Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009 | midnight
More WEC 42 coverage
World Extreme Cagefighting has its dream matchup at long last.
After one postponement and nearly a year of anticipation, WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres will finally put his title up for grabs against Brian Bowles at WEC 42 Sunday night at the Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
"I'm just glad it's here," Bowles said. "I'm ready. It's going to be a good fight. I'm tired of waiting for it to come."
Torres and Bowles were supposed to square off at WEC 40 in Chicago in April, but Bowles had to withdraw due to a back injury. Takeya Mizugaki filled in, but lost to Torres in a five-round decision.
Following months of physical therapy and rehabilitation, Bowles said he is prepared to take on the heavily favored Torres.
"This is nothing new to me," said Bowles, a former police officer and current Pepsi sales rep. "I am fighting for the world title, but I'm not nervous."
Confidence can only take Bowles so far, though.
Although Bowles is 7-0 with his last two WEC victories coming via submission over Will Ribeiro and Damacio Page, Torres is one of the most experienced bantamweight fighters in the world.
Torres is a staggering 37-1, winning his last 17 consecutive matches. The 28-year-old East Chicago native hasn't lost in six years.
"Bowles will come out with big right hands and left hooks and he's going to try to push the clinch, but the clinch is my game," Torres said. "I don't care who the guy is, my clinch game is solid. If he takes me down, that's his disadvantage. I have a very active guard and I'm very dangerous on the ground."
Even after successfully defending his title three times, Torres said he is still motivated to silence any contenders who think they can steal his championship.
To prepare for Sunday's main event, Torres hung a picture of Bowles on the wall in his house to focus on his target.
"I look at him everyday," Torres said. "I think if anything it's a disadvantage to him because he's been off for so long. He's coming to fight me at the peak of my game."
Bowles, a much more reserved speaker, didn't hesitate to fire back at Torres, though.
"I don't need any more motivation," Bowles said. "I've got a picture in my head. I know what I have to do. I don't need a picture on the wall to remind me what I'm after."
The war of words is just one day from ending and the winner will most likely defend that title against the winner of the undercard bout between Dominick Cruz and Joseph Benavidez.
"A lot of guys are gunning for me, but I'm keeping this title," Torres said.
Arguably one the coolest joints in town, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino houses some of Vegas' best entertainment, restaurants and nightlife.
At Hard Rock, it's all about the music. From the light fixtures made out of drum cymbals and guitar shaped door handles to stage costumes and tools of the trade of legendary musicians displayed on the walls, the hotel screams rock and roll. The Hard Rock's Joint has hosted some the biggest names in music — from The Who to Bob Dylan to hometown heroes, The Killers.Aside from the music venues, the pool at the Hard Rock is one of its biggest attractions. Spread out over 4.7 acres, the pool area features swim-up blackjack, a bar and grill, private cabanas, a bevy of secluded nooks, a waterfall and an extensive live music venue with a dance floor. During the summer, the pool transforms into the Rehab club on Sunday afternoons.
The resident nightclub Body English fuses European elegance with a rock star bachelor pad and it often a hot spot for visiting celebs and popular DJs. Vintage rock memorabilia lines the walls at Wasted Space, Hard Rock's anti-club.
Restaurants at Hard Rock are just as hip as the rest of the casino. Pink Taco serves up Mexican dishes, as well as a Central American and Caribbean menu. Nobu, one of five worldwide Japanese-specialty restaurants from famed Nobu Matsuhisa, satisfies a different taste. For round-the-clock cuisine, Mr. Lucky's 24/7, is sure to ease your appetite even after a Vegas-all-nighter.
Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].