Sean Santella (17-6-1) is a name that has often been tossed around when mixed martial arts fighters, fans, and matchmakers discuss potential UFC talent. In fact, we’ve been saying it for years, “The UFC cannot deny Shorty Rock much longer.”
The current Cage Fury Fighting Championships’ flyweight champion added another trophy to his mantle on Saturday night as Santella defeated Larry Digiulio, Hoosier Fight Club flyweight champion, for the V3Fights 125–pound title.
Alliance MMA promoted V3Fights 60 in Memphis, Tennessee, June 17, pairing champions from different regional promotions, a historic moment for the brand.
Santella held the CFFC interim flyweight title until Louis Gaudinot vacated the title earlier this year. “Shorty Rock” also held the flyweight title from 2012 until 2014. The two-time CFFC champion is currently ranked as the number one professional flyweight in the northeast according to Tapology.
Last summer Santella actually received the call to fight in the UFC, and was announced during a televised UFC broadcast as a replacement for flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in a fight against Wilson Reis. Several days later however, the fight was off after an issue with Santella’s medicals.
The devastating news would not deter Santella from continuing his fight to perform on the largest stage in MMA, the UFC. He met Matt Lozano in the headlining fight at CFFC 62 in December, finishing him by way of submission.
Santella was then paired up against Joseph Morales in San Diego during the organization’s first trip out west. “Shorty Rock” came up empty in that fight against the Team Alpha Male prospect but since Morales was called to the UFC, the title stayed with Santella.
At 32-years of age, Santella’s window of opportunity is slowly starting to fade which is why it is imperative for the UFC to sign him in 2017. Matchmaker Mick Maynard knows the name, they know who he is, and I would be surprised if the phone is not ringing sometime this month.
CFFC is well-known as a breeding ground for UFC talent. Sean Santella is exactly what the UFC’s flyweight division needs right now and it would be an absolute travesty for him to be denied any longer.
The New Jersey native could easily slide into the UFC on FOX 25 on Long Island, New York fight card. There are currently no flyweight fights announced for the July 22 card and adding Santella to the UFC Fight Pass portion of the card is an easy sell. Hundreds of “Shorty Rock” fans would eat up any available tickets and MMA fans who may not have been familiar with the top-ranked 125-pounder will get to find out why he is labeled as such.