UFC 218 Breakdown: Tecia Torres Battles Michelle Waterson For Major Title Implications

This should be a fun one to watch.

In a match up of well rounded strikers, Tecia Torres versus Michelle Waterson is traditional martial arts enthusiasts dream. Both come from traditional martial arts backgrounds, Torres from taekwondo and Waterson from karate. As such, both women utilize similar approaches in their striking style. With the strawweight division wide open after the shocking defeat of Joanna Jedrzejczyk, it’s a free for all to see who can get into title contention.

Tecia Torres can do it all. If she feels like your striking is too unpredictable she’ll take you down to the mat. If your ground game is rock solid, she’ll stop the takedown and force her opponents to engage in a stand up fight. Whatever the circumstance, Torres is well versed in the striking and grappling department giving her a nice edge on most of the opponents she’s faced in her career.


The biggest issues Torres has faced in the past is her height. While being shorter allows her to get in on the legs for a takedown far easier, when at a reach disadvantage on the feet she could be prone to eating jabs. This rang true in her bout with new champ Rose Namajunas. To ensure a repeat of events doesn’t come to pass, Torres should look to use her speed advantage, throwing combination punches to set up kicks. Should Waterson fight in her more traditional side stance then Torres should look to hammer home powerful leg kicks.

If Waterson chooses more of a traditional kickboxing approach, left hooks to takedowns should be mixed in with her kick heavy attack. If Waterson overextends her self during her side kicking attack, Torres should look to get to the back where she can drag the fight to the ground.

“The Karate Hottie” made a huge splash when she entered the UFC knocking off her first two opponents in dominant fashion. That is until she ran into Rose Namajunas. Michelle Waterson got herself into trouble in that match by virtue of her love for the head and arm throw, a technique that has great reward if pulled off but a low success rate. Her decision making ability will have to be on point in this match up as her opponent is capable of switching gears if necessary.

Waterson like Torres does her best work at distance. Where Torres has more of a tendency to barrel straight forward her opponents with punches, Waterson creates angles beautifully before, during and after combinations.

Michelle Waterson should look to lead the dance with feints and fakes before leaning back with a check left hook. Since Torres has a tendency to hold her head high when throwing punch combinations, Waterson should aim to throw her right hand in the pocket only as an invitation for her opponent to come forward and engage. When “The Tiny Tornado” does come forward, Waterson’s check hook will work nicely as either a damaging shot or something to keep Torres at bay. Waterson can also switch to a left body or head kick to add variety.

Should she choose to fight in her southpaw stance, Waterson can attack utilizing her wide array of kicks, particularly the side kick to right hand combination that. In order for the attack to be effective, she’ll have to be light on her feet and quick recover.

It’s a battle between two of the most talented female strikers out there. Who will get the victory?

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Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.

Jonathan Salmon
Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.