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Missed Fists: Pancrase features electrifying pro debut, prayer choke, more

Adam Antolin (bottom) applies a choke hold to Hiroaki Ijima at Pancrase 310 on Nov. 10 in Tokyo
@VonPreux, Twitter

Welcome to the latest edition of Missed Fists where we 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.

Some weekends, it’s just nice to sit back and enjoy some good ol’ fashioned finishes from one of Japan’s longest running fight promotions.

Rikiya Matsuzawa vs. Yuki Tashiro
Adam Antolin vs. Hiroaki Ijima
Soo Young Yoo vs. Yuichi Ohashi
Kenta Takizawa vs. Hayato Ishii

AL: Yes, it’s time for us to check in the 310th edition of Pancrase (as chronicled by @VonPreux, hit that follow button!), which took place in Tokyo on Sunday and is available for replay on UFC Fight Pass.

Rikiya Matsuzawa’s pro debut didn’t last long, but he showed a ton of potential, tossing Yuki Tashiro on his head and finishing with a guillotine choke.

Now I don’t know how much the suplex directly contributed to the finish, but it can’t have helped.

JM: As with any Krazy Bee product, first and foremost let me just say, RIP Kid. And Kid would’ve been damn proud of that suplex from Matsuzawa, it was electric.

Also, I feel like those style of guillotines are actually not as effective as a tight squeeze with lat engagement, but they are certainly more visually impressive. Lifting a dude off the ground by his throat looks badass after all and that’s one hell of a pro debut.

AL: Since you’re breaking down chokes, perhaps you can help the rest of us understand what exactly happened here with Adam Antolin and Hiroaki Ijima:

JM: Wow. I’m honestly astonished he finished that. A prayer choke is basically a one-handed guillotine, or a guillotine with a modified grip. Even though he had the arm in place, it looked to me like Ijima was going to be able to climb his way out of it. However, it seems the prayer choke is something of a speciality for Antolin as he won a fight with one in Tachi in 2015. Impressive submission from the Ultimate Fighter 24 alum.

Look, I want to temper my excitement about Soo Young Yoo since his strength of schedule so far has been mediocre, but the dude is on quite the tear and this was an absolute steamrolling. At 6-1, he’s potentially on his way to big things.

AL: Heading into this fight, the same could have been said about his opponent. Ohashi had actually rattled off four straight wins including three first-round finishes. And just like that, Soo Young came in and took all of that away in 13 seconds.

On the flipside, here’s a burst of aggression that did not pay off as Hayato Ishii just gets clobbered by a counter knee from Kenta Takizawa.

JM: Now that, my friends is how you perform a jumping knee. Just a beautiful KO. Now speaking of jumping knees, check this out.

Kaik Brito vs. Gabor Boraros
Attila Vegh vs. Karlos Vemola

JM: This is what happens when you miss the flying knee but are still eight levels of awesome better than your opponent.

AL: What’s this? An exciting Brazilian prospect who throws flying strikes without a care? Sounds familiar.

JM: Just think about the athleticism and smarts it takes to whiff on a shot like this and turn it into a beautifully aesthetic thing. What’s even more great is this kid is only 22 years old and already has a 13-2 record. AND do you know how he lost his fight before this one? Elbows from the crucifix. Even when he’s losing he’s doing it in wild and wooly fashion.

Brito is going to be a staple of Missed Fists for years to come.

AL: Assuming he doesn’t get scooped up by one of the larger companies soon. For now, fans can check out this full fight and others from Oktagon 15 on the promotion’s YouTube channel.

That includes the main event between Bellator vet Attila Vegh and UFC vet Karlos Vemola. Though it’s been a while since Vegh’s brief run as Bellator light heavyweight champion, he’s always been a crowd-pleaser and he didn’t disappoint against Vemola.

JM: Good for Attila Vegh. I haven’t thought about him in some time and wouldn’t have been shocked to learn he’d retired. After his bad run through KSW and M-1, Veigh has quietly won four of five in Oktagon. And when you think of who he lost to in his bad streak—Alexander Volkov, Viktor Nemkov, Emanuel Newton—that’s really not that bad. Vegh it seems still has plenty to give to MMA and starching a legitimate fighter like Vemola is good to see.

Un Pyo Ha vs. Sixian Guo

AL: From a kickboxing match at AFC 13 × MMC: STAR WARS in ASIA (lawsuit!) in Seoul, here’s Un Pyo Ha playing with his food before clearing his plate with a spin kick to the head.

JM: OUCH. I can’t imagine how demoralizing this would be. I mean, Sixian Guo is getting absolutely dusted in the first place and then UPH hauls off and hits him with a Mortal Kombat finishing move. I suppose at least he can take solace in having an incredible name. If I ever write a Sci-Fi novel, Sixian Guo is going to be the trouble-making rogue with a heart of gold underneath it all.

AL: Full fights from AFC13xMMC:SWiA (rolls right off the tongue) are available on YouTube.

Now let’s check in on two promotions less in need of exposure but no less deserving of it, Cage Warriors and ONE Championship.

Rhys McKee vs. Hakon Foss
Joe McColgan vs. Robbie Scott
Cathal Manning vs. Ismar Blagoje

JM: We go from the weekend’s most demoralizing KO to one of its funniest. Rhys McKee is a good fighter and the way he dispatches of Hakon Foss is amusing as hell.

AL: He just tagged dude with The Paw of Doom.

JM: Poor old Hakon, bouncing around and doing his best. Then he gets hit once and is immediately done for. Another tremendous name though. Hakon Foss can be the bounty hunter sent out to track down Sixian Guo when he Six runs afoul of the Diaz brothers crime syndicate.

I love this submission. This is honestly way more impressive to me than the prayer choke. Joe McColgan and Robbie Scott are tied up in such an odd way, and it’s impressive to me that McColgan had the awareness to cinch in a D’Arce and then follow it through. Truly excellent stuff.

AL: Afterwards, McColgan called for a fight with Cage Warriors favorite Paddy Pimblett. It was announced Wednesday that Pimblett is scheduled to fight TUF contestant Joe Giannetti on Nov. 22 and if Pimblett is victorious, it only makes sense for he and McColgan to match up.

We go from that slick submission to what looked like a near-submission by Cathal Manning. Instead, Manning takes out Ismar Blagoje with ground-and-pound, but I’m guessing Blagoje would have preferred Manning finishing the triangle to save him from a world of hurt.

JM: I feel like there was some space to get out of that triangle, but to do so would mean Blagoje would have to completely expose his head to the beatdown and he clearly had no interest in doing that. Makes sense, I wouldn’t want to either. That’s called being stuck between a rock and some dude’s legs.

Geje Eustaquio vs. Toni Tauru
Robin Catalan vs. Gustavo Balart
Li Kai Wen vs. Paul Lumihi
Kim Jae Woong vs. Rafael Nunes
Kim Kyu Sung vs. Akihiro Fujisawa

AL: Bouncing over to ONE Championship: Masters of Fate in Manila, we had one of the best KOs of the weekend authored by Geje Estaquio.

JM: There are few things that seem as excruciatingly painful as a clean body kick KO. Just look at the way Toni Tauru collapses on himself. It seems like pure agony. Honestly, I feel like I would rather suffer an Anderson Silva leg break than a clean, spinning back kick to the guts.

JM: Conversely, this KO seems like it would be great to suffer. No pain whatsoever, just the sweet and immediate release of unconsciousness.

AL: Yes, “great.”

JM: Also, Robin Catalan is another top-shelf SciFi name, as is Gustavo Balart. I think Gustavo is some kind of debonair spaceship captain and Catalan is definitely a viceroy who taxes his people too much.

AL: I really like Balart, he’s such a fascinating fighter, he’s just always going to be undersized no matter what weight class he fights in. Look how hard he has to work to get in there!

I did not enjoy seeing him get knocked out, but in the name of SERIOUS JOURNALISM, Catalan’s head kick cannot be ignored.

Nor can we look past Li Kai Wen’s rocket uppercut KO of Paul Lumihi:

That’s three straight knockout wins for Li, who is just 24 years old.

JM: I absolutely love the second angle. Can you imagine being the camera guy for that one? You’re as close as possible to such a violent KO, it would be awesome.

I’m of the opinion that MMA is actually much better to watch on television than cageside or ringside, but one of the few times this is decidedly not true is for Fight of the Year contenders or highlight-reel KOs. For those moments, there’s something about being there that makes it special.

AL: One fighter who definitely should have done everything possible to get out of the moment was Rafael Nunes.

Tough as leather, Nunes stands in there with Kim Jae Woong and absorbs some serious punishment rather than use a sharp punch to his body as an excuse to quit.

JM: Gotta respect Nunes’ heart, taking a few more shots even after it was obvious he was done, but gotta disrespect his fight-or-flight reflex. That was clearly a time to call it a day and he’s lucky Kim Jae missed the jumping knee or he might have really hated things the next morning.

That was one hell of a right hand, perfectly timed and lightning fast. And Kim Kyu Sung is someone we should keep an eye on. He’s 9-3 and in his last fight lost a decision to Eustaquio, he of the spinning back kick obliteration just a few paragraphs up. At 27, Kyu Sung could be a bantamweight contender in a year or two.

AL: And now, to end on the highest of notes, once again, here’s Stamp Fairtex bringing the Stamp Dance to the Philippines.

JM: First off, Stamp Fairtex, another INCREDIBLE name for my upcoming SciFi thriller. I’m envisioning her as a hot shot fighter pilot who takes guff from no one, which occasionally puts her on the wrong side of the powers that be.

Secondly, what’s not to love about Stamp Fairtex?

AL: Just to show that we’re an equal opportunity feature when it comes to showcasing dancing fighters, here’s Sangmanee absolutely shining.

We need to get Stamp, Sangmanee, and Izzy in the studio now to brainstorm some entrance ideas not just for themselves, but for all of MMA. Book it, Chatri!


What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Adam Antolin says a little prayer for you
    (38 votes)
  • 16%
    Attila Vegh smashes Karlos Vemola
    (17 votes)
  • 20%
    Un Pyo Ha styles on Sixian Guo
    (22 votes)
  • 5%
    Rhys McKee’s Paw of Doom
    (6 votes)
  • 14%
    Geje Eustaquio puts Toni Tauru’s insides in a blender
    (15 votes)
  • 6%
    Other (leave comment below)
    (7 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now

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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