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Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres documents wild journey to compete at BRAVE CF 49 after losing opponent Sean Santella

Jose “Shorty Torres” isn’t one to complain but even he had to shake his head at the wild set of circumstances that finally led to his fight at BRAVE CF 49 on Thursday.

Originally scheduled to face Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella in a rematch after their first fight ended in a draw, Torres was looking forward to not only getting back in action but settling things so he could hopefully move forward in the ongoing BRAVE flyweight tournament.

The problems started with the timing of that fight after Torres was informed that Santella wanted to compete on March 25 rather than waiting until the next scheduled card on April 1. That already threw his plans into upheaval because Torres had hoped to have his head coach Din Thomas travel with him to the fight after he missed out on the original matchup due to a similar scheduling conflict.

“We were going to fight in December and then COVID restrictions didn’t allow us to travel,” Torres explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “January was the same thing. Then BRAVE didn’t have another event planned until March but they told us both April so I said, OK cool, we’re going to fight April 1. I was setting everything around that. I have three teammates — Gillian Robertson, David Evans and Tyron Woodley all fighting on March 26 and 27 so I was like I’ll be around for that. This is perfect and then I’ll fight April 1 and I’ll have Din [Thomas] as my corner.

“Because my last fight against Sean Santella, I didn’t have Din there. I didn’t have him in the corner. It was just bad timing. I had my nutritionist in my corner so every time the fight hit the ground you just heard ‘don’t give up!’ This one was perfect but then I heard Sean couldn’t fight April 1 so could you fight March 25?”

It wasn’t the best possible timing but with his last fight in September 2020, Torres didn’t want to wait any longer to get back in action so he agreed to the new date.

“I don’t want to [fight on that date] because I’m not going to have my coach and I’ve already scheduled my weight cut but BRAVE was saying we want to have you fight as soon as possible,” Torres said. “One because of Ramadan, so we’re not going to have any events until possibly the end of May and it’s not going to be Bahrain again. It’s going to be in some other country and we can’t guarantee the COVID restrictions are going to be let up by then. It’s either you take this fight now or possibly you don’t fight until August and that’s out of our control.

“Obviously, they want to speed up the tournament because the other side of the bracket, they’re already in the semifinals. I talked to Din and my coaches back home and everyone agreed, why don’t you fly to Bahrain now and you can train there and BRAVE will take care of you so I figured I’d just spend the whole month out here.”

Torres flew to Bahrain where he spent the last few weeks of his training camp while also preparing for his weight cut, but then just a few days ago, the bottom fell out from under him.

“I found out Sean broke his hand,” Torres revealed. “I contacted him and he said ‘yeah, I broke my hand and I had some other injuries, I just wasn’t going to go in there 100 percent’ and I’m like damn, this sucks cause I would have just waited until April 1 so I could have Din in my corner.”

Sadly with Santella injured, Torres was once again stuck without an opponent but BRAVE offered him the opportunity to just take a bye and move onto the next round of the flyweight tournament without actually fighting.

That didn’t appeal to him too much because he had already put in a full training camp, which included spending a month in Bahrain, so Torres told the promotion to find him someone new to fight.

“It was really hard to find a last-minute opponent,” Torres said. “Anything, I’ll bump up, I’ll fight at a catchweight, I just want to fight. So BRAVE ended up contacting [Blaine] O’Driscoll and O’Driscoll was like either you take the fight on March 25 at 135 or you can wait until April 1 for 125. I was like let’s go ahead and do it. I already had things planned for just living life, sponsors, business opportunities.

“It sucks having a last-minute opponent change but this is something I’m used to, especially fighting in the amateurs in the IMMAF you fight five times in six days. You don’t find out your next opponent until the day of. This is a completely different mix up with O’Driscoll cause he’s a stand up fighter. He’s Irish. I know he’s tough. He’s had three fights in Bellator and he’s a game opponent. It’s seven or eight days’ notice and he took the fight against me. He’s doing this for the great opportunity and I’m just excited to meet him in general.”

Nothing that has unfolded over the past few days has been optimal for Torres but he just wanted to fight more than anything else and now he’ll get that opportunity against a Bellator veteran in O’Driscoll, who also trains under head coach John Kavanagh at SBG in Ireland.

The one silver lining beyond getting to compete again is that Torres won’t lose his spot in the tournament even if this fight is taking place at a higher weight.

“For me, it’s exactly the same,” Torres revealed. “O’Driscoll just takes the place of Sean Santella and because it’s last minute, because this guy’s jumping in last minute, we’ll allow it to be at a catchweight.

“Both of us have competed at flyweight multiple times before. So they said win this fight and you wait for your next opponent. That’s awesome news.”

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