IMMAF Champions Shine at Titan FC 43

Pictured above: Will Starks (Blue) went the distance with Canadian Alexander Martinez (Red) in the IMMAF World Championships welterweight final in Las Vegas, 2016.

Report by Dane McGuire, USA Correspondent 

Former champions of the IMMAF World Amateur Championships stormed the campus of the University of Miami like the school’s famous Hurricane athletics program for Titan Fighting Championship 43 on 21 January. Representing the IMMAF were alumni were Carlos Hernandez (the inaugural Flyweight world champion) and two-time world champions Will Starks and José Torres at Bantamweight and Welterweight respectively.

Per Starks, the trio entered the Watsco Center with a combined seven national titles and five IMMAF world titles. The Starks and Torres duo won back-to- back gold medals in both the UMMAF Nationals and IMMAF World Championships in 2015-16. They amassed a total of 63 amateur fights.

Hernandez fell to now 2-0 Gustavo Eddy Balart, a 2011 gold medalist of the Pan-Am Games in Greco-Roman wrestling, by way of a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28.)

The men then rebounded through Starks as “The Soldier of Christ” ended his professional debut inside of five minutes. The bout was highlighted by smothering grappling before a beautiful suplex slam. He got his hand raised against José Cortes with near-finishing ground and pound striking from side control and a varied standing flurry with punctuating elbows to force the stoppage with just seconds remaining in the round. Starks went 22-1 as an amateur opposite Torres’ 25-1.

Jose and Bob with belt

Two-time IMMAF world bantamweight champion and reigning Titan FC interim flyweight champion Jose Torres (left) alongside coach Bob Schirmer (right)

Will Starks def. José Cortes via TKO (punches) at 4:55 of Round 1

“Shorty” Torres’ first Titan FC interim Flyweight title defense was no easy task—his adversary for the evening was 18-2- 2 (1 No Contest) UFC veteran Pedro Nobre of Brazil. Nobre has 14 stoppages, 10 by KO/TKO on his combat sports résumé. Torres was 3-0 as a pro before the contest.

Ahead of the main event, Torres said that he expected to pressure the often backward-moving Nobre through the third round in route to a TKO. He predicted that, eventually, the world leader in MMA in the UFC would come calling. Torres then surpassed even his own prediction, matching Starks with a first-round TKO of his own while taking up just 86 seconds of fight time.

The Chicagoan withstood an early barrage from Nobre in the opening minute to then take control with an elbow to the jaw. A right hand floors Nobre and that aforementioned pressure is turned on with clinch knees and an uppercut. The official ends the bout seconds later.

“For me the UMMAF and IMMAF coaches have taught me to stay calm and have fun. Basically to enjoy the challenge and adapt to whatever is in front of you. With a very tough tournament that has many different style opponents, you don’t know what to expect. So to train for practically every type of situation and fighter was amazing and humbling because there is so much to learn and adapt to,” Torres said when asked how his background has helped at a new level in the sport for him.

“I have shown the MMA world from coaches, veterans and new comers that the longer you stay amateur, the more you will be respected and better compete as a pro. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the UMMAF and IMMAF and because of that, I thank them to the fullest and am happy to be an ambassador for this great sport!”

(C) José Torres def. Pedro Nobre via TKO (punches) at 1:26 of Round 1 to defend the interim Flyweight championship.

Titan FC and the IMMAF are available on the UFC Fight Pass video streaming service.

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