|By: Sensei Thad CampbellElmwood Park, NJTeam TSMMA’s Nick Pace got some very good news over the weekend. Despite coming off a decision loss to Ivan Menjivar at UFC 133 in Philadelphia back in August, he will actually move up the UFC’s roster to fight a man once considered the pound for pound best fighter in the sport. Miguel Torres reigned as the WEC’s Bantamweight king for nearly two years before a couple losses sent him back down the ladder a couple steps. Now he will face off with Pace in a 135 pound fight in November.
Many people who watched UFC 133 found it hard to believe that Pace could have lost a decision to Menjivar after clearly dominating Round 1 while gaining Menjivars back in the process then nearly ending the fight in the Round 3 with a knee kick that had Menjivar running for the last minute of the fight. Apparently none of the three judges have ever been kneed in the face because all three scored the fight for Menjivar. While Menjivar was a great opponent for Pace, he is not the caliber of his training partner at Tri-Star Gym in Montreal, Torres.
Torres lost a stunning fight to Brian Bowles back in 2009 that cost him his WEC crown and in a comeback fight against Joseph Benividez the noted grappler was shocked to find himself caugh in a guillotine choke. Those two losses would prompt him to find a new direction in his training and he would land in Montreal with the noted coach for George Saint Pierre. Faras Zahabi helped lead Torres to two straight victorious. He would face off with Demetrious Johnson in May for a shot at title holder Dominick Cruz. Johnson was the man who welcomed Pace to the WEC in a hard fought decision victory and he would similarly end Torres shot at facing Cruz. While Johnson and Cruz will face off in September for the 135 title, Pace will be living at TSMMA headquarters in Elmwood Park, New Jersey training every day with the likes of The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 participants Jimmie Rivera and Louis Gaudinot.
The shot at Torres is somewhat of a shocker for Pace as it is not typical to climb up the ladder after a loss. However, one of the greatest traits of UFC President Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva is that they are students of the game. Just because the referees make a terrible decision doesn’t mean they have to hold it against the fighter. This fight is a clear indication that White and Silva believe Pace won the fight with Menjivar and is primed for a huge leap up the Bantamweight leaderboard.
Torres is a supremely skilled opponent. Long and lean he possesses huge range standing with a solid jab and great low kicks. He is noted most for his abilites on the ground where he has finished 23 of his 39 fights by submission and of his 9 ko victories many came from the ground and pound variety. It is no easy street for Pace, but one thing we can be sure of is that Team TSMMA will have him well prepared to take this huge step towards his ultimate goal of being the UFC Bantamweight World Champion!