Welcome to the latest edition of Missed Fists where Jed Meshew and Alexander K. Lee shine a light on fights from across the globe that may have been overlooked in these hectic times where it seems like there’s an MMA show every other day.
This weekend, there were three non-Bellator, non-UFC promotions that we kept tabs on: Legacy Fighting Alliance, Absolut Championship Berkut, and Invicta FC. Let’s first head overseas for what may have been the weekend’s most exciting fight, which took place at ACB 78 on Saturday.
Magomed Sulumov vs. Bruno Roverso
JM: There’s a decent argument that this was the most fun fight of the weekend, considering the first round of Stephens-Choi was nowhere near the barnburner the second round of that fight was. Meanwhile, all 7:30 of this fight was action-packed. Neither of these guys are world beaters but both possess the entertaining combination of offensive prowess and a lack of defense.
AL: It’s clear from the opening bell that neither guy has any interest in giving up the center of the cage.
JM: Or in blocking/avoiding punches.
AL: Roverso (phenomenal name, by the way) apparently hails from the Chute Box camp, a team that long ago hosted the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and Anderson Silva. It looked like he was determined to mimic the aggressive style of those Brazilian legends, which may have been a mistake given that he kept running into Sulumov’s dynamite right.
JM: Definitely a mistake. He was actually dinging Sulumov up a little bit in the first but the second was mostly one-way traffic. The sequence right before Roverso went down was the best non-UFC sequence of action from the weekend. There was a firefight!
AL: This one only needed a couple of rounds to be resolved, and readers can check out a replay of the whole 21-fight, eight-hour show (!) for free at FITE TV. The Sulumov-Roverso fight begins around the 5:38:00 mark.
Moving on, we’ve got a preliminary bout from last Friday’s LFA 30 show, which may have been overshadowed by memorable finishes from Curtis Millender and Christian Aguilera. But make no mistake, these young guns brought it.
Vincent Cachero vs. Nohelin Hernandez
JM: This is the type of fight this column was built for. Cachero-Hernandez was a fun fight that flew under the radar because of the more spectacular finishes on the weekend’s best fight card. It’s not even included on AXS TV’s fight highlights!
AL: It may also have been hurt by the fact they were both wearing red shorts that made them difficult to distinguish in the middle of combat, creating a “Spider-Man vs. Spider-Man” situation. Fortunately, they more than made up for their lack of distinguishing characteristics with all kinds of spinning stuff and flying strikes:
Flying knee at the bell by Nohelin Hernandez #LFA30 pic.twitter.com/3a8WeZ1iVR— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) January 13, 2018
JM: The best part about that knee was that Hernandez landed it despite being firmly beat up for most of the round. It didn’t end up mattering, but that strike could well have saved Hernandez from a 10-8 round and if he had a few more seconds it could have decided the fight.
AL: This is the kind of fight I love seeing on these “minor-league” cards. Two guys just going at it, throwing out whatever technique comes to mind, with no regard to rankings or title shots or any of that nonsense.
.@suave_135 & @VinceTheAnomaly ending this beautiful fight in style #LFA30 @LFAfighting pic.twitter.com/tnDD6XEPsH— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) January 13, 2018
This was Hernandez’s LFA debut and Cachero’s second fight for the promotion, so I hope we see more of these two. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a replay available at the moment, but the AXS TV and LFA YouTube channels typically upload exciting fights for free later on so keep an eye out for this one.
Loma Lookboonmee vs. Melissa Wang
JM: Speaking of debuts, Loma Lookboonmee made her pro MMA debut at Invicta 27 on Saturday night and though her name is tricky, it looks to be one we should remember going forward. She’s only 21 years old but apparently has hundreds of Muay Thai fights under her belt already and she battered Melissa Wang with knees and elbows for the majority of their fight.
AL: Lookboonmee (another great name!) looks like she could be an absolute killer with more experience. Despite being the standup specialist in this striker vs. grappler matchup, it was Lookboonmee who almost got a submission in Round 1. However, she clearly didn’t have the grappling acumen to seal the deal.
She also has a nasty habit of throwing borderline illegal knees and it was fortunate that Wang is a tough cookie who could take them, otherwise this easily could have ended in a disqualification.
Looma Lookboonmee vs Melissa Wang #InvictaFC27 Illegal Knee pic.twitter.com/1uEh94Gi8J— Zombie Prophet (@ZPGIFs) January 14, 2018
JM: In the immortal words of Tito Ortiz (and dozens of others), “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” Lookboonmee’s willingness to throw borderline illegal strikes with bad intentions is actually one of the aspects of her game that intrigues me most about her going forward. Being mean as a rattlesnake is a pretty solid indicator of high level success in MMA. This is, after all, the hurt business.
AL: There’s no arguing with results. Even with a third-round point deduction for another illegal knee, Lookboonmee handily won a unanimous decision and looks like one to watch in the atomweight division.
Two other fights from the Invicta card are particularly worthy of mention: A featherweight bout between the undefeated Felicia Spencer and debuting prospect Akeela Al-Hameed, and a strawweight bout between Sharon Jacobson and Ashley Nichols.
Spencer won a unanimous decision to improve to 4-0 against the impressive Al-Hameed, and she broke out an unorthodox guillotine choke counter that has to be seen to be believed:
"I have never seen that!" -@TjDeSantis— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) January 14, 2018
(That means it's probably never happened) pic.twitter.com/hJAo6HD0WE
JM: I love stuff like that. I’ve been watching MMA for more than 15 years and one of my favorite parts about it is that we still end up seeing wacky new techniques, even now. That’s definitely not going to become a staple of every fighter’s game going forward but it was a nifty bit of creativity and I’m here for it.
AL: The last fight I want to highlight is Jacobson’s gritty win over Nichols. “The Dream Catcher” used her wrestling to control a game Nichols and improve to 3-1 as an Invicta fighter. She also gracefully sacrificed top control to deal with a wardrobe malfunction, much to the amusement of former Invicta champion Angela Hill:
If you’re having trouble getting to your feet against a wrestler just yank her tit out #VeteranWMMATip #InvictaFC27— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) January 14, 2018
All three of these fights are available to watch on UFC Fight Pass.
If you know of a recent fight or event that you think may have been overlooked, please let us know on Twitter @JedKMeshew and @AlexanderKLee.