Expectations are already at an all-time high in Rostov-on-Don, Russia as BRAVE Combat Federation hosts its second live event in the country on Saturday, November 6.
As the Bahrain-based outfit were about to put the finishing touches on its much-awaited extravaganza this weekend, the ground team in the bustling Russian city took a major hit when one of the evening’s luminaries made a heartbreaking decision with regards to his fate on fight night.
American flyweight contender Jose “Shorty” Torres decided to withdraw from the main-event showdown against hometown hero Ali “Puncher King” Bagautinov, citing his inability to meet the contracted weight limit for the bout with less than 24 hours to go before the official weigh-ins.
With Torres’ sudden pull out, it put the BRAVE CF Flyweight World Title Tournament in peril as the said encounter was the last remaining match in the competition’s semifinal round.
Fortunately, the organization’s matchmakers found a willing short-notice replacement in Torres’ compatriot and former foe Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella.
BRAVE CF President Mohammed “The Hawk” Shahid made an official statement following Santella’s acceptance of the offer to fill in for Torres to face Bagautinov within 48 hour of fight night.
“It was a crazy 24 hours. Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres is out of the main event and the flyweight tournament. If anyone could have stepped up, it was Sean Santella and he did step up last night. Ali Bagautinov, like a true champion, is ready for it all,” he said.
Santella was originally penciled to compete on the supporting card of BRAVE CF 55 against another Russian talent in Rizvan Abuev.
The 37-year-old veteran from Budd Lake, New Jersey fought Torres in the quarterfinals of the tourney, which kicked off late last year to crown the promotion’s inaugural Flyweight World Champion. However, the clash ended in an anticlimactic majority draw.
Both men were supposed to run it back at BRAVE CF 49 this past March, but Santella pulled out of the bout due to an injury. As a result, Torres fought and prevailed over replacement opponent Blaine O’Driscoll via unanimous decision to advance to the semifinals.
Now that he’s back in the fold, Santella is ready to capitalize on the big opportunity this weekend against Bagautinov.
The winner of the clash between Santella and Bagautiov will punch a ticket to the finals versus the highly-touted Velimurad Alkhasov.
“It’s just the perfect fit. ‘Shorty’ may have pulled out, but Sean Santella stepped in to be in a position he never lost in the first place. The winner between Sean and Ali will face Velimurad in the finals. It’s BJJ versus Russian Sambo. This is USA versus Russia, and the main event will continue,” Shahid stated.
BRAVE CF 55 will be broadcasted live and free on BRAVE CF TV (bravecftv.com) at 9:00 AM (EST) on Saturday November 6th from Rostov-on-Don.