Manuel Torres vs. Chris Duncan prediction | UFC Mexico City 1

Lightweights kick off the main card in Mexico City this weekend as Contender Series vets Manual Torres and Chris Duncan meet in a clash of prospects at 155 lbs.

Torres has been on a tear lately with five straight fights ending in a first round finish, three by knockout and two submissions. He’ll be making his first appearance since June 2023 and only his third since his Contender Series win back in October of 2021.

On the other side will be Chris “The Problem” Duncan who has a four fight win streak of his own. In a second attempt at a UFC contract after a setback loss in his first go on the Contender Series, Duncan refused to walk away without a contract, winning with a spectacular comeback knockout. He’s made the most of the opportunity since joining the promotion, going 2-0 in his first year.

Betting Odds

The line started fight week at near even but has since crept back towards Torres who opened as almost a two-to-one favorite:

  • Manuel Torres -155 (BetUS)
  • Chris Duncan +125 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

Manuel Torres hasn’t been the most active fighter since joining the UFC, but when we have seen him, he’s been dominant. Torres is an exciting fighter who has used a lot of forward pressure and a large arsenal of strikes to find the knockout shot in his last three. He’s 14-2 as a pro with both of his UFC wins coming by knockout in the first round. His step-in elbow knockout of Nikolas Motta was one of the best of 2023 and showed that striking diversity that makes him such a pain to deal with on the feet.

Manuel definitely uses all eight limbs in his striking, utilizing punches and kicks as well as his knees and elbows. He’s not afraid to throw the whole lot out there early in the fight in an attempt to overwhelm his opponent with a high pace and strikes from all angles. He isn’t the most technically sound fighter (a lot of his strikes wind up and can come in loopy), but he’s extremely accurate with good power. 

Torres doesn’t use a lot of defensive movement on the feet. He likes to stand in the pocket and wait for his opponent to come in to strike where he can time his lead hook and other counters. He’s shown to have the chin to eat a few to give a few but that isn’t the recipe for success in the UFC. I’d like to at least see some head movement to stay off the centerline while he works feints to draw out strikes he can avoid and counter.

We’ve known Torres for his exciting finishes on the feet since his first round knockout streak started on the Contender Series in 2021 but he’s been equally effective with his submissions on the regional scene. With 6 of his 13 first round finishes coming by submission, it’s safe to say he’s a danger to finish the fight no matter where it goes.

His opponent is Chris Duncan who has delivered some exciting comebacks in his time with the UFC. Duncan, 30, was knocked out in his first attempt on the Contender Series and in his second attempt, was wobbled on multiple occasions before landing a one-two out of nowhere, putting his opponent down for a nap. 

Duncan’s a well-rounded fighter with powerful punches, frequent kicks, and useful wrestling. Chris doesn’t have the fastest movement or hands and that is what cost him in the striking exchanges where he’s been rocked in the past. He’s adjusted his style a bit in his most recent bout to utilize his hands for counters while coming forward with more kicks than before. He attacks the body and head most often but will throw some kicks to the calf occasionally.

As mentioned, Duncan’s movement is not the most explosive. He’s incorporated more in and out footwork but he’s still slow to create distance when his opponent blitzes forward. Like Manuel Torres, he doesn’t have an effective high guard either which, paired with his movement, doesn’t make for the best striking defense. While he’s been rocked a lot, he doesn’t give up easily and will continue to come forward with strikes and takedown attempts.

The wrestling of Duncan has been effective when he gets a clean shot at the hips. However, he hasn’t shown the best entries and is often easy to read as he shoots from distance with no strikes in front. Against Omar Morales, his most successful attempts came behind a right hand so I’d love for him to be more willing to give more striking and level change feints to set it up better. 

One thing both Torres and Duncan do well is keep a constant forward pressure. It’ll be interesting to see who can take control of the center of the octagon early and who is forced to fight off the back foot. Both guys like to create distance with kicks before letting their hands fly but it shouldn’t take long before either guy finds an opening to attack with their boxing. Neither fighter has a good defensive base but have the power and striking pace to make this one into a war for as long as it lasts.

The biggest question mark for the matchup is the wrestling of Duncan vs the takedown defense of Torres. Torres has been stellar at preventing takedowns thus far in the UFC but I would expect Duncan to test him, especially if Torres is able to hit him cleanly on the feet. If Duncan is able to get the takedown, there’s also the question of how aggressive Torres will be from his back. Based on his six submission wins and the way he fights on the feet, I’d expect constant submission attempts that may entice Duncan to work back to the feet.


With how little either fighter defends, it can be hard to say for certain who will come out on top. While Torres throws more offensively and utilizes more strikes from different angles, Duncan has the tighter punches and can be explosive when he sits down on a counter.

We haven’t seen Duncan look super comfortable on the feet when his opponent is throwing back, though, and Torres is going to be throwing a lot back his way. I believe Torres is the most likely to come out on top, but I really like the Under on 1.5 rounds from a betting perspective.

Prediction: Manuel Torres to win inside the distance

Best Bet: Under 1.5 rounds (-200 on BetUS)

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