By the time Friday night rolls around, there will be just eight shopping days left until Christmas. Luckily, MMA promotions, such as Atlantic City-based Cage Fury Fighting Championships and the UFC, know what to get their fans all year long. They want fights, and they’ll get them over the weekend.
This Friday, CFFC 116 and the CFFC 116 main event serve as the promotion’s last show before saying goodbye to the old year. Live coverage of the 2022 finale begins at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT with the undercard bouts on YouTube. Main card bouts immediately follow at 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT on UFC Fight Pass from Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Casino.
In total, barring any late cancellations between now and Friday, CFFC 116 is slated to feature an 11-fight card. While the CFFC 116 co-main event features a bantamweight showcase, your main event sees a lightweight tussle.
Torres Faces Mathison in CFFC 116 Main Event
Undefeated Eddy Torres (4-0 MMA, 4-0 CFFC) returns to MMA for the first time in almost 19 months when he takes on Tyler Mathison (3-2 MMA, 0-1 CFFC), who just came off of a lengthy hiatus of his own back in October. Being a nontitle affair, the CFFC 116 main event will only be a maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.
CFFC 116 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the CFFC 116 main event on Friday night, the returning Eddy Torres stands as the taller at 5-foot-9, compared to the 5-foot-5 frame of Tyler Mathison. Additionally, Mathison owns a 69-inch reach, with no such information accessible for Torres.
Usually, at this stage in the article, we would mention whether Eddy Torres or Tyler Mathison is favored in the headliner by the oddsmakers. Just like in the CFFC 116 co-main event, the betting odds for the main event had yet to be released as of Tuesday afternoon.
If you are planning on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Despite Long Layoff, Eddy Torres On UFC’s Radar Ahead of CFFC 116 Main Event
Eddy Torres comes into Friday night’s main event having yet to lose thus far in his professional MMA career. Counting amateur competitions, he’s won seven consecutive fights. Most recently, Torres defeated Yohe Rojas (2-2 MMA, 0-1 CFFC) on May 28, 2021 in CFFC 96’s co-main event.
Torres was then booked to fight on Dec. 17 of last year against Blake Bilder (7-0-1 MMA, 2-0 CFFC) for the CFFC Featherweight Championship during the CFFC 104 main event. Just a day before the card took place, however, he returned a positive test for COVID-19, causing the fight to be scrapped. Bilder took the featherweight strap the next evening against Frank Buenafuente (10-6 MMA, 0-2 CFFC) and is now on the UFC’s active roster.
Although he appeared twice in CFFC’s sister promotion, Fury Pro Grappling, in the interim, Torres has not fought in MMA in close to 19 months. Even though he’s had a marathon layoff in the cage, Torres continued to train, with Andre Petroski as a teammate of his.
“I think working with Andre Petroski helped,” Torres said recently. “I think I have some new tools in my toolbox that I’m going to show in this fight.”
Later in the interview, Torres made a promise to the folks tuning into the CFFC 116 main event.
“I think this is the best version of me,” he said. “You guys are in for a treat.”
With a win in the CFFC 116 main event on Friday night, Eddy Torres could very well be on the fast track to a UFC deal of his own. If you tune in, you might be seeing MMA’s next big star.
Tyler Mathison Back to Regular Schedule
In the other corner, Tyler Mathison has posted a record of 3-2 in his last five fights. Last time out, he scored a first-round knockout (unanswered strikes) on Oct. 22 versus Casey Goulet (0-3 MMA) in CFX: Aftermath.
The Oct. 22 fight was Mathison’s first contest since May of 2019 in the LFA. A scheduled undercard bout against Cain Lugar (2-2 MMA) on Feb. 21, 2020, pre-pandemic, at LFA 82, was scrapped before it could take place.
Surgeries were the culprit of the long hiatus, including six operations on his ACL, as he explained to CFFC.tv last week.
“In that gap, I had an ACL surgery, and that one didn’t work, six months in,” Mathison recounted, “and so, then I had to have those two surgeries back-to-back. One was like to reconstruct my bone and my knee so that the next ACL would take, basically.”
With his operations in the rear-view mirror, Mathison has returned to a more consistent itinerary. Can he continue his comeback with a win on Friday night in the CFFC 116 main event?
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the CFFC 116 main event looks to be a toss-up. Eddy Torres is a submission specialist, while Tyler Mathison is a former college wrestler at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN. Thus, it stands to reason that we could be looking at a ground war.
Eddy Torres is Slick With Armbars
Counting amateur MMA, Eddy Torres has won three of his fights by way of armbar, including his professional debut in May of 2019 against Jacob Dorman (1-4 MMA, 0-3 CFFC.) All three of the wins by armbar have come inside the opening round of the fight.
During round one, Dorman caught a Torres leg kick, resulting in Torres executing a sweep to take him down. Torres nearly locked in an armbar, but Dorman fought his way out of it, to no avail.
Torres continued to grapple with Dorman in an effort to land a submission, landing ground and pound shots as a means of softening his opponent up. From there, he had Dorman in a body lock and applied the torque to sink in the armbar in slightly over three minutes.
If Eddy Torres is able to take Tyler Mathison down just once, the CFFC 116 main event could be a done deal in a hurry.
Tyler Mathison Can Be Relentless With Punches
In the other corner, Tyler Mathison has been known to be brutal when it comes to strikes. He won his professional debut versus Marcelo Dantas Jr. (0-1 MMA) in Warrior Games 3 in September of 2018 this way.
Right from the command to fight, Mathison went on the offensive, connecting with a vicious punch to knock Dantas down. He quickly pounced on Dantas to score nasty ground and pound shots, and it was Tyler Mathison’s world from that point on.
Upon landing the knockdown, he was able to use his wrestling prowess to establish ground control, landing elbows and stifling any effort Dantas might have had to get back to his feet. Ultimately, Mathison was too tough for Dantas to handle that night.
He just kept landing strikes against him, and Dantas had no answer at all, to the point where the latter was forced to submit to the punches during round two. More impressively, Mathison was able to do this against a man who is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Quite simply, if Tyler Mathison is able to land copious shots on Eddy Torres, he’ll walk away the winner on Friday night.
Even though no title will be up for the taking in the CFFC 116 main event, this fight looks to be a cracking affair. As little as one takedown or one punch could turn the tide.
A final piece of advice: Pay your pizza delivery guy before the fight starts. You might not get a chance to during the fight.
Prediction: Eddy Torres by Unanimous Decision.
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