World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Miguel
Torres will defend his crown against unbeaten challenger
Bowles at WEC 40 on April 5 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. The
WEC made the matchup official on Tuesday.
Torres (35-1), one of the sport’s most accomplished and revered
competitors, will carry an incredible 16-fight winning streak into
his third title defense. The 28-year-old East Chicago, Ind., native
last competed in December when he throttled the previously
undefeated Manny Tapia
at WEC 37, burying the Californian under a second-round barrage of
punches and elbows. Torres has finished his last 11 opponents --
six of them inside one round -- and has not tasted defeat in more
than five years.
A professional for only three years, Bowles (7-0) has enjoyed a
meteoric rise up the 135-pound charts. The 28-year-old West
Virginia native burst on the scene in 2007 with wins against former
King of the Cage lightweight champion Charlie
Valencia and world-ranked bantamweight Marcos
Galvao. Based out of the American Top Team-affiliated Hardcore
Gym in Athens, Ga., Bowles solidified his standing as the top
contender to Torres’ throne with a submission victory against
talented Brazilian Will Ribeiro
at WEC 37. He has never gone the distance as a professional.
Meanwhile, former featherweight title challenger Jeff Curran
will make his long-awaited debut at 135 pounds when he meets the
Benavidez at WEC 40.
A polished Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Curran (29-10-1) has
dropped back-to-back fights to the world’s top two featherweights
-- Mike Thomas
Brown and Urijah Faber
-- and has not competed since June. The 31-year-old holds victories
against former International Fight League featherweight champion
Assuncao and Antonio
Carvalho, among others. Curran has secured more than half (18)
of his 29 career wins by submission.
Benavidez (9-0), a Faber protégé, made a successful promotional
debut at WEC 37, though he was taken the distance for the first
time in a unanimous decision victory against Danny
Martinez. Still only 24, the Dream veteran cut his teeth inside
the Warrior Cup and Palace Fighting Championship promotions. Six of
his nine wins have come by submission.