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Missed Fists: A trio of massive KOs and a big upset at Pancrase 301, more

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Salimkhan Sadulloev (blue gloves) lands a powerful spinning elbow on Akira Okada (red gloves) at Pancrase 301 on Saturday
@Maldobabo, Twitter

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.

There are few constants in life: Death. Taxes. Fast and Furious movies. And, of course, the Pancrase promotion bringing that MMA goodness for over 25 years. The Japanese promotion leads us off this week with their 301st show, which took place in Tokyo.

Ryota Tatsunori vs. Kota Matsui
Kosuke Kindaichi vs. Takashi Matsuoka
Salimkhan Sadulloev vs. Akira Okada

AL: There were several outstanding finishes at Pancrase on Saturday (replay available on UFC Fight Pass), but three in particular stood out for us. First, we award this week’s “Timberrrrrrr” award to Ryota Tatsunori for his inspiring KO of 6-foot-2 featherweight Kota Matsui.

JM: This GIF doesn’t have the best perspective to see the big tree fall hard but Matsui is a huge featherweight and it’s just science that it’s more fun to watch a tall string bean get blasted than just about anything else. That’s a hell of a way to get your first pro win.

AL: Our next entry from Pancrase is a classic example of how accuracy beats power as Kosuke Kindaichi landed a short counter right that shut down every system in Takashi Matsuoka’s body. That kind of step back power is reminiscent of a young Chuck Liddell who… oh, too soon?

JM: Nah. When Chuck hit people, he swung on them — either with the overhand or piston — and you could tell he had power. That’s why Saturday night was so jarring. Chuck had no power, now speed, no . . . anything. This punch reminded me a lot of Nick Diaz knocking out Robbie Lawler with a jab which is still the single most insane thing that’s happened in MMA looking back on it.

AL: If there’s any justice in this world, we’ll see that one run back someday. I’m just saying, we’ve seen some pretty unlikely rematches in MMA. Not naming any names.

Last but certainly not least, Tajikistanian lightweight Salimkhan Sadulloev closed out the MMA portion of Pancrase 301 with a huge upset of Akira Okada. Considering Okada was coming off of back-to-back wins over longtime veterans Ricardo Tirloni and Akihiro Gono, this should have been a showcase bout for him.

Suffice to say, he ended up on the wrong end of the showcase after eating a spinning strike from Sadulloev.

JM: That was one heck of a debut and you have to feel bad for Okada. He gets the biggest wins of his career in back-to-back fights and is staring down a title shot and then get his doors blown off by a relative no-name making his promotional debut. This sport is a cruel and unforgiving mistress.

But as unfortunate as it was for Okada, it’s hard to be all that upset because Sadulloev’s highlight reel KO means we get to play my favorite game: So, we’re throwing spinning shit now?

Magomed Gereev vs. Mark Ross

AL: Sadulloev was not the only pirouetting pugilist this weekend. Magomed Gereev wheel-kicked the face off of Mark Ross at Made4TheCage 28 in Tyne and Wear, England.

So, what say you, Who Spun It Better?

AL: We can’t stress enough how huge Sadulloev’s win was, but Gereev’s finish wasn’t without its own added context. The Dagestani amateur was on a three-fight skid heading into Saturday’s show and he threw that kick like a man who plans to never lose another fight again. I want to give Gereev the edge because of how clean his kick landed, but the way Sadulloev put a sudden stop to Okada was also greatly satisfying.

As usual, we leave it in the hands of the readers.


Whose spinning strike was better?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Salimkhan Sadulloev’s spinning back elbow
    (71 votes)
  • 81%
    Magomed Gereev’s spinning heel kick
    (316 votes)
387 votes total Vote Now

According to the M4TC Facebook page, they will be uploading full fight videos soon, so keep an eye out for that.

Meanwhile, we have a rare double poll situation this week as we also ask, Who Rendered Their Opponents Unto Statues Better? (working title)

Hugo Paiva vs. Kleber de Jesus
Oleksandr Moisa vs. Keo Rumchang

First, from Standout Fighting Tournament 7 (prelims available on the promotion’s YouTube channel) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Saturday, Hugo Paiva absolutely demolished a lunging Kleber de Jesus with a head kick.

I’m a sucker for the instant recognition of wrongdoing followed by prayers for a safe journey through the shadow realm, I can’t lie.

JM: Honestly, Paiva was just doing his opponent a favor. Previously, Kleber de Jesus was just a man, now he actually is of Jesus, as Paiva sent him on to the afterlife.

But despite the wooden form de Jesus’s body now permanently assumes, I think I might be partial to this dandy little KO from from Oleksandr Moisa at Thai Fight Saraburi.

Keo Rumchang’s reaction to getting punched is somewhere between a full lights out and a “This was a bad idea. I’m just gonna lay down forever now.” Perhaps not as viscerally disturbing as Paiva’s KO but more amusing, for me.

AL: I mean, if we’re still making religious comparisons, that is a Jesus Christ pose on the mat if I’ve ever seen one.

So what say you, readers, did de Jesus’s spiritual journey or Rumchang’s close encounter with the Holy Ghost leave a stronger impression?


Who had the better "leave ‘em stiff" KO?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Hugo Paiva’s rocking head kick
    (192 votes)
  • 20%
    Oleksandr Moisa’s straight shot down the middle
    (50 votes)
242 votes total Vote Now

Gou Dakui vs. the world

JM: You want to know who left the strongest impression this weekend? Gou Dakui. This man scored two knockouts in the span of four seconds. That has to be some kind of record.

AL: The ref got all of that kick. All of it.

I’m going to avoid making an obvious “protect yourself at all times” joke and just say that if we ran a poll asking who had the cleanest head kick this week, you can bet that Dakui would win by a mile.

JM: Honestly, let’s give props to the referee. He ate a flush headkick and he’s still, well, not standing, but he’s doing better than most would in that circumstance.

Gleison Tibau vs. Efrain Escudero
Ricky Palacios vs. Walel Watson

AL: One non-UFC, non-Bellator event that received plenty of coverage this weekend was Saturday’s Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 3 card. The “brainchild” of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, this was built more like a boxing lineup relying almost solely on the main event to move tickets and pay-per-view buys.

But we have to give credit to veterans Gleison Tibau and Efrain Escudero who threw down in a 160-pound catchweight bout on the main card. Freed of the restraints of a demanding weight cut and the pressure of fighting for a larger promotion, these two gave it their all and rewarded MMA hardcores who tuned in hoping for more than just the novelty of the trilogy bout headlining the show.

And shout-out to Bellator vet Ricky Palacio as well for his wicked KO of former UFC fighter Walel Watson.

Almost made this all worth it, eh?

JM: So, I have a take.

AL: Shocker.

JM: I’m not sure it’s hot, but it’s definitely not a cold take: Golden Boy MMA is a fine idea. Now, to be sure, that main event this weekend was a travesty and every person who trained Chuck for that and still allowed him to go out there, knowing full well what he would look like, they should all be beaten with bars of soap. But the core premise is something I think has a place in MMA, and frankly, a good one.

Legends are going to fight well past their sell-by date. That’s just the reality. But instead of having them do so on semi-legitimate promotions, structured under, presumably, meritorious considitions, why not just have them fight one-offs like this? Bellator having Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock fight in their 50s is absurd, but making a small PPV event with that and then allowing some journeymen to elevate themselves back to a bigger platform — a la Tibau and Escudero — I think that’s viable.

AL: Folks can decide for themselves what worked and what didn’t on Saturday by checking out a replay of Liddell-Ortiz 3 on FITE TV for the low, low price of $39.99. And in case you missed it, we’ve got you covered with results, analysis, photos, and more.

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.

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