|Andy Main cinching up the triangle on Brian Kelleher|
Timing is that often elusive, often essential component to success - and on Saturday night, it was wrong for some and right for others.
It is no coincidence that the headlining bout for CFFC 34 featured Santella, a.k.a. "Shorty Rock". The venue, the Mennen Sports Arena, is a town or two away from his home, and given that close proximity, how could the place not be packed with his fans? Plus, the talk around the campfire was that Santella had already been fielding offers to appear inside the Octagon, and only injuries and health - i.e., timing - had kept him in the regional mix. Therefore, to behold Shorty Rock in action now, to see firsthand his dangerous submission game and superstar scrambles, was to gaze upon the future. When he made his way to the cage amidst the cheers and applause, the expectation wasn't so much how he was going to defeat opponent Nick Honstein as it was which particular UFC event Santella would next appear in.
Challenger Honstein - who'd been flown in from Colorado to play the role of fish to Santella's shark - had other ideas, and for nearly five full rounds he dominated the local hero, employing a stifling top game while the crowd stared in muted silence.
|Honstein controlling Santella|
In the end, the challenger rightfully dethroned the champ via decision. Now the question mark hanging over Shorty Rock's head isn't so much about when he'll be in the UFC as it is when he can get back on track.
To look back upon the almost seven-year career of Main is to witness a fighter in the throes of evolution. Back in the day, Main's two modes of attack were to either throw heavy leather or find a triangle or armbar from his back, and his losses came at the hands of those who could neutralize those. But nowadays there's more to him, a whole arsenal of transitions and set-ups, and woe be to those who think they can slam their way out of trouble.
Such was the case with Brian Kelleher, a hard-nosed Bellator vet who's dodged more than his fair share of submissions in his years in the cage. In the span of a minute and a half, Kelleher was hoisting Main up, throwing him down, and fending off a triangle choke that only got tighter and tighter.
The sword of timing cut in Main's favor - cut in the way only perfectly applied technique can within the cage - and the partisan crowd cheered for their hero.
|Key taking Desir into deep waters|
|Desir celebrates his TKO win|
If CFFC 34 was damaging to Santella's standing as the region's top flyweight, it was great for Ledesma's place in the food chain.
|Ledesma raining down hell from above|
|Rumsey pressing Stewart against the cage|
- Nick Honstein def. Sean Santella via Unanimous Decision
- Andy Main def. Brian Kelleher via Submission (Triangle Choke) at 1:26, R1
- Emmanuel Walo def. Cheljean Erwin-Davis via Unanimous Decision
- Lewis Rumsey def. Mike Stewart via TKO (Punches) at 2:59, R2
- Claudio Ledesma def. Marcio Bittencourt via Submission (Guillotine) at 1:10, R3
- Mike Wade def. Shedrick Goodridge via Submission (Guillotine) at 2:04, R1
- Plinio Cruz def. J.A. Dudley via Submission (Armbar) at 4:12, R1
- Brad Desir def. Josh Key via TKO (Punches) at :16, R3