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’re keeping an eye on the United States before taking virtual trips to Japan and Brazil. But first, we check in a UFC veteran who put on the most exciting performance of his career.
Chris Wade v. Yuki Kawana
AL: Chris Wade had a solid, if unspectacular run with the UFC where he developed a reputation as a grinding wrestler and then later made waves speaking out against the company’s treatment of its athletes. He actually left the promotion coming off of a win, which made it somewhat surprising when he dropped a unanimous decision in his Professional Fighters League debut to the talented, but relatively unknown Natan Schulte.
Under the PFL points system, Wade needed a big finish to keep himself in contention for the playoffs and possible $1 million prize and boy did he go for broke right out of the gate against Yuki Kawana last Thursday.
Home sweet home! @CWadeMMA secures the first round submission win, earning 6 points and a spot in the PFL Lightweight Playoffs. #PFL5 #PFLmma pic.twitter.com/6lyu3YCc7B— #PFLmma (@ProFightLeague) August 3, 2018
JM: The first thing you notice in this clip is that Wade has excellent hair. Sure, it’s not the long lustrous locks of an Elias Theodorou, but the man keeps himself excellently coiffed.
AL: Underrated hair game, no question.
JM: Then of course, he grabs everyone’s attention by coming out with a flying side kick. I gotta say, considering how iconic the image of a flying side kick is, it’s a shame we don’t see fighters lead with it more often. I blame millennials.
AL: I blame the opening glove touch ritual. I understand the need to show respect, but there’s plenty of time to do that before and after the fight. Once that bell rings, let the feet fly. In fact, instead of touching gloves, the new sign of respect should be fighters charging across the ring and hurling themselves at each other.
Watching this live, it sounded like Wade landed the flying kick from hell, but upon replay it definitely looks like he smashed into Kawana’s head with his cup. The question is: does that diminish Wade’s strike make it even better?
JM: As much as I would personally love a crotch-KO, it looked to me like the foot or knee did land on Kawana. If I’m wrong though, it’s the greatest groin offense since GSP.
AL: Would listen to GSP break that move down for an hour the next time he’s on the Joe Rogan Podcast.
Whatever it was that Wade did, it was definitely effective. This move set the tone for the match, which Wade went on to win by first-round guillotine submission, earning him six PFL points and a spot in the postseason.
PFL 5, along with every other event from this season, is available for free replay on the league’s Facebook page.
Bruce Boyington vs. Sean Soriano
AL: Heading on over to Lincoln, R.I., (not to be confused with Lincoln, Neb., which is where the next UFC event is taking place), we check in on another former UFC fighter, Sean Soriano. The featherweight veteran was matched up with the unpredictable Bruce Boyington last Friday at Classic Entertainment & Sports 51 in a bout for a vacant title.
Just 28, Soriano is still very much in his prime and 11 years younger than Boyington, but this one was definitely not a walkover for him.
JM: At 39 I hope I look half as good as Boyington.
AL: Well, his nickname is “Pretty Boy”.
JM: Also, if I could be one quarter as tough that would be neat. I’m still unclear on how he survived that rear-naked choke attempt from Soriano. That thing was under the chin and locked in. That’s grit, right there.
AL: Only way to explain it. Soriano is a great grappler and he took Boyington down with ease, but controlling him was another matter entirely. This is one of those bouts that if you looked away for ten seconds, you’d miss a sweep or reversal and wonder how Boyington went from being on the verge of submission to suddenly taking Soriano’s back.
In the end, Boyington just outlasted him for the championship win.
.@BruceBoyington with the HUGE upset! #CES51@CESMMA pic.twitter.com/nQh6waUkPj— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) August 4, 2018
JM: One guy has a fully locked in RNC and can’t finish, the other sneaks in a choke while backpacking a standing opponent. I’d definitely say the right guy won.
AL: CES 51 is not currently available for replay, but keep your eye on AXS TV for future cards.
Joao Paulo vs. Vanderson Barbosa
Yojiro Uchimura vs. Vitor Toffanelli
AL: How about another edition of Who Kicked It Better?
Up first, from Shoot Brasil 86 in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, Joao Paulo a.k.a. “Joao King” just makes it into our competition by the tips of his toes.
Joao King KTFO's Vanderson Barbosa with a high kick in R1 #ShootoBrasil86 pic.twitter.com/Xj5I2RuE98— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) August 6, 2018
JM: Ah, my favorite game and a staple of Missed Fists. Knockouts like that one are always surprising to me because it barely looks like it lands but then Vanderson Barbosa keels over dead. I guess there’s just a lot of force in those toes.
AL: Got him right in the beard.
Our next KO happened in Tokyo at Pancrase 298, courtesy of Yojiro Uchimura. Suffice to say, it is not a glancing blow.
Holy cow! Yojiro Uchimura devastates Vitor Toffanelli with a first-round head kick! The 33-year-old (16-12-3) has 15 finishes, 12 by knockout, and 11 in the first round. Oh, and he just called out Hiroyuki Takaya. #Pancrase298 pic.twitter.com/MPpfHrOG1V— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) August 5, 2018
JM: VitorToffanelli is dead. That one is the clear winner. That was full on shin-to-chin contact there. Seriously, is Toffanelli okay after that? Because that’s the type of KO that should make you rethink your career choices.
AL: I like to think that he’s just taking a brief, relaxing trip to The Shadow Realm.
Ryo Hatta vs. Marcus Amaral
Loma Lookboonmee vs. Hana Date
AL: Also from Pancrase, we wanted to give a shout-out to standout performances from Ryo Hatta and Loma Lookboonmee.
Hatta is being given this week’s “Look Ma, No Hands” award for his submission win over Marcus Amaral. That might not sound too notable, except for the fact that Hatta hardly threw any strikes in the match.
Third-ranked strawweight Ryo Hatta (12-4) works his submission magic once again, expertly guillotining Marcus Amaral in the second round! The former ZST champ owns 11 finishes, all by submission. #Pancrase298 pic.twitter.com/JgJVQmDNCE— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) August 5, 2018
JM: The commentator even claims that Hatta didn’t throw one punch the whole fight which is slightly misleading, but close to accurate. Hatta’s game plan from the jump was takedowns and he threw only one feint on the feet before getting the fight into his realm, which was a good idea as it turns out. Hatta definitely got the better of all the grappling exchanges and eventually bailed out on a fun leglock battle to cinch up that guillotine choke.
AL: As much as I enjoy the “mixed” aspect of MMA, I have a soft spot for single-minded grapplers like Hatta, Demian Maia, and the dearly underappreciated Paul “Sassangle” Sass.
Lastly, we want to check on atomweight prospect Loma Lookboonmee, a multiple-time Muay Thai champion who made a great (and violent) first impression in her MMA debut in January.
JM: All I have to say about this fight is that Hana Date is now entered into the Hall of Fame for horrible cuts. Sure, it’s no Marvin Eastman but that is a serious gash on Date’s forehead.
AL: If you want to see it, click here at your own risk.
It wasn’t the most spectacular performance, but the 22-year-old Lookboonmee showed that she’s more than comfortable taking the fight to the ground and methodically chipping away at an opponent with strikes. Expect to see her in Invicta again soon and if any other major promotions decide to invest in the 105-pound division, she has all the makings of a future champion.
But don’t take our word for it, check out Pancrase 298 for yourself 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.