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.
This past weekend, the biggest names weren’t competing inside the cage, but rather on the mats as Japanese MMA legends Kazushi Sakuraba, Takanori Gomi, Hideo Tokoro, and Minowaman all participated in Quintet Fight Night 4 in Akita City, Japan.
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Takanori Gomi
Sotaro Yamada vs. Gyeongseop Lee
Tomoshige Sera vs. Team Sakuraba
AL: It wasn’t the headliner on Saturday, but this Special Rules Iron Man match (available on UFC Fight Pass) between Kazushi Sakuraba and Takanori Gomi was a crowd pleaser nonetheless.
They were given five minutes to compete for the most submissions in that span and Sakuraba would go on to defeat Gomi by a score of 2-1 after snagging a buzzer-beating toe hold. This was all really just a preview for Quintet Ultra on Dec. 12, where Sakuraba and Gomi will team up with Gregor Gracie to represent Team Pride FC against Team UFC (Anthony Smith, Sean O’Malley, Gilbert Burns), Team Strikeforce (Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields, Muhammed Lawal), and Team WEC (Chad Mendes, Glover Teixeira, Cub Swanson).
JM: Can we talk about what a tremendous event that is going to be? Sakuraba is a legend for many reasons, at least one of which is his ability to know what fans will enjoy and buddy, I damn sure am gonna enjoy Pride vs. the UFC vs. Strikeforce vs. WEC.
AL: While Sakuraba and Gomi were horsing around, there was actually a serious competition going on with four teams of four going at it. Representing Team Carpe Diem, Sotaro Yamada tapped out Gyeongseop Lee with an STF that puts John Cena’s to shame.
Is there any reason this wouldn’t work in an MMA fight?
JM: The only real way you can lock that one on is in some kind of a scramble like this one, and it seems unlikely to happen in MMA because if someone is trying an ankle tie-up like that in MMA, they’re gonna get brained in the friggin’ head.
Unless of course we finally start allowing steel chairs in the octagon. Then it’s pretty easy to make that happen.
AL: Team Sakuraba needed a steel chair if they wanted to have a chance in hell of slowing down Tomoshige Sera. The 30-year-old was straight styling on them, first breaking out a delightful flying armbar.
JM: No lie, the first time I watched it, I didn’t realize it was a flying armbar. Thought Sera was just rotating his hips through on the ground. Once I realized what it was, it obviously became much cooler.
AL: Sera then goaded Shutaro Debana into some kind of trip before securing another submission with this nasty leg lock.
And 30 seconds later, the deficit grows! Tomoshige Sera snares Shutaro Debana in a trap-door kneebar, taking a 2-0 lead for Team CARPE DIEM over Team SAKURABA! Undefeated in #QUINTET, Sera is 4-0-3 across two tourneys. #QUINTETFN4 pic.twitter.com/t05cIFgWJK— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) November 30, 2019
Tomoshige Sera > Matt Serra?
JM: I dunno, have you seen Matt Serra lately? Jiu-Jitsu never leaves you and he’d have a serious weight advantage. Plus I doubt Serra would be as foolish as Debana was to allow Sera to butt scoot all the way under him without stopping it. That’s was a recipe for disaster and the entree was that lovely little kneebar. Sera is a monster.
Ahmad Labban vs. Magomedsultan Magomedsultanov
AL: I can sense our readers getting antsy with all this flowery jiu-jitsu talk, so let’s get back to the head-cracking action that they came to see.
JM: That’s me, a regular old votive of honeydew’d language.
AL: From UAE Warriors 9 in Abu Dhabi (free replay available on FITE TV) on Friday, here’s Ahmad Labban just hunting down Magomedsultan Magomedsultanov to record a 74-second KO.
Labban’s nickname is “The Shadow,” which is appropriate because he exiled Magomedsultanov to his realm here.
JM: I like this KO because it builds so well. First, Labban throws a pretty standard overhand right. Then he resets and throws the front kick. Then he throws the spinning back fist and after a half second, finishes it off with a leaping right hook.
With each step he escalated, like he was in the UFC game and needed to throw the simpler strikes to get more experience so he could learn the next one. Or perhaps I’ve been playing too much EA UFC 3 lately.
Marcos Tailandes vs. Luan Soares
AL: Here’s another one straight out of a video game, Marcos Tailandes landing a fadeaway head kick KO on Luan Soares at Standout Fighting Tournament 18 (free replay available on YouTube) in Sao Paulo and then walking it off:
dead— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda1) December 1, 2019
head kick KO by Marcos Thailandes (SFT) pic.twitter.com/Mxy4SuhZk4
JM: The fact that he KOs Soares like this without really having his feet under him is very impressive.
By the way, is there a more oxymoronic name in MMA than “Standout Fighting Tournament?” Maybe Brad “One Punch” Pickett. There’s nothing “standout” or interesting about “Standout Fighting Tournament.”
The way I see it is you have two options if you’re naming an MMA organization: boring and straightforward—a la Professional Fighters League—or you can go completely off the wall like Gorilla Fighting Championship. Anything else is going to seem like some bouvalay derivative of the Affliction era of XTREME CAGEFIGHT BATTLE ZONE.
Now that I think of it though, Battle Zone is definitely the start of something.
AL: Shout out to One Pride MMA and Warrior Xtreme Cagefighting.
Speaking of which...
Lawrence Bonds vs. Ryan Hall
From last week’s latest edition of the WXC Warrior Wednesday series in Southgate, Mich. (how early 2000s MMA can you get?), we have two big ol’ boys, Lawrence Bonds and Ryan Hall (not that Ryan Hall!) goin’ at it in the kind of regional heavyweight action we love in these parts.
Afterwards, Bonds even got the crowd to wish his son a Happy Birthday!
JM: On the one hand, the birthday wish was wonderful; on the other hand, there’s nothing more enjoyable than watching two hefty fellas swang them thangs until one keels over. Why do you think I’m so excited for Andy Ruiz’s rematch with Anthony Joshua? He’s the Michael Jordan of husky violence.
Lucas Almeida vs. Nico Cocuccio
AL: Back to Brazil for a look-in at a legitimate prospect, lightweight Lucas Almeida.
That is just an awesome flying knee KO to put away Nico Cocuccio, who doesn’t look like he wanted to stay down. With the win, Almeida captured a vacant Jungle Fight lightweight title and improved to 9-0 as a pro. Jungle Fight has long been a reliable producer of UFC talent, so you can expect Almeida to be getting that call in 2020.
JM: Ehhhh. Maybe 2023. Jungle Fighters tend to really pad their stats before making the jump to the big leagues.
AL: He’ll be headlining UFC Porto Alegre next summer.
JM: Also, this KO is on the ref. Cocuccio was clearly completely spent and there was no need for this fight to continue. Hell, it took him a full 15 seconds just to get up to his feet he was so exhausted. What did the ref think was going to happen? I mean, good for Almeida to finish spectacularly but that one felt unnecessary.
Hugo Flores vs. Jose Guadalupe Ruelas Soto
Diego Lopes vs. Marco Beltran
AL: From Lux Fight League 7 in Monterrey, Mexico, Hugo Flores was much more merciful (sort of) in his bout with Jose Ruelas.
KO de la noche y uno de los mejores del año para Hugo Flores sobre José Ruelas con una poderosa derecha en el primer round.— Lux Fight League (@luxfightleague) November 30, 2019
Sigue la EXPERIENCIA LUX EN VIVO: https://t.co/nps1BWRLT8 pic.twitter.com/rYo5uAKDaP
Flores lands a clean right hand and it looks like this one could get ugly, but fortunately Flores flicked his own off-switch before doing any further damage.
JM: I always have a great deal of respect for fighters who can register in that split second that they don’t need to put in a coffin nail. Sure, the Hendo Bomb on Michael Bisping may be the single best thing in MMA history not named the Showtime Kick or the Mighty Whizbar, but damn if I don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling every time some merciful pugilist decides to deny me that kind of ultra-violent viewing.
AL: Flores may have stolen the show with that KO, but major props to Diego Lopes for his first-round kneebar of UFC vet Marco Beltran in the main event.
UN SOLO CAMPEÓN PLUMA: @Diegolopesmma con una impresionante transición de heelhook a kneebar para someter al ex UFC Marco Beltrán en el estelar de #LUX007— Lux Fight League (@luxfightleague) November 30, 2019
El título de las 145 libras no cambió de manos. pic.twitter.com/Ug4qKfXCUm
Lopes turns 25 this month and already has an 18-3 pro record and a decision win over Ultimate Fighter: Brazil champ Rony Jason. Here’s another fighter who should be fielding offers from major North American promotions soon.
JM: On a side note, this knee bar demonstrates why kicks to the head of a grounded opponent should be legal. I know that whole “soccer kicks look like something out of a prison movie” narrative, but can we at least get kicks to the head allowed when the kicking party is also grounded? At that point it’s really no different than a standing head kick and it would basically eliminate all but the most proficient leg lock attacks because Lopes isn’t grapevining that leg if Beltran is allowed to bash him in the face with the other one.
Diallo Abdoulaye vs. Angelo Bernardoni
AL: You got your grappling, you got your MMA, now we jump into some kickboxing, first with Yokkao Fight Night Bologna (available for replay on YouTube), an event that featured maybe the best and certainly the loudest body shot KO of the year, courtesy of Diallo Abdoulaye.
That was downright... Diallobolical (I hate myself).
JM: As you should, but we all love you. And I have nothing to say about that one other than it wasn’t a body shot, that was a gunshot.
Kaengsaphue vs. Samrith Keo
AL: In the very first fight from Muay Hardcore (available for replay on YouTube) in Thailand, Kaengsaphue took out Samrith Keo in spectacular fashion.
Kaengsaphue was letting Keo come forward the whole time, just waiting for his moment, and then WHAMMY!
JM: That’s definitely the best highlight of the week. That fadeaway slip of the head kick into an immediate counter of his own is both aesthetically gorgeous and incredibly high level. Even Keo will have to admit that was sublime, as soon as he gets his jaw unwired and can speak again.
AL: And to cap off the kickboxing highlights, we’re digging into the dark depths of Lethwei for this insane knockout strike by Thway Thit Aung that, uh, didn’t actually end the fight.
Thway Thit Aung had it rough. It was his second KO, still ended up a draw. pic.twitter.com/x06PPVRJMd— inxxane (@inxxane) November 29, 2019
According to @inxxane, because Aung’s opponent was able to get up from this and you are apparently allowed to go down to the mat a total of four times in a match like this before it’s ruled a TKO, this fight went the distance and ended up a draw. This seems unfathomable even by Meshew rules.
JM: Excuse me? My rules are excellent and make sense. My rules would stipulate that if you did this in a fight, you won automatically, even if you lost every other second of the bout. Don’t go casting aspersions on the Meshew Adjudication Methodology (patent pending).
Christophe Van Dijk vs. Daniel Dorrer
Javier Trujillo vs. Daniel Kerr
AL: We’re about ready to wrap up, but we couldn’t leave without mentioning the history that was made at Full Metal Dojo 18: Bangkoxploitation (actual event name) in Thailand on Saturday.
JM: We can all agree that this is already the event of the year based solely on the name, right? I mean, Full Metal Dojo is how you name an organization and Bangkoxploitation?! *Chef’s kiss*
AL: It’s perfect. It sounds vaguely offensive and yet is actually harmless and hilarious.
JM: Exactly! It beautifully flirts with the line between dangerous and adorable. Full marks to the FMD team already.
And then, as fate would have it, the event featured the most Missed Fists thing humanly possible: back-to-back Von Preux chokes in the co-main and main event! (I refuse to call it a Von Flue choke anymore. Jason Von Flue hit the damn thing once. OSP has made a career out of this thing, it’s his choke now. He’s the captain.)
Here’s Christophe Van Djike submitting Daniel Dorrer with the OSP in the co-main event.
And then just a few minutes later, Javier Trujillo taps Daniel Kerr with one!
What are the odds of this happening and is OSP morally obligated to start fighting for Full Metal Dojo now?
AL: Given that the two guys on the receiving end had a combined record of 9-15, the odds were actually pretty good! And OSP should at least get free tickets to the next show given that he’s responsible for popularizing the move.
Back-to-back Von Preuxs to close out the show? That’s right up there with Brad Imes winning via gogoplata in consecutive fights.
Combat sports. Never change.
What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?
This poll is closed
Sotaro Yamada’s STF
Tomoshige Sera’s flying armbar
Ahmad Labban sends Magomedsultan Magomedsultanov to "The Shadow Realm"
Marcos Tailandes’s fadeaway head kick
Diallo Abdoulaye’s thundererous body shot
Kaengsaphue lands insane spinning counter kick
Back-to-back Von Preuxs!
Other (leave comment below)
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.