attempt, winding up in side control on Ellenberger’s right. Rocha steps over into mount, then moves to the left. Rocha is pinning his man down and moving from side to side, then jumps on Ellenberger’s back as the American tries to twist loose.
Ellenberger puts his back on the mat and Rocha is back in side control. Rocha steps over and grabs the left leg of Ellenberger under the knee from top mount. He can’t find the leg lock and moves back to side control. Winslow warns Rocha of headbutting. Ellenberger explodes out and grabs a guillotine, but it’s short-lived. Ellenburger stuffs a takedown attempt and drills a knee to the body of Rocha, who slips on a spinning kick. Rocha gets taken down, but sweeps with a kimura. He wrenches the hold from side control, but can’t finish before the round expires.
Round 2: Ellenberger scores with some knees in the clinch and stuffs a takedown attempt. Rocha turtles and eats some solid punches from Ellenberger before scrambling to his feet and whiffing on a big spinning back kick. Rocha looks to be breathing hard as he airmails a few slow low kicks. Ellenberger jumps forward and drills a knee to the gut of Rocha. As the pace has slowed, Ellenberger has started landing more punches, especially his left. Rocha catches a kick to the body and returns fire with one of his own. Ellenberger drives Rocha down with 20 seconds left. Rocha looks for a submission as the round ends.
Round 3: Rocha putting low kicks on the inside of Ellenberger’s left leg early in the final round. Ellenberger clips Rocha with a three-punch combo and uses underhooks to stuff the subsequent takedown attempt. Rocha falls to guard and Ellenberger wants none of it. Ellenberger times a low kick perfectly and slugs Rocha with an overhand right. The Brazilian sidesteps a double-leg attempt from Ellenberger. Hard left jab from Rocha gets through with 90 seconds left. A right high kick glances off Ellenberger, who shoves Rocha to the floor. He lets Rocha back up and zaps him with a one-two. Ellenberger waits for a low kick and explodes into a takedown, going into Rocha’s guard and landing short elbows. Ellenberger backs out and dives back in with one more shot at the horn.
Official scores: One judge scores it 30-27 Rocha, while the other two have it 29-28 for the winner by split decision, Jake Ellenberger.