Benoit St. Denis Taps Out Luan Santiago in Brave CF 49 Headliner

By Tudor Leonte Mar 25, 2021

Brave Combat Federation's Benoit St. Denis may be someone to watch out for going forward.

The Brave CF 49 main event saw former 155-pound titleholder Luan Santiago (15-5) taking on St. Denis (7-0, 1 NC) at the company’s super lightweight category of 165 pounds. Santiago adopted a cautious game plan as he preferred to force his opponent to catch him as he moved close to the fence. St. Denis dragged the action down to the ground with an effective single leg takedown, and he easily controlled his opponent while on top. After a few scrambles, the Frenchman took his opponent’s back and sought after a rear-naked choke, only to run out of time.

In the second frame, St. Denis took his opponent down again as soon as the round began. While Santiago managed to get back on the feet once, the Brazilian could not stop the “God of War” from wrenching him to the mat again. In the following grappling exchanges, St. Denis smoothly took top position and secured an arm-triangle choke. As St. Denis applied the squeeze, “Miau” had no choice but to surrender, marking the end of the contest at 3:51 in Round 2. With his victory, the “God of War” earned a shot at Eldar Eldarov’s super lightweight throne.

The co-main event featured a 134-pound catchweight contest between Ultimate Fighting Championship alum Jose Torres (10-1-1) and Bellator MMA vet Blaine O'Driscoll (9-4) for a spot in the semifinals of the 125-pound grand prix. O’Driscoll accepted the fight on short notice after Sean Santella suffered an injury during training, but he was ready for the test in the early going. “Shorty” appeared surprised at the SBG Ireland representative’s aggression, as he absorbed a plethora of strikes as the round progressed.

O’Driscoll’s energy faded as the battle carried on, but the Irishman did not shy away from trading with his opponent. Torres started gaining momentum from the second frame onwards, courtesy of superior conditioning that allowed him to control the fight by mixing in strikes with takedowns. In the third frame, Torres’ strikes started showing some impact, as damage mounted on O’Driscoll’s face. “Shorty” tried but ultimately failed to finish the contest with a bulldog choke as the horn blew, but he was up on the scorecards at the final bell. The three judges scored the fight 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 in favor of Torres, who moved on to the semifinals.

Before the marquee attractions, Ikram Aliskerov (11-1) submitted fellow middleweight Miro Jurkovic (11-4) with a kimura at the 1:11 mark in the second stanza.

Earlier on the card, highly touted 125-pound prospect Muhammad Mokaev (5-0) kept his record unblemished after a hard-fought decision against Abdul Hussein (7-2), earning 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 nods from the judges; Gamzat Magomedov (6-1) outpointed Matiss Zaharovs (4-1) to take home a unanimous decision victory at the end of their 135-pound battle.

In a razor-close bantamweight affair, Francesco Nuzzi (9-1) edged Bernardo Sopaj (8-2) via split decision; 185-pound contender Chad Hanekom (7-2) battered the leg of Dominic Schober (11-10) with kicks before finishing him with a few follow-up punches just 18 seconds into Round 2; in a welterweight affair, Gadzhimusa Gaziev (10-5) scored a late comeback by dispatching Geraldo Coelho de Lima Neto (12-6) with punches as just 35 seconds remained in the third and final round.

Frenchman Axel Sola (1-0) made his successful MMA debut by tapping out Kuitty Begaj (1-1) with arm-triangle choke with one second left in Round 1 in Brave’s super welterweight division; in a bantamweight encounter, Frieh Harahsheh (1-0) submitted Glenn McVeigh (0-2) with ease using a quick guillotine choke that forced McVeigh to tap at the 1:10 of the opening stanza; to begin the fight card, Ali Marhoon snatched a triangle choke on Hamad Mubarak Saad in an amateur welterweight contest at 2:02 into the first round.
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