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.
There was a lot of MMA this weekend! Two Bellators, an Invicta, and the UFC making its debut on ESPN. While there was plenty to talk about from those cards (and plenty of weirdness), we’re singling out three shows here for their excellence and distilling them down to the good stuff for you, our loyal readers.
Darrius Flowers vs. Jonathon Thomson
Patrick Martin vs. Byron Stevens
Dakota Bush vs. Jordin Hinman
JM: We start things with our good friends at Legacy Fighting Alliance where a kind gentleman nicknamed “Beast Mode” lived up to his moniker at LFA 60 in Clive, Iowa, last Friday.
Darrius Flowers went full Donkey Kong on Jonathon Thomas and it was awesome.
Official Results: Flowers def. Thomson via KO at :48 into Round 1. pic.twitter.com/xieN6HoYrF— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) February 16, 2019
AL: That is some excellent timing by Flowers to patiently maneuver Thomas’s head right into the path of those finishing knees. And make no mistake, those land right on the button dropping Thomas instantly.
Good on Flowers to recognize that Thomas was done for and not go in for further punishment. He probably took one look at Thomas’s face all scrunched up like he smelled something bad and that was enough of a tip-off that this one was over.
JM: That wasn’t the only KO from LFA though. Byron Stevens was a 2-0 professional with a pretty robust and successful amateur heavyweight career coming into LFA. He also had one of the great misnomer nicknames with “The Slim Reaper”. But 31 seconds with Patrick Martin was all it took for his 0 to go.
Official Results: Martin def. Stevens via TKO at :31 into Round 1. pic.twitter.com/S0kHANOmWC— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) February 16, 2019
AL: This is some swangin’ and bangin’ that would either make Derrick Lewis proud or have him calling his attorney to file for copyright infringement.
Not to take away from Martin’s win, but I’m not sure how much technique is involved in him throwing that kettle bell fist right into the bridge of Stevens’s nose. However he landed it, it was undeniably effective and a heck of a way to knock off an undefeated fighter.
That’s five wins in six fights now for Martin, a 6-foot-6 heavyweight who at 35 years old, could be hoping to finally get that crack at the major leagues.
JM: Now, granted, heavyweight is a more forgiving division but at 35 years old, he’s running out of time so let’s hope Martin can put another one or two together so he can get that shot.
AL: Up next, a scary submission finish courtesy of Dakota Bush. He appears to have Jordin Hinman dead to rights with a rear-naked choke in their lightweight contest, but Hinman refuses to tap out and fights until the bitter end. Unfortunately for him, it takes a while for the referee to recognize when the bitter end is.
Official Results: Bush def. Hinman via Technical Submission at 2:05 into Round 1. pic.twitter.com/lqyZ3MhPUe— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) February 16, 2019
JM: Honestly, props to Hinman for fighting off the sub that long. Bush had that RNC fully locked on for damn near 30 seconds before Hinman finally got put out. I have no idea how he did that but it was certainly impressive.
AL: More impressive than the referee’s situational awareness, that’s for sure.
JM: Bush is now 6-1 as a pro and looks to be a solid prospect. Hinman isn’t the greatest opponent but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bush get the call up from a bigger organization soon after this showing.
Rinat Fakhretdinov vs. Vladimir Migovich
Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Romeo Njia
Konstantin Nazarov vs. Timur Gilimzyanov
AL: Heading over to Battle on Volga 9, which took place in Moscow on Sunday, we had ourselves a good ol’ fashioned squash match between 27-year-old middleweight prospect Rinat Fakhretdinov and, um, probably-not-a-prospect Vladimir Migovich.
Battle on Volga MW Title Fight - Rinat Fakhretdinov TKOd Vladimir Migovich in 1R - HL pic.twitter.com/RxLkp80VZu— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) February 17, 2019
JM: Among my favorite things that happens for high level prospects in regional leagues is watching them get softballs. Legitimately, this is one thing the UFC is very bad at. Having good fighters take on limited, inexperienced, or just plain awful fighters is a valuable grooming tool.
Just look at Fakhretdinov. He’s a good-not-great fighter, but with a 16-2 record and coming off that drubbing, his confidence has to be sky high right now and he’s ready for a jump up.
AL: Let’s hope so for the sake of whatever poor jobber Volga officials planned to put in front of him next.
JM: Also, shout out to the big-brother lockdown Fakhretdinov put on Migovich’s right arm, tying it behind his own back so he could pummel him violently. These kind of controlling moves have become en vogue recently and you can see why. In fact, the next guy up is related to one of MMA’s most prominent users of this kind of maneuver!
AL: Not to be outshined, we have the mutant offspring of Kamaru Usman and Khabib Nurmagomedov, unbeaten fighter Usman Nurmagomedov. Okay, he’s actually Khabib’s cousin, but just imagine the wrestling ability their purely hypothetical progeny would have. As it is, Usman (Nurmagomedov, not Kamaru — this is already getting super confusing) is more than good enough to put in work against Romeo Nija.
JM: Nurmagomedov moving to 4-0 is obviously important given his family pedigree but he was taking on a 0-1 fighter so what’s actually important about this is this ref absolutely hating Njia.
I can think of no other reason why he would have allowed this fight to go on that long. Look at the beating Njia takes! Thankfully, Usman is a kindly soul and sunk in that RNC or else he still might be bashing that poor man’s brains in.
Speaking of savage ground and pound, the hammers Konstantin Nazarov throws at Timur Gilimzyanov are something to behold.
Brutal slam nad GNP— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) February 17, 2019
Konstantin Nazarov KOs Timur Gilimzyanov (Battle on Volga) pic.twitter.com/ud1TzvvOgO
He’s not even throwing super hard but Gilimzyanov’s head snaps back like he’s getting hit with a baseball bat. That is some serious power.
AL: That’s not even mentioning the disdainful dumping on the mat that starts this whole thing off. If this were the WWE, I’d buy that as a move strong enough to get Nazarov the three-count, brother.
Battle of Volga 9 is available for free on YouTube.
Tom Aspinall vs. Sofiane Boukichou
Tim Barnett vs. Adam Ventre
Manuel Bilic vs. Bryan Creighton
Ian Garry vs. James Sheehan
AL: Warning: The following clip contains a gruesome injury that may-
JM: OH GOD. MY EYES. WHY?!?!
AL: Whoops, too late. So anyway, that’s how the heavyweight main event of Cage Warriors 101 between Tom Aspinall and the unlucky Sofiane Boukichou ended on Saturday in Liverpool, England.
JM: Seriously, leg breaks never are easy to watch and the actual clip doesn’t even warn you! It just says “unfortunate ending”.
Matt Mitrione vs. Sergei Kharitonov was unfortunate. That was horrific. Damn you, Cage Warriors Twitter man.
Also, am I crazy or is that almost identical to Anderson’s break? Wrapped around the shin and everything.
AL: Definitely getting flashbacks.
How about all the bizarre main events that happened this weekend?
Invicta FC 34 main event ending prematurely due to an eyepoke (fortunately that was in the fourth round, so the judges could render a technical decision), Bellator 215 ending in 15 seconds because of a low blow, Bellator 216’s thrilling wrestling contest between frigging Michael Page and Paul Daley, Cage Warriors main event lasting just 81 seconds before Boukichou’s leg snapped, and then UFC Phoenix ending with a few punches and Cain Velasquez and blowing out his knee in his first fight in 30 months.
MMA can be the worst.
On the flipside, it can also be pretty great, like when Tim Barnett unleashed the Muay Thai manual on Adam Ventre:
JM: He kneed that man so hard that his whole body went airborne. I knew nothing about Barnett beforehand but now I’m interested to learn more.
AL: He was coming off two losses to established Cage Warriors and BAMMA competitors Alex Lohore and Rhys McKee, but if he can keep piling up finishes like this, Barnett should become a staple himself soon enough.
We could be saying the same about Manuel Bilic, who made his Cage Warriors debut with first-round submission of Bryan Creighton:
JM: Bilic is a fighter after my own heart. Not just because he dropped Creighton and then tapped him out, but because just moments before this clip happened, Bilic had a point deducted for headbutting Creighton to the body. As a longtime advocate of both cheating and headbutting, there are few things I relish more than that.
AL: Headbutt setups are so unappreciated.
JM: And honestly, how absurd is it that headbutts to the body are illegal? All standing headbutts should be legal and any headbutt to the body should quite obviously be allowed, so as far as I’m concerned, this was the MMA Gods righting a horrible injustice.
AL: I’m sure Creighton appreciates the powers above deciding his fate here.
As awesome as all those finishes were, I hope that fans can find 15 minutes to spare for this preliminary scrap between welterweights Ian Garry and James Sheehan. These two left it all out there and according to Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan, they’ll both be getting contracts to stick around.
It looked like Garry put this one away less than a minute into round one, but Sheehan battled back and turned this into a spirited affair where there were almost no breaks in the action.
JM: This was a hell of a scrap so I’m glad both guys are getting to stick around. Cage Warriors really is one of the most underrated organizations in the world. They’ve been around since the early 2000s and had a ton of talent pass through their doors and are still getting better every year.
They do such a good job of finding and developing young talent and then letting it pass through to the bigger orgs. Other promotions could definitely take a lesson from them.
What was the most memorable Missed Fists moment this week?
This poll is closed
Darrius Flowers’s killer knees
Patrick Martin swangin’ and bangin’
Konstantin Nazarov’s slam into ground-and-pound
Sofiane Boukichou’s bad break
Manuel Bilic rocks Bryan Creighton to set up the submission
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.
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