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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 12: (L-R) Tecia Torres punches Sam Hughes in their women’s strawweight bout during the UFC 256 event at UFC APEX on December 12, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Division: Women’s strawweight

Result: Tecia Torres def. Sam Hughes via TKO (doctor stoppage) – Round 1, 5:00

Record: 5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC

Grade: D

Stepping in on short notice for your octagon debut is a daunting prospect, regardless of the opponent, but for Sam Hughes, facing perennial top-10 contender Tecia Torres proved to be too much, too early for the debutant.

Torres wasted no time in settling into her striking and looked to overwhelm Hughes with strikes early, but the debutant smartly clinched up and forced the action against the cage to halt “Tiny Tornado’s” early charge.

But when the action returned to the center of the cage, Hughes found herself outgunned, as she was left bloodied up and seemingly without an answer to Torres’ constant barrage of strikes. An attempted spinning backfist fell short as Hughes tried for the spectacular to turn the fight in her favor, but it was one-way traffic in the stand-up exchanges through the entire round. Torres then landed the exclamation point just before the buzzer with a big pick-up and slam to

It meant that Hughes returned to the corner bloodied and beaten after five minutes of punishment and, despite wanting to continue, the octagonside physician felt otherwise and advised referee Jason Herzog to wave off the fight between rounds due to an eye injury.

It meant that Hughes’ short-notice octagon debut was a tough experience against a seasoned contender. Hopefully a second opportunity, after a full training camp and against an opponent with similar experience to her own, will give “Sampage” the chance to gain a foothold in the UFC’s strawweight division and give her something to build on through 2021.

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