Brave CF flyweight contender Sean Santella has been handed a golden opportunity to gatecrash the title picture with a second bite of the cherry in the Brave CF flyweight world title tournament.
Brave CF officials confirmed that the originally-scheduled main event clash between Ali Bagautinov and Jose Torres at Brave CF 55 was scrapped at the 11th hour after Torres was forced off the card following a tough weight cut ahead of the tournament semi-final bout.
Bagautinov and Torres were all set to do battle for a place in the Brave CF flyweight world title tournament in the headline bout in Rostov-on-Don, but Torres’ pre-fight weight cut difficulties have forced the American contender off the card, and out of the tournament.
Replacing him against Bagautinov – and taking his place in the semi-finals of the tournament – is American Santella, who has agreed to step up just one day before the official weigh-ins for the event.
Santella, 37, was originally set to compete against Russian Rizvan Abuev on the undercard at the event, but “Shorty Rock” now has a remarkable second chance in the tournament as he steps in to face Russia’s “Puncher King” and, potentially, win his way into the tournament final and a shot at the Brave CF flyweight world title.
Santella fought to a majority draw with Torres in the quarter-finals of the tournament and the pair were subsequently booked to face off in a rematch to determine who would progress to the semis and a bout with Bagautinov.
Unfortunately for Santella, injury forced him out of that rematch, and Torres went on to defeat tournament alternate Blaine O’Driscoll to book his place in the final four.
Now, in a strange twist to the tournament’s narrative, Torres is the one who has been forced out of action, with Santella – who had never been eliminated from the tournament inside the cage itself – handed the chance to step back into the fray and fight for a place in the final.
Brave CF president Mohammed “The Hawk” Shahid issued a statement shortly after the new main event had been made official as he reflected on a hectic day for the promotion.
“It was a crazy 24 hours. Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres is out of the main event and the flyweight tournament,” he said.
“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.
“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.”
Velimurad Alkhasov awaits the winner in the tournament finale, while Brave CF officials have confirmed that Santella’s originally-booked opponent Abuev will receive his show money for his now-scrapped bout.
Additional changes to the fight card have also been made, with Daniel Gaucho, Luis Felipe Dias, and Nemat Abdrashitov all forced to withdraw from their event.
Gaucho and Dias have been replaced by Abdulsupyan Alikhanov and Vitaly Tverdokhlebov, respectively, while the planned bout between Abdrashitov and Abdulmutalip Gairbekov has been removed from the card.
Brave CF 55 Updated Fight Card
- Ali Bagautinov vs. Sean Santella – flyweight tournament semi-final
- Artur Sviridov vs. Ibrahim Mane
- Kamil Magomedov vs. Sam Patterson
- Rustam Chsiev vs. Abdulsupyan Alikhanov
- Andrey Bragovskiy vs. Sergey Yaskovec
- Artur Aliev vs. Ali Abdulkhalikov
- Gazimurad Magomedov vs. Djabrail Aidamirov
- Ahmed Omarov vs. Albert Mallokurbanov
- Alan Balaev vs. Vadim Pavlikov
Brave CF 55 will be streamed live and for free on BraveCFTV.com from 9am ET / 6am PT / 1pm GMT on Saturday November 6.