American flyweight contender Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella has cried foul over his first-round stoppage loss to Russian powerhouse Ali “The King Puncher” Bagautinov in BRAVE Combat Federation’s return trip to Russia last weekend.
Both men squared off against each other in the BRAVE CF Flyweight World Title Tournament semifinal clash, which served as the main event of BRAVE CF 55 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia last Saturday, November 6.
It took a little more than one minute for Bagautinov to secure the second spot in the tourney, scoring a technical knockout in the opening salvo of his duel against Santella—who stepped in for Jose “Shorty” Torres on less than 48 hours’ notice.
Bagautinov got the job done on the mat, unloading a plethora of ground-and-pound strikes to force the referee to intervene and call a halt to the contest at the 1:01 mark of the first round due to Santella’s inability to defend the shots.
While Bagautinov had a reason to celebrate his victory, Santella seemed to be despondent with the officiating of the bout as he lamented that the Russian’s first elbow strike landed illegally behind his head.
“Hats off to Ali but the first two hits were to the back of the head, I have lumps in the back of my head,” he stated. “Unfortunately, the ref didn’t see it as illegal and I got TKO’d. The first shot rocked me badly. It is what it is. It’s the fight business.”
Santella added, “I’ll be back, but now I have more people on my hitlist for the flyweight division. I’ll take on anybody in that division, I have some unfinished business.”
It remains to be seen if BRAVE CF will conduct a formal review of the said encounter, similar to what the promotion did this past August when the championship clash between Mohammad “The Latest” Fakhreddine and Mohamed “L’Ambiance” Said Maalem for the vacant Light Heavyweight World Championship ended in controversy due to repeated blows to the back of the head.