Shock and disbelief filled the media room following last night’s WEC event at The Joint inside The Hard Rock hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
Former bantamweight champion and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Miguel Torres (36-2), had been knocked unconscious just minutes earlier.
His 17 fight win streak snapped by up and comer Brian Bowles (8-0).
While many expected Bowles to put up a valiant effort, it is safe to say that no one in the room not named Brian Bowles was ready for the outcome.
Unless your name is Reed Harris.
The WEC’s general manager stepped to the podium and summed up the night’s events with a couple short sentences: “This is why MMA is so exciting. Anything can happen.”
Torres was dropped twice in the fight. The second time put the 135-pound phenomenon down for good, with the referee halting the bout after three unanswered shots left the Illinois native separated from consciousness.
“There’s no excuses for what happens,” a somber Torres replied after the fight.
To the ex-champion’s credit, he took the loss in stride, vowed to come back, and quickly turned the page on the loss.
“It’s not a setback for my career, it’s a new challenge”
Torres almost seemed relieved by the loss. With the pressures of a champion behind him, he can get back to what he loves doing the most: training for fights. He spoke of promotional duties that come with being a champion, lamenting that “everybody wants to know what you’re thinking” when you are king of the mountain.
He spoke of the media crowding his gym, adding an extra element of distraction.
On the opposite end of the stage, the new champion strolled in as if he’s held the title for years. Bowles seemed oblivious to the fact that he’d pulled off one of the biggest upsets in company history—rivaled only by Mike Brown’s upset win over Urijah Faber.
“I was totally convinced that I could beat him,” Bowles stated.
Despite pre-fight talk of a first round knockout—which makes Bowles look like a psychic—he freely admitted that he anticipated a five round war.
The key to Bowles’ was clearly composure. Torres rocked the new champion with a flurry right before falling to the big right hand.
“He had me rattled for a second,” Bowles revealed. “I got my composure and looked up and threw a big right and it landed on his chin.”
With another company poster boy down for the count, it’d be easy to conclude that Reed Harris is scrambling for matchups. Not so, said the excited general manager.
“Because we understand the sport, we never make fights before the fights happen,” Harris said. “We never [look past the fights] to see what happens next.”
Judging from last night’s performance, nobody will be looking past Brian Bowles either.