Kicking off a UFC-less MMA Saturday will be the first 2017 offering from Titan FC. Shown on UFC Fight Pass, Titan FC 43 features two title bouts at the top of a card filled with prospects. The most notable is in the main event as Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres looks to defend the flyweight title that he captured in just his third pro fight against UFC veteran Pedro Nobre. Torres is no ordinary fighter three bouts into his career however. Perhaps the most decorated amateur MMA competitor we’ve seen, Torres captured the IMMAF world championships as a bantamweight in both 2014 and 2015. He finished his amateur career with a record of 13-0, before rising through Titan’s ranks to become champion in less than a year. Torres is already remarkably polished in most areas, and the 24-year-old could get a call to the UFC with a successful defense here. It won’t be easy for Torres though. Nobre is 18-2-2 in his MMA career, with his losses coming to UFC title challenger Tim Elliott, and bantamweight striking ace Sheymon Moraes. He has won six of his past seven, including a victory over another rising prospect, Matheus Nicolau. The other title on the line at Titan 43 is the heavyweight belt. After a 1-1 stint in Bellator, Volkan Oezdemir decided to move up from light heavyweight to heavyweight, and has seen early success. The 27-year-old Swiss fighter is still young enough to develop into something in this division, and he’ll have a chance to prove it (hopefully) against another converted 205er. Mo De’Reese is probably best known for getting stopped by Khalil Rountree on TUF, but that is his only defeat as a pro or amateur, as he’s 13-0 otherwise. The other two bouts at the top of the card include: Undefeated Brazilian prospect Caio Uruguai taking on 7-1 Michael Quinones, and 21-year-old grappling whiz Preston Parsons facing veteran Valdir Araujo. Parsons is 5-1 in MMA, with all five wins coming by submission, and his lone loss at the hands of the UFC’s Mike Perry. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting odds for these four Titan FC 43 bouts today at Several Bookmakers. ——————– Titan FC 43: Torres vs. Nobre JANUARY 21, 2017 Watsco Center | Coral Gables, Florida Flyweight Title: Pedro Nobre +125 Jose Torres -165 Michel Quinones +160 Caio Uruguai -210 Preston Parsons +150 Valdir Araujo -190 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: The biggest knock on Pedro Nobre (aside from the whole faking-getting-hit-in-the-back-of-the-head-to-avoid-a-beating thing) tends to be that his cardio can’t hold up. I actually contemplated the idea of betting Nick Honstein against him because of that, but Honstein took the fight on incredibly short notice, so I passed. It ended up being a split decision still, and further engrained that idea in my mind. Now that Nobre is in five-round fights, that means he’ll likely need a quick finish to one, and I simply can’t see him getting one against Torres. It will be competitive early, and Nobre might actually have a slight edge, but rounds 3, 4, and 5 will go to Torres, and he might even turn the tables by the second. Or, the youngster might have made so many improvements since we last saw him, that he just comes out and blows Nobre’s doors off. Caio Uruguai’s striking looked impressive in the win over Peter Petties, but I think we might see his well-roundedness in this bout. Michael Quinones has been put on his back in the past, and Uruguai has the superior ground game. Of course, it could have been said that he should’ve had to go that route to beat Petties, but the kid clearly has tons of talent and chose the more difficult path. I won’t bet him because I’m not sure when that lack of strategy will come back to haunt him. I don’t think it’s here, but I’m not taking the risk. It’s nice to see Valdir Araujo fighting a grappler. He’s been knocked out far too many times for comfort, but that shouldn’t be an issue here (and if it is, Araujo just needs to stop). I actually think Araujo might be a difficult style test a bit too soon for Parsons. Araujo should be much bigger, and that could allow him to control the wrestling exchanges to score top position, or keep the fight on the feet if Parsons’ striking isn’t a threat. Until Parsons has a bit more time to develop, it would be nice to see him facing strikers he can take advantage of, but I don’t see Araujo as that guy.