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 week, in lieu of any truly outstanding bouts that went the distance outside of Bellator and the UFC, we focus on a pair of outings from Legacy Fighting Alliance and Absolute Championship Berkut that packed a lot of action into a short time frame.
Also, Bob Sapp.
Ryan Spann vs. Alex Nicholson
AL: If Spann and Nicholson’s names look familiar, it’s because they’ve both had brushes with the UFC. Nicholson went 1-3 inside the Octagon before rebounding with three straight wins on the regional circuit to close out 2017. Spann made a brief appearance on a recent episode of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, getting knocked out in just 15 seconds by Karl Roberson.
This past Friday, at LFA 32 in Lake Charles, La., the two competed for the promotion’s inaugural light heavyweight title.
JM: Nicholson is probably best known for being one of the main training partners for Mike Perry and for saying some regrettable things in “Platinum’s” corner during Perry’s debut. And while you may not like some of the things he’s said/done, there’s no denying the man can put on an entertaining fight. For my money, Spann-Nicholson was the fight of the weekend, if only for the swings involved.
AL: All of Nicholson’s last three wins have come by first-round knockout, so it’s no surprise that he was looking to slug it out in this one. It’s Spann, a noted fight-finisher himself, who decided to try and slow Nicholson down with some grappling. However, it wasn’t long before Nicholson broke free and Spann found himself in a bloody battle for survival.
JM: That’s putting it kindly. Nicholson rocked Spann along the fence and then had him in the spin zone with shots from the sprawl position. Really, it’s stunning Nicholson didn’t close the show when Spann rolled to his back and was clearly fighting on instinct. But props to Spann for toughing it out and letting Nicholson completely gas himself. And props for that right hand that made Nicholson fall forward and then snapback like he was spring-loaded. Gutsy win and a highlight reel finish.
AL: The whole scrap is worth watching, but until a full replay pops up on either the LFA or AXS TV YouTube channels, you can check out the finish below:
Your #AndNew @LFAFighting Light Heavyweight champion, @Superman_Spann! #LFA32 pic.twitter.com/HRJh9q95Pa— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) January 27, 2018
Magomed Ginazov vs. Bruno Viana
AL: This flyweight matchup from ACB 79 in Grozny, Chechnya, between Ginazov and Viana lasted a little longer than a round and was essentially a showcase for the striking of the 23-year-old Ginazov. His 13-3 record is not overly impressive, but it’s clear that he’s a high-level prospect who simply needs to find consistency. He was at his best on Saturday, styling on Viana from start to finish.
JM: Man, I love ACB. The cards are free, populated with some great prospects, and usually have some fun fights on them. Now, if we’re being honest, this fight wasn’t actually all that great to watch but the end is glorious. The finishing sequence Ginazov lands is absolutely outrageous, including a pair of wheel kicks and my favorite leg kick I’ve seen in quite some time. If you’re pressed for time, go ahead and skip the first round and just watch the 50 seconds of round two to see some top-shelf violence:
Magomed Ginazov TKO's Bruno Viana. Just a whirlwind of violence #ACB79 pic.twitter.com/by68bZgI2a— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) January 27, 2018
AL: That’s the finish above, but if you want to watch the whole fight and the rest of ACB 79, the replay is streaming free on FITE TV.
Bob Sapp vs. Selcuk Ustabasi
AL: Last and definitely least, we step just outside of the MMA sphere to look at a kickboxing match featuring everyone’s favorite special attraction: Bob “The Beast” Sapp. So far on “Missed Fists” we’ve focused on fights that are actually good, but this entry is buried somewhere at the crossroads of absurd and sad. Which is nothing new for anyone who has followed Sapp’s combat sports career for the past decade.
JM: AK, you’re starting to make a habit out of depressing me with some of these fights. I was blissfully unaware of Bob Sapp fighting again and then you had to show me this. When was the last time you looked at Sapp’s record on Tapology?
AL: You mean Sapp-ology?
JM: I’m not even gonna dignify that with a response.
Sapp is 2-18 over the last decade! 2 and 18! And after watching this latest entry into the “Cash those checks” highlight reel, it really begs the question: How does it feel to actually lose to Sapp?
AL: You’d have to ask Akebono, who lost a shoot boxing match to Sapp at the second Rizin event back in December 2015, though considering Akebono also comes from the “Where do I sign?” school of combat sports participation, even that result seems dubious.
For anyone new to the legend of the hulking Sapp and unclear on why we’re taking shots at his reputation, let’s just say that he’s not exactly known for putting in 100-percent effort in his fights or for showing heart in do-or-die situations. Case in point: A Mix Fight Championship kickboxing match that took place in Izmir, Turkey, on Saturday, that saw Sapp felled by a less-than-scintillating Ustabasi combination.
Bob Sapp pic.twitter.com/HtX4juYfqF— Zombie Prophet (@ZPGIFs) January 27, 2018
JM: In his third pro fight, Bob Sapp almost beat Big Nog. That is a true thing that happened and would be almost impossible to explain to anyone today. Oh what could have been.
AL: You can watch Sapp’s latest misadventure in its entirety at this link, while his unholy war with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira from the very first PRIDE Shockwave event back in 2002 is available on UFC Fight Pass.
If you know of a recent fight or event that you think may have been overlooked or a promotion that could use some attention, please let us know on Twitter @JedKMeshew and @AlexanderKLee using the hashtag #MissedFists.