BRAVE Combat Federation is looking to crown its first-ever flyweight world champion with a tournament featuring eight of the best fighters in the world under 125lbs (57kg).
The first match up will feature two-time amateur world champion Jose “Shorty” Torres (9-1) and number-one flyweight in America Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella (23-7-1).
Behind The Grind recently had the opportunity to speak with Santella. The 35-year-old said he is looking forward to the fight. “I planned on trying to fight the first time something came up. I hate sitting around. I haven’t fought since September, so I’ve been a little crazy. It’s a great match up. I’m super excited. He’s got a good name and he’s got a little bit of hype behind him. I’m really excited to get in there and mix it up with him”.
On his Tapology site, Santella lists his foundation style as “Aggressive Cuddling”. He explained his aggressive cuddling strategy deeper during the interview. “I’m trying to be a scrappler; that’s an aggressive cuddler. I get my hands on you and I don’t let go. I’m looking to beat you up, suffocate you and try to take a limb home, you know. Also, I’m in your face, just very aggressive. I don’t have that like laid back Jiu Jitsu style, you know, like I’m constantly in your face, scrambling, high-paced. Whether I’m getting beat up or I’m giving a beating, I don’t care. As long as it’s a high-paced fight I’m excited”.
Santella explained that by being in the MMA game since 2007 he’s gained a lot of insight into training methodology. “I just think that it’s just training smarter. A lot of the new generation they just try to go as hard as they can and then they just end up getting burned out or all they want to do it spar seven days a week. I was one of those guys when I first started just because we didn’t know any better. After learning and having higher quality coaches, it’s a little bit different. I try to let these guys know you don’t have to come in and go balls to the walls sparring every day. It’s how you get hurt and that’s how you get burned out. Mentally it breaks you down because you can’t be perfect every day. If you’re winning every sparring session, you’re in the wrong gym. You don’t want to be at the top of that food chain every day. You’re not going to get any better. With me now, I’ve been training smart probably the last six years just balancing everything out”.
Santella said that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘Shorty 2.0’ was born.” I feel as if I was reborn like a phoenix. It’s been really kind of like a time to refuel everything and rebuild from scratch. The last three or four months has been crazy”.
When asked how he would sell himself to a matchmaker, Santella replied, “I think my work speaks for itself. I’ve been one of the top guys, most consistent guys in the world. I’ve never turned down a fight, never missed weight. I can make weight on less than 24 hours notice. I’m always ready and I always put on a good fight. I have a ton of finishes. Every time that I’ve been kind of counted out, I’ve proven why I still belong here and I’m still relevant. I train with some of the best guys in the world at 125, 135, 145. No one’s been able to push me over. I know where I stand regardless where I am be it Brave, UFC, Bellator. All my friends, all my family all my teammates know where I belong. I just need a platform; a world platform to show how good I really am. I’ve had hiccups in the past and it is what it is. I’m in the biggest flyweight tournament that’s been out there. These guys in this tournament are the top of the food chain. There’s going to be no loser in this. The fans are going to be the biggest winners”.
The winner of the bout between Santella and Torres will take on the winner of Marcel Adur vs. Dustin Ortiz. On the other side of the bracket, combat sambo world champion Velimurad Alkhasov meets Brazilian sensation Flávio de Queiroz. The winner is set to face off against former Bellator world champion Zach Makovsky or IMMAF world champion Abdul Hussein, who face each other in the last matchup of the tournament. The date for the beginning of the tournament is still to be announced.