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, we’ve got the usual highlights from around the world and a couple of exciting firsts, starting with the Professional Fighters League kicking off their inaugural season last Thursday.
AL: Before we get into things, I wanted to get Jed’s thoughts on the overall concept of the rebranded PFL (formerly the World Series of Fighting), which is using a points system to determine which fighters on its roster will contend for a $1 million prize at the end of the year.
JM: My thoughts on the new look PFL can be summed up in a Tweet of mine from a while back:
Ray Sefo in 9 months: "I don't understand how the PFL went under."— Dr. Jed Meshew II (@JedKMeshew) April 16, 2018
*hands Jared Rosholt a check for 1 million dollars* https://t.co/GT5D5M88nt
AL: Who among us, has not enjoyed a good Rosholting?
While the eventual winners may leave something to be desired, the 2018 season premiere was a good showing for the league, filled with several exciting finishes. The entire event, which aired from the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York, is available for replay via the official Facebook page, so our readers can decide for themselves just how effective a launch this was.
For now, I want to focus on a preliminary bout between 47-fight veteran Steven Siler and top Dagestani prospect Magomed Idrisov. A former Ultimate Fighter contestant, Siler was an enormous underdog heading into this one and it looked like the oddsmakers had it right as he was blasted early and nearly finished. It would have been completely justified for referee Keith Peterson to wave this one off after Idrisov scored a knockdown.
JM: Good thing he didn’t though because instead we were treated to one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. That whole finishing sequence was a little odd and makes me wonder why Idrisov was such a big favorite in the first place. Not trying to bag on Siler but it’s not like that was the cleanest bit of ground work to lock in the triangle.
AL: Difficult to tell how things went downhill so quickly for Idrisov, but regardless, Siler picked up his first win since August 2016 and a whopping six points for getting a finish (three points) and doing so in the first round (three points). I’m a fan of points, if you couldn’t tell.
JM: I’m a fan of just paying all the fighters more money and bonuses for every finish — ya know, the most simple and obvious way to incentivize action fights.
AL: But points, though.
Mark O. Madsen vs. Dez Parker
Mark O. Madsen vinder på KO i første omgang mod engelske Dez "The Arm Collector" Parker. Se med på TV3+ nu!Posted by Danish MMA Night on Saturday, June 9, 2018
AL: Up next, I want to shine some light on our friends over in Denmark. Danish MMA Night 1 took place on Saturday in Brondby, and one of the best performances on the card came from Mark O. Madsen, a Greco-Roman wrestler who has twice represented Denmark in the Olympics, winning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio games.
I assume the “O” in his name is included in some databases so that he is not confused with the Lakers and Timberwolves legend of the same name.
JM: “Mad Dog” is a hero. Check that footwork out. Six months of sprawl training and he’d be a beast of a heavyweight.
Anyway, this was a good find. An Olympic wrestling pedigree portends good things in MMA, especially on the Greco-Roman side of things. Plus, like Dan Henderson before him, Madsen can thump.
Olympian Medalist Mark O. Madsen Ko’d Dez Parker at Danish MMA Night 1! pic.twitter.com/wkRc8t55QZ— Ryan O'Leary (@mmaViking) June 9, 2018
AL: No question. That’s a clip of the finish, but it was preceded by some strong grappling from Madsen, as expected, including a sweet suplex. He’s already 33, but Madsen is now 4-0 as a pro with all of his wins coming by way of first-round finish, so look for him to get some attention from the larger promotions soon if he stays on this path.
All the bouts from Danish MMA Night can be viewed on their Facebook page.
Sebastian Przybysz vs. Dawid Gralka
Lukasz Rajewski vs. Leo Zulic
Erko Jun vs. Tomasz Oswiecinski
JM: And now the part I’ve been patiently waiting for. Last week we discussed how Charles Bennett is the unofficial Mascot of Missed Fists but if there’s an unofficial promotion, KSW is holding that top spot down.
AL: Like the PFL show, Saturday’s KSW 44 card (titled The Game) from Gdansk, Poland, delivered with a bunch of first-round finishes and here are three of the best (with apologies to Karol Bedorf, who put away beloved strongman competitor Mariusz Pudzianowski with a kimura in the main event).
JM: Dawid Gralka just hurled himself onto that baby jab and ate dirt because of it. That follow up shot from Przybysz was money though. Who’s next?
AL: Here’s a fast tap out by Leo Zulic, and I don’t blame him for it because it looked like Lukasz Rajewski was about to really lean back here and ruin his day.
JM: I gotta say, I love these clips because they are all followed by that KSW promo which is super exciting and gets me pumped to watch the next KSW featuring fighters I mostly don’t know about. Who’s the third performance?
AL: Remember CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson? Pro wrestler vs. fighter/journalist? Well, how do you feel about bodybuilder vs. actor?
It is Bodybuilder vs. Actor! Star vs. Star! Fighter vs. Fighter! The debut of Erko Jun vs. Tomasz Oswiecinski!!— KSW (@KSW_MMA) June 9, 2018
Erko Jun vs. Tomasz Oswiecinski pic.twitter.com/R6RUMWaVju
Erko Jun and Tomasz Oswiecinski entered this fight 0-0 and 0-1 respectively, but were given a plum spot on the main card due to their work in other areas.
Here’s Jun getting shut down on Belgium’s Got Talent:
As for Oswiecinski, I’m sure our readers will recognize him as paramedic Darek Winiarek from the Polish medical drama Botoks:
And this is what happened when they actually fought:
JM: I’m actually sitting on a hot take that CM Punk fighting again is great for the UFC but this isn’t the place for it.
AL: Such a tease.
JM: This is the place to note though that bodybuilding is a legitimate martial arts background to serve as a basis for crossing over into MMA. The most widely practiced form of self defense is being strong as s**t and it’s not entirely without reason. Have you ever tried to armbar a dude who is Hulk strong? You can do it but it damn sure isn’t easy.
On the other hand, I have no idea how good a base “Polish soap opera acting” is but judging off this, it’s not great.
AL: KSW 44 is available for pay-per-view replay at FITE TV and if you’d like to catch the next episode of Botoks, uh, check your local listings.
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.