Octagon Oracles: Manuel Torres

Grade: B-

It took Manuel Torres just over two minutes to get the victory on Contender Series 2021, and now he’ll make his UFC debut against Frank Camacho on Saturday.

Torres enters this debut riding a three fight win-streak, with all three of those victories coming inside the first-round. “El Loco” has only lost twice in his fourteen-fight pro career, and only one of those bouts made it to the judge’s scorecards.

The Mexican lightweight showed off a strong jab in his Contender Series fight with Kolton Englund, repeatedly throwing it out to test his range and set up kicks. His rear-leg front kick looked particularly sharp and is one of Torres’s favorite techniques, as he’ll often open fights with it right off the glove touch. The twenty-seven year old also mixes in a variety of other kicks to the head and body of his opponents while the fight is being contested at range. “El Loco” occasionally likes to leap forward with a lead left hook, and in close he’ll use his length to establish head control and land knees to the body of his opposition.

Torres has some solid weapons on the feet, but he’s also shown off a penchant for grabbing opportunistic submissions. In his UWC bout before Contender Series he grabbed ahold of Carlos Enrique Cañada’s neck the moment the latter tried to shoot for a takedown. Torres finished the guillotine from a standing position and left Cañada laying on the mat following the tap. “El Loco” tried a similar approach when Carlos Calvo shot for a takedown in their 2019 bout, quickly wrapping up an anaconda choke and attempting to finish it in the ensuing scramble. Torres was forced to tap when Calvo was able to secure a kneebar after escaping Torres’s choke attempt, and the Mexican’s only other career loss also came via submission (heel hook).

The overall level of competition Torres has faced during his career hasn’t always been the highest, though admittedly he’s handled the majority of those bouts inside the first-round. Having only gone the distance once it will be important to see how “El Loco” looks in more fights that go beyond the first round, and he certainly won’t find many easy matchups in the UFC’s extremely deep lightweight division. Torres is also a clear threat to find submissions in fights, but his defensive grappling may be a point of concern.

This debut matchup certainly won’t be an easy one, as Torres will face Frank “The Crank” Camacho. Camacho has been stopped in his last two bouts but has been in the UFC since 2017 and has over thirty pro bouts of experience. “The Crank” hasn’t fought in nearly two years however, so Torres may be able to take advantage of any ring rust the veteran has.

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